Book event inspires cultural awareness in Schenectady County

"People have so many questions about what it (Afghanistan) is really like, and they have had them really since 9/11. This book is allowing for an opportunity like this one, where people can sit and ask questions of those men and women who have put their lives on hold,"said Bradley.

Bradley said one of the speakers is a woman who was forced to leave an infant and a toddler when she was called to serve.

"The timing of this book has been very helpful to our community. People are reading this book like crazy," said Bradley.

Bradley said another important aspect of the OCOB is the community service that has taken on a life of its own. The community service project associated with the Peter M. Goodrich Memorial Foundation assists schools, an orphanage and a hospital in Wardak, Afghanistan. Bradley said proceeds from some of the OCOB events have helped to purchase a sheep and a cow for the orphanage.

"It's amazing how a response to this book has helped children across the globe to have access to milk. Each of the three reads has been very different. Last year, Jodi Picoult (author of "My Sister's Keeper" " last year's OCOB pick) was so phenomenal and exciting; this year, the community service component has been very rewarding for all those involved," said Bradley.

The Goodrich Foundation also supports a number of male and female Afghan students in the United States.

Carol Raphael, who co-chairs the OCOB event, headed up an effort in February called Project Hope, which has donated thousands of items, including clothing, personal care items and school supplies.

"Reading 'The Kite Runner' and working with the committee doing research to plan programs associated with Afghanistan has filed my head with an awareness to support people in need," said Raphael.

For more information on this month's events, including the festival, visit the county library Web site at www.scpl.org or call 388-4500.""

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