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Reversing the Course, One Headband at a Time

B9-reverse2thumbIf you passed by Mary Grace Henry’s stand during the sidewalk sale in late July, and figured it was just an eighth-grade girl selling reversible headbands and hair accessories, you missed the point by a country mile.

 

By Jim Byrne

 

If you passed by Mary Grace Henry’s stand during the sidewalk sale in late July, and figured it was just an eighth-grade girl selling reversible headbands and hair accessories, you missed the point by a country mile.

 

B9-reverse2Through her 501(c)(3) non-profit foundation, Reverse The Course, the incoming Convent of the Sacred Heart freshman is putting underprivileged girls in Uganda, Haiti, Kenya, and Paraguay through school in their native countries. And she’s doing it all by selling the homemade items for $13.50 a pop at the school store and on her website, reversethecourse.org.

 

It all started in 2009, when the Harrison resident took a headband-making class with her mother and grandmother. Mary Grace then asked for a sewing machine for her birthday. Although her parents thought the gift would collect dust in the basement, Mary Grace quickly got to work. Instead of keeping the money for herself, she used Convent of the Sacred Heart’s connections in Uganda to put her first girl through school in 2010.
It costs between $530 and $630 to pay for one year of tuition and boarding for a girl, and so far Mary Grace has sold enough accessories to fund the education of nine grateful students. Mary Grace visited Uganda earlier this summer, and witnessed the fruits of her labor.

 

“It’s absolutely incredible to see how hard these girls work,” she said. “And it was moving to meet the girls I’m supporting. I didn’t expect to be able to connect with them because our lives are so different, but I ended up learning much more from them than they could possibly have learned from me.”


Mary Grace’s ultimate goal is to put 100 girls through school.

 

“I know this will stay with me forever. I want to get into journalism or teaching, but knowing the impact each stitch has for one girl makes this immeasurably rewarding.”


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