Nov 15: Party for the Planet

Come learn why educating girls is one of the leading ways to combat climate change.

Please join us on November 15th for an exciting event.

Enjoy music by Marc Black. Earth-friendly fare and libations are being donated by local purveyors:
Captain Lawrence Brewing Co.
Cask Fine and Rare Wines
DeCicco Family Markets
Good Hope Farm
Greenway Market
Harvest Moon Farm and Orchard
La Tulipe
Nisa Lee Events
Phat Olive
Vine and Co.

Smiling with Nicholas Kristof, literally

This week has KEEP’s board members smiling! That’s us in the photo: Cynthia Braun, Elena Rover, Celeste Crosby, Ruthie Rosenberg and Elizabeth McGoldrick.

Who’s that man in the middle? It’s Nicholas Kristof, the Pulitzer Prize winning journalist from The New York Times who co-authored Half the Sky, the book that inspired us to found KEEP. Kristof has written about some of the biggest atrocities in the world, and yet somehow he keeps smiling. His optimism and warmth were center stage at Grace Farms on Saturday when he interviewed Nobel Prize winner Denis Mukwege, a pastor and physician who treats women who are victims of horrific sexual violence in the Congo.

KEEP arranged an outing for supporters and board members, with 20 people attending the session. Thanks to the generosity of our donors, Saturday’s event raised more than $1,100!  This amount will cover the annual tuition for three of our KEEP-supported girls at the Kakenya Center for Excellence, ensuring that they continue their education, avoiding female genital mutilation and child marriage.

Everyone who attended the event in New Canaan, CT, agreed that the talk was intense. Titled “Ending Violence Against Women”, it covered the assassination attempt on Dr. Mukwege, the murder of his protege, the precariousness of women’s lives, the impact of repeated violence on women and their community and more. Kristof brought home the remarkable effect this one man has had on the lives of so many women. And we learned about his choice to return to the country where his life is at risk so he can continue his work.

Feeling subdued after the talk, KEEP’s board had an encounter that returned the smiles to our faces: A chance to connect with Kristof. He generously signed copies of Half the Sky and posed for photos. We told him that the book was the seed that grew into KEEP, which to date has generated more than $100,000 in donations from our generous supporters, with 100% going directly to help girls.

Today, we had another reason to smile: Kristof wrote about the event in his weekly newsletter for The New York Times and included a glowing mention of KEEP! Take a look:

KCE girls visit the US

For the second straight year, four eighth-grade KCE girls participated in the Montessori Model United Nations conference in New York City from February 13-16. Moreene, Abigael, Caroline and Sylvia made not only their first visit to the United States, but their first trip outside of Kenya! Once again we thank KEEP supporter Andy Greene, who leads the MMUN team at the Whitby School, for making this incredible dream a reality. The girls served on the Social, Humanitarian and Culture Committee and helped draft two exciting human rights resolutions. Moreene and Abigael even represented Kenya at the conference!

The KCE girls enjoyed some sightseeing in New York and Washington, including visits to the Empire State Building and the Lincoln and Martin Luther King Jr. memorials. They have now returned safely to Kenya, dedicated to becoming champions of justice and equality. Please click here to view an inspiring three minute video about their visit.

Building their first snowman ever

Second Annual Paddle Tournament

On February 7th, two dozen women filled the paddle tennis courts at the beautiful Waccabuc Country Club for a morning of spirited play.  Between games, players gathered for conversation and refreshments around a roaring fire in the cozy Carriage House.

Thanks to the generosity of participants, and even some women who were unable to attend, we raised a whopping $2,160 for the Kakenya Center for Excellence!

Fundraising included a raffle, including generous donations of a massage from Irene Marks, L.M.T., at Healing Hands of Thyme at the Katonah Healing Arts Alliance and a tennis lesson from Richard Finn of the Saw Mill Club.

These funds will cover the annual tuition for six of our KEEP-supported eighth grade girls. Special thanks to tournament “master” and paddle pro Richard Finn, Waccabuc General Manager John Assuma, and our Waccabuc member sponsors. We couldn’t have done it without you!

As always, we wish a heartfelt thank you to all of our donors for your unflagging support and enthusiasm for educating girls!  The world is a better place because of your kindness.

Great News About Our 8th Grade Girls!

This December marks a tremendous milestone for KEEP:  The students we have been supporting for the past four years are graduating from 8th grade! We are delighted to report that each and every one of our girls has passed the Kenyan national primary school exams and has qualified for secondary school.  KCE ranked sixth out of 500 primary schools in the county – and ten of our girls scored high enough to attend an elite national school! We are incredibly proud of our girls!

As these students continue on to secondary schools all across the country, they will receive support from Kakenya’s Network for Excellence, a program that provides mentoring, tutoring and scholarships to every alumna of the Kakenya Center for Excellence.

When the new Kenyan academic year starts in January, KEEP will begin supporting the rising eighth grade class at KCE. Plans are in the works for several of these girls to come to New York City in February to participate in the Montessori Model United Nations Conference. We hope all logistical arrangements proceed smoothly – KEEP your fingers crossed!


