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Did You Know?BY KATHY BANFIELD SHAWDid you know that in downtown Marshall in the middle of Michigan Avenue there’s an international com- pany making man- dolins? You know, those stringed in-struments used in music genres from symphonic orchestras to blue grass groups and look like a large ukulele (or a small guitar). The owners of this interna- tional company, Northfield Mandolins, are Adrian and Katie Bagale. Katie is the daughter of a first generation immigrant from Malta and a second generation im- migrant from Lebanon. She believes that might be one reason she’s so passion- ate about her desire to give back to her community and be a part of a commu- nity of people whose desire is to engage with others. She grew up in Ann Arbor where her father was receiving his edu- cation at the University of Michigan in a community that included many people who came from different cultural back- grounds. “My Dad would read to us from the National Geographic Magazine at night,” Katie explained. “My parents have a passion for community service and giving back to the community so I learned that concept early in life.”She took that idea to Central Michi- gan University (Fire Up Chips!) where she studied Cultural Anthropology. “I wanted to be the next Jane Goodall,” Katie laughs. She left Mount Pleasant and traveled to Europe and Africa to ex- perience life different from the UnitedKatie BagaleStates and “...hiked all over, sleeping in a tent and meeting people,” Katie says. She returned to the U.S. to visit and hike in California, again to experience dif- ferent ways of living,” sleeping in tents and seeing the great outdoors in the Sierra mountains,” she laughs.Katie married Adrian and together they made a family including their two children, Joni and Calvin. But before they made Marshall their home they lived in China where Adrian began the mando- lin business and Katie was again able to experience a culture different from the one her family knew in Michigan. After returning to the U.S. Katie and a friend learned about the book, “Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide” written by NicholasKristoff and Sheryl WuDunn. “We want- ed to find a way for others to experience what we did from reading the book and provide a place to discuss ideas that re- late to the issues raised in the book,” Ka- tie said. “We started a Half the Sky chap- ter here and one of the rewards is seeing how people support ideas and people who are different from themselves.” Each month Katie and Adrian open the doors of Northfield Mandolins and wel- come their friends and those interested to learn about organizations and people who are assisting others in the area. “We listen and learn and then donate to assist those who may need something we have and they don’t” explains Katie.“As the group evolved we decided we wanted to include younger kids,” Katie said. Through her volunteer work with the local PCO (Parent Council Organi- zation) they started Gordon Goes Glob- al. The PCO is a 501(c)(3). The money raised by the students at Gordon Ele- mentary School is used to assist others locally and globally. “We send money internationally to purchase books and help build schools around the world,” Katie says. “We developed this organi- zation as a way to reach out to kids who could learn about people different from themselves.” The organization helps create literacy programs and build librar- ies and schools around the world, “ kids can learn to become social mobiliz- ers,” she says with a smile.And when Katie is not hosting dis- cussion groups and finding ways to raise money for schools in the Marshall Public Schools, Mar Lee, and Marshall Acade- my, she volunteers with the Burmese community in Battle Creek to assist members of that community find ways to become a part of their new home. Katie and Adrian are even attempting to find opportunities to open doors to invite stu- dents to join in the discussions about the greater communities of people around them. “My reward,” says Katie, “is see- ing how people support others outside of themselves.”To learn more about the Half the Sky chapter or how Gordon Goes Global works, you can reach Katie at R. Shaw Jr. Co-Founder / CEO / 269-209-5555 cell / Kathy Shaw Co-Founder / President / 269-209-9719 cell / KSBANFSH@gmail.com6 SCENE 4311 I CHARITABLE ISSUE

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