Local organizations want you to 'drop your drawers'

ThinkPeace started as a week-long summer camp and has since expanded to include weekend and day workshops. During the longer camp session, the girls look at a different country each day and focus on the issues facing girls and teenagers in those countries, contrasting how their lives differ. Sometimes they do some cooking to taste things from other countries they might not normally try.

"We teach them how to take a cause they believe in and learn about it, become articulate about it and be able to ask other people for help in trying to futher their cause. They put on a benefit, learned how to publicize, get word out and what to do. They performed a play, made over a thousand cranes, learned about Hiroshima and World War II and the lasting effects for generations," said Arthur. "At the benefit they had people bring underwear instead of buying a ticket and they collected about 400 pair that night alone."

Afghanistan has been in the spotlight lately, said Arthur, and the girls are working with a group called Mountain2Mountain to send bikes to the war-torn country where girls aren't always allowed to ride them.

"Girls aren't allowed to ride bikes, which is a big issue because they can't get to school or medical care if they need it," said Arthur. "We talk about what that means, why they can't ride bikes, the cultural and religious differences and what we can do to raise awareness. We had 12 kids riding about 24 miles each [Sunday, Oct. 3], and everyone came with a donation to go to Afghanistan."

Another big part of the workshop is watching films about the atrocities of war in countries like Darfur and Iraq, often told through the eyes of a child. Arthur said the girls' reaction to seeing such shocking hardship is intense.

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