LIFE Club hosts Day of the Girl event at WAR Chest


Neya Thanikachalam, Staff Writer

LIFE club hosted a viewing of the documentary “Girl Rising” in honor of International Women’s Day at the WAR Chest Boutique in Downtown Naperville on March 10. The event was called Day of the Girl and was put on to raise awareness about the dangers that threaten women worldwide.

WAR, also known as Women at Risk, International, is a nonprofit organization that was founded in Michigan by Rebecca McDonald. McDonald’s friend was the victim of rape and an acid attack. After witnessing this, McDonald decided to found WAR, International, in order to aid those at risk. The boutique in Naperville is the third opened, with the previous two located in Michigan. All profits from the items sold go back to women in need.

Speaking at the event, store manager Regina Snyder emphasized that crimes against women were prevalent, even in Naperville, using one of her own experiences as an example.

“Recently, a Naperville couple came by and told me that the store really didn’t mean anything to them until a year ago, when their daughter was captured [and] trafficked through Instagram,” Snyder said. “They ended up finding her [in Jersey] in a public storage unit, about to be traded […] This is how serious this is.”

LIFE, which stands for Leading and Inspiring Female Empowerment, was started at Central by junior Angelina Lee in 2014. The club members decided to pair up with the WAR Chest Boutique in order to bring awareness to women at risk, and more specifically, women’s education.

Snyder then introduced Central math teacher Rachel Fruin, who told the viewers about why she decided to start volunteering at the boutique. Fruin had been volunteering at the boutique since 2011.

“I was coming here on a weekly basis, shopping, learning and one day I heard a student say to me ‘Oh, Ms. Fruin, I like your scarf,’” Fruin said. “And I said, ‘Well it’s made by a woman who was rescued from slavery.’ And her jaw dropped.”

Ever since then, Fruin has tried to educate as many people as she can about the risks that women and children still face today, which range from abuse to sex trafficking.

Afterwards, four members of LIFE club shared why they believed women’s education was important.

“It had never once crossed my mind that school could be taken away from me,” junior Natassia O’Kulich said. “We are blessed with school and have the incredible opportunity to learn from one of the best schools in the district. You never know when everything can be taken away.”

After the girls all finished talking, the documentary “Girl Rising” was played.

The website for “Girl Rising” states that the goal of the documentary is to “inspire action that gets girls into classrooms worldwide.”

The documentary was comprised of different chapters that alternated between telling the stories of different girls who had either been given or lost their opportunity to be educated and statistics that supported their stories.

Those who decided to attend the event were encouraged to shop during the time before and after the documentary.

“We don’t charge you for [using] this space [for private events],” Snyder said. “This is the biggest way we know how to raise money and sell these women’s products […] We just want to empower women.”