On October 17, 2009, a 20-year-old Virginia Tech Student named Morgan Dana Harrington went to a Metallica concert in Charlottesville, Virginia, and never came home. One hundred and one days later, a farmer found Morgan’s skeletonized remains in a remote pasture about six miles from the concert venue. Morgan Harrington’s abduction and murder prompted the beginning of Help Save The Next Girl.
Help Save The Next girl began as a channel to spread information, started by Dan and Gil Harrington, Morgan’s parents. With support from the community at large Help Save The Next Girl has grown to include a national team, a collegiate chapter at Virginia Tech, and a Maryland high school chapter at Walkersville High School.
As an organization, we work with many other groups who focus on safety and violence prevention. Help Save The Next girl has been a part of Take Back The Night rallies across Virginia. Recently, we have branched out to hold safety presentations with the Girl Scouts of America.
Our organization keeps a very strong social media presence. Our team sees the benefit of spreading information quickly and efficiently through outlets like Facebook and Twitter. By asking our more than 5,000 followers to share our posts, we can reach a vast amount of people together. The Harrington family also uses their own personal website to share information.
While our main focus is to spread safety information, we also must remind everyone to stay vigilant. The person who murdered Morgan is still free. We must remember to keep our eyes open for those who need help, and those who are a danger to our safety.
We believe that a positive legacy for Morgan must include our commitment to keep other young women safe. Morgan was smart, beautiful, and looking forward to becoming a teacher. She was excited to offer her enthusiasm to children and to service organizations. In her honor, we move forward.