Author and humanitarian Maggie Doyne joined Loomis Chaffee students for a Book Chat about her memoir, Between the Mountain and the Sky, on Friday, September 16.
The author joined the group via Zoom from the orphanage she runs in Kopila, Nepal.
This special session with the author was part of a campus-wide Book Chat program. Over the summer, every Loomis student chose a book from a list of two dozen selections, and on Friday, they gathered for discussion, led by faculty members, with other students who had read the same book.
The Book Chat with Ms. Doyne was facilitated by librarian Kathleen Sigrist and Dean of Students Jessica Matzkin. Kathleen, who first met Ms. Doyne 10 years ago when their daughters were attending school together, arranged for the author’s virtual visit.
The author answered questions about her memoir and her experience founding a nonprofit, offered advice, and spoke about her life in Nepal and the facilities and services that the BlinkNow Foundation, which she co-founded, provides to the children under the care of the orphanage.
“The good thing about being young when you start is that you have so much energy and passion and you care so much,” she told the Loomis students. Over time, she had to figure out how to harness that youthful energy and learn to slow down and come up with a strategy for building a support team, she added.
“We set out to create a model to change this region of Nepal to make sure that children were kept safe and educated,” she said. The foundation collaborates with other nonprofits and charities to achieve its goals.
Ms. Doyne also spoke about navigating her grief after the loss of one of her adopted children in a drowning accident a few years ago. “Life is precious,” she told the gathered students. “At the end of the day, the thing that matters is loving the people in our lives.”
“Grief does not exist because love is gone; it exists because love is everywhere,” she added.
Ms. Doyne was 19 when she found her passion for nonprofit work. After graduating from high school in suburban New Jersey, she took a gap year and traveled around the world. While visiting Nepal, she met impoverished children and was moved to help them. She took money she had earned babysitting and paid for those same children to attend school. Later, she started the BlinkNow Foundation and, with her co-founder, Tope Malla, opened the foundation’s Kopila Valley Children’s Home. The foundation’s mission is to “chang[e] the world by empowering Nepal's children. We do this by providing quality education, a safe environment, and through inspiring others.” Ms. Doyne was named a CNN Hero of the Year in 2015 and was honored as a Forbes Top 30 under 30 Social Entrepreneur and by the Dalai Lama as an Unsung Hero of Compassion.
A photo gallery of the Book Chats is available for viewing.