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Pullitzer Prize-Winning Author of 'Almost Home' to Speak in Avon

The Avon High School Human Rights Club hosts Tina Kelley's visit to the high school library Monday night.

The Avon High School Center for Human Rights will host a lecture Monday night featuring former New York Times reporter and Pullitzer Prize-winning author of Almost Home

Tina Kelley, a former New York Times reporter, co-wrote the book about homelessness and child trafficking with Kevin Ryan, the president and CEO of Covenant House. 

"We chose Tina Kelley and her book Almost Home because it correlates with the current Humanities unit about homeless and trafficked children in America," club member Kylie Whalen wrote in an email to Patch. "The book follows the lives of six homeless and trafficked teenagers and how the Covenant House changed their lives for the better. Also, the book incorporates the idea of helping others and attempting to make the world a safer and better place for everyone in it."

Covenant House is a non-profit charity established in 1972 that runs shelters to help "homeless, abandoned, abused, trafficked, and exploited youth," according to the New York organization's website.

Kelley's visit is one of many on a national book tour promoting the book. Her talk at the high school's library will focus on her book, the Covenant House and "how it affects the lives of children and teens all across the Americas," Whalen said.

"The human rights club is hoping that the audience will gain awareness and a better understanding of the human rights issues facing our country today," Whalen said. "Hopefully this event will cause people to be more conscious of these issues, and maybe even get them interested in helping out with and/or contributing to a program like the Covenant House."

Social studies teachers Louis Pellegrino and Stuart Abrams and special education teacher Ryan McCarthy co-founded the human rights club at the high school last spring. About 20 students, from sophomores to seniors, comprise the club. The group's mission is "to introduce the issues of human rights to students and the community outside of just the humanities class," Whalen said.

"The human rights club is striving to spread awareness of the human rights issues that exist in the world today to the people of our community," Whalen said. "Tina Kelley and her book are helping us on the road to achieving this goal."

The Dec. 10 event will go from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in the high school library at 510 West Avon Rd. For more information, contact Pellegrino at lpellegrino@avon.k12.ct.us.

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