OCEANPORT, N.J. (MAY 19, 2017)—The stifling heat failed to dampen spirits at the Women & Girls Education (WAGE) International’s first-ever Paint and Sip event at the Shrewsbury Sailing and Yacht Club. 

It was a beautiful evening filled with friendship, laughter, a picturesque sunset and the flow of paint and wine as WAGE raised money for both the children’s art therapy program at 180 Turning Lives Around in Hazlet known as Amanda’s Easel and the Rainbow Program in Kolkata, India.

“The expression of support for our mission through art was a beautiful thing to see,” said WAGE President Heather Mistretta. “It was interesting to see how different each painter’s perspective was after being given the same instructions, which was a good analogy to the individuality needed in the education of our children.”

The proceeds were thanks in large part to the efforts of Marie Polk-Howard, an IT manager, who along with her assistant Dr. Yolanda Nelson, a nursing professor, guiding the painters toward creating waterfront masterpieces.

WAGE, a nonprofit group dedicated to fostering education for both boys and girls with the intention of preventing violence against women, said it plans to hold another similar yet larger event this this summer.


April 2, 2017--WAGE welcomed friends, colleagues and community members in Monmouth County, NJ, at the Women's Center of Red Bank on April 2 to share stories, poetry, gift baskets and friendship. The spring fundraiser raised funds for its mission to educate as a means to prevent violence against women.

Also at the event, WAGE presented a check of $1,000 to the Sister's Academy of Asbury Park, a private school with a similar mission of educating girls to improve their lives and the lives of others. 



October 2016--Jessica tragically lost her twin sister about two years ago to a complication during a surgery. Jennifer had been a missionary, dedicated to helping others, particularly women in Africa. So now Jessica is carrying on the work of her sister by making a trip to Sierra Leone in October 2016. Jessica is a physician's assistant so much of what she will do will be medical related. However, a big part of her trip will also involve the education and empowerment of women on their health, welfare and safety. She is traveling with an OB/GYN who is training the midwives and empowering them through education through an organization called Helping Children Worldwide, whose mission is "Transforming communities by serving the world’s most vulnerable through education, health care, and spiritual growth." Mercy Hospital, where much of the work is done, works collaboratively through community outreach to neighboring villages, providing programs focused on malaria treatment and prevention; HIV/AIDS awareness and education, testing and counseling; nutrition clinics for children under five years old; and prenatal care. WAGE made a $250 to Jessica's cause to facilitate the wonderful work she and her colleagues will be doing.

Jessica's response:

Many thanks for all your support. It is truly appreciated. I will do my best to be the best steward of your donation. Not a penny shall be wasted. Please realize that a penny goes a very long way in Bo. The exchange is about 6000 leones per $1. I can't wait to share African stories with you.


In 2015 WAGE associate/volunteer Kelly Craig held an art show which featured her art work and some from the Rainbows, abandoned girls and street children who receive education through Loreto Day School's inclusive model of education in Kolkata, India. It was Kelly's generosity that enabled us to make a $1,000 donation toward educational programming for the Rainbow girls.  We are grateful to Kelly and WAGE supporters, Trustees, and volunteers who enable our partnership with this program and others to promote education for girls and women. 




ASBURY PARK, N.J. (MARCH 23, 2016)—Women and Girls Education (WAGE) International donated $1,000 to Sisters Academy of New Jersey on Tuesday thanks to the generous support from the student-run Students Advocating Girls Education (SAGE) and the 5K they sponsored in November.

“It was honor to contribute to an institution dedicated to supporting and facilitating the education of 60 girls each year,” said WAGE President Heather Mistretta. “We learned that day that one former graduate just received a full scholarship to Wellesley College in Massachusetts. That is an amazing feat in the face of staggering odds against her success. And this is just one example among many. The poise, determination and compassionate these girls show are admirable.”

Located on one acre in Asbury Park, NJ, Sisters Academy is a middle school for girls in grades five through eight. The Academy is dedicated to educating girls in an academically challenging and highly disciplined learning environment.

Sisters Academy of New Jersey is a program of Mercy Center and a sponsored ministry of the Sisters of Mercy. The Academy focuses on educating girls from economically-challenged families in order to provide them with the tools necessary to gain access into and success in private high schools and universities.

“We share and embrace the mission to break the cycle of poverty and the consequences it brings by educating our young women to be catalysts of change and in turn share that enthusiasm and fervor for education with others,” said Mistretta.

She added that WAGE plans to continue an ongoing relationship with Sisters Academy through mentoring programs and partnerships.



Monmouth University student-run organization, Students Advocating Girls’ Education (SAGE) welcomed more than 100 walkers and runners at its inaugural 5K on campus on November 1, 2015, to benefit Women & Girls Education (WAGE) – International and its mission projects.  

“We are so grateful to SAGE for planning this 5K. We even had a group of Girl Scouts come out and support us. It was nice to see all ages there,” said WAGE President Heather Mistretta.

It’s an opportunity to connect with our community and raise funds for a very important purpose—the education of our children. WAGE believes that every child across the globe deserves the opportunity to live a happy, healthy life absent of abuse and violence, and we believe education is the key toward achieving that.”

Sponsors of the event included the Gender Studies Club, the Sociology Club, the Gender Studies Program and Gourmet Dining, all at Monmouth University, as well as Retro Lounge in North Bergen.