When Breckenridge-based mountain biker Shannon Galpin talks about her recent adventures tonight at REI, 1416 Platte Street, know that her definition of "mountain biking" is a little bit bigger than some. Take her recent trip through Afghanistan's Panjshir Valley, for example: Galpin's non-profit Mountain2Mountain project was "founded on the idea that we can create a ripple effect of change and compassion by connecting communities and cultures," and the footage and photos she brought home will challenge everything you think you know about the country, its conflicts and its people.
She's not just sight-seeing, either: Mountain2Mountain currently runs seven different projects in Afghanistan supporting girls' education in communities and in women's prisons, education programs for deaf children, rural midwifery training and street art collaborations, and also supports other youth movement organizations like Skateistan and the Kabul Girls Soccer Club. Galpin is featured in Outside Magazine this month, where she quips, "I thought working in a war zone was going to be the toughest part of the job. But that's the easy part."
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This month she's busy with the other side of the equation: Raising awareness (and money) to support her projects and help change people's perceptions at home. She'll speak at REI Denver tonight at 6:30 p.m. and will also speak at REI Boulder on Friday. On Saturday she's speaking at the international conference on Religion, Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery at DU. And on Thursday April 28 she'll premiere Streets of Afghanistan: A Cultural Exhibition at the Denver Art Museum, a Mountain2Mountain project featuring the work of a dozen photographers and multimedia artists.