Every Donation Counts

Did you know that KEEP is powered by small donations? More than 97% of our donors give between $1 and $360! We are truly a grassroots effort. And your gifts go a very long way.

  • $360: tuition for one year
  • $180: tuition for six months
  • $60: tuition for two months

As 2018 comes to a close, please help us fund the tuition for our new class of KEEP-supported students. Whatever amount you decide, your donation is fully tax-deductible – and it will make a real, lasting difference!

Donate now.

Back-to-School Update

Here is a quick update now that the school year is underway.

First, a huge and heartfelt THANK YOU to the members of Students Supporting KEEP (SSK) at John Jay Middle School! These students campaigned to designate KEEP as the beneficiary of the Rock the Halls charity concert at JJMS in June. This phenomenal fundraiser generated nearly $4,000 for the girls we support at the Kakenya Center for Excellence. Way to go, SSK!

Rock the Halls

The KEEP clubs at both John Jay High School and Middle School are going strong. The first fall meeting of the JJHS club, Students for KEEP, drew a record number of 35 students! These clubs focus on the need to educate girls worldwide, exploring issues of gender discrimination and social justice, while helping to support the KEEP/KCE partnership.

As you plan your final charitable contributions for 2018, remember that educating girls is one of the most powerful ways to raise communities out of poverty.  Please help us fulfill our pledge to cover tuition expenses for every girl in the KCE eighth grade class. Before coming to KCE, many of these girls were at high risk for child marriage and FGM.  Now, they are learning, growing and thriving.  You are a crucial part of their success!

Donate now.

Kenya Katonah Education Exchange KEEP Girls in School

Education Exchange Is a Reality!

Four of our KEEP-supported eighth grade students from the Kakenya Center for Excellence had an extraordinary visit to the U.S. last month!

Students from Kenya arrive at Katonah train station for Education Exchange

When these girls traveled from Kenya to attend the Montessori Model United Nations Conference in New York City, they made history: This was the first time that participants in this international conference came from an African nation! A grateful shout-out to Andy Greene, a KEEP supporter and teacher at the Whitby School, who worked tirelessly to make this dream a reality.

Rahab answers questions at Katonah Education Exchange

On March 19th, KEEP hosted a reception and ice cream social at the Katonah Village Library, where an energized, standing-room-only crowd welcomed the girls, two of their program leaders, and Dr. Kakenya Ntaiya, the founder of the Kakenya Center for Excellence.

After the JJHS Notables kicked off the festivities with a delightful a cappella performance, Bedford Town Supervisor Chris Burdick presented the KCE girls with an official proclamation of honorary citizenship.

The highlight of the evening was a question and answer session led by the JJMS and JJHS KEEP clubs. With thoughtfulness and humor, the KCE girls described their daily lives in rural Kenya, shared their hopes for the future, and giggled about trying pizza for the first time.

To top off an amazing evening, donations from the event totaled $1,500!

Kenya Katonah Education Exchange JJMS

After spending the night with Katonah families, the girls visited JJMS and JJHS where they toured the schools and attended classes with KEEP club members.

Kenya Katonah Education Exchange JJHS

Learn more in The Katonah Lewisboro Times and at News12 Westchester.

Kakenya’s reflection on the visit affirms the special bond KCE shares with our community:

“The girls had a wonderful time and they learned so much. They really felt your community’s embrace… Thank you for loving these girls and working so hard to give them the education and opportunities that they deserve.”

Please help us continue to support these incredible girls and their classmates by making a gift today. Donate now.

First Annual Paddle Tournament

 The first annual women’s paddle tennis tournament on February 15 was a smashing success!  A full roster of two dozen players hit the courts at the beautiful Waccabuc Country Club to score points for girls’ education.  Through registration donations and raffle ticket purchases, these amazing women contributed more than $1,900 to support our eighth grade girls at the Kakenya Center for Excellence. Way to go!!

We had such a good time playing paddle, chatting around the fire and catching up with old and new friends!

A special shout-out to Richard Finn, John Assumma, Kris Fenton, Vivian Song, Becky Hjerpe, and Irene Marks for their generosity in helping to make this event possible.

Fundraising Milestone Keep Girls In School

Extraordinary Milestone for KEEP!

Thanks to your support, KEEP has reached an extraordinary milestone: We have now raised more than $50,000 for the Kakenya Center for Excellence! All of your donations – large and small – have added up to produce an enormous impact. Because of your generosity, 37 girls at KCE have received full annual tuition from KEEP since our partnership began in 2014. Not only have these girls pursued their dream of education, they have also been protected from child marriage and FGM. Together, we are making real and powerful change!

And here’s an even bigger number: Since KEEP’s inception in 2011, we have raised nearly $100,000 for girls’ education!

During our first four years working with Apne Aap in India, KEEP contributed more than $44,000 to fund educational programs for over 130 girls at risk of child marriage and sex trafficking. What we can achieve when we join forces is truly astounding.

As we move forward into the New Year, our girls at the Kakenya Center for Excellence start eighth grade, growing in knowledge, skills and maturity. They are the future leaders of their community. We are incredibly proud of them.

Please KEEP your gifts coming to ensure our girls’ continued success in 2018!

Donate today