Help Save the Next Girl Event Leaves Impact at Mary Baldwin

March 22, 2017

There was not a dry eye in the room as Gill Harrington and Jane Lillian Vance spoke to Mary Baldwin students and the Staunton community about their organization Help Save the Next Girl and their book, Morgan Harrington Murdered Dead and for Good: A Mother’s Quest to Find a Serial Killer and Healing.

Help Save the Next Girl is an organization founded by Gill Harrington, after her daughter, Virginia Tech student Morgan Harrington, was brutally murdered. The national non-profit organization seeks to sensitize young women and girls to predatory danger.

During the talk both Vance and Harrington read sections of their book that included essays from the trial of Jesse Matthew who is now a convicted serial killer. The book also includes never-before-seen poetry and illustrations from Morgan Harrington that gives readers an intimate perspective on the young woman who brought much happiness to other’s lives.

“The book can be a road map or playbook for other people to try and construct a positive way of dealing with whatever losses and challenges they have,” Harrington said.

Help Save the Next Girl emphasizes the importance of developing vital relationships with media and law enforcement, with the hope that those connections will enhance the ability to quickly disseminate urgent information in the case of another missing person.

The organization also provides outreach support to victims’ families, such as the parents of Hannah Graham who was abducted near the University of Virginia by Matthew as well. Help Save the Next Girl became a huge asset into the investigation surrounding Graham’s abduction and murder, as well as into Virginia teen Alexis Murphy’s disappearance.

Vance, a former teacher of Harrington’s, believes Help Save the Next Girl has and will continue to save other young women from predatory violence.

Both women encouraged the audience members to say something if a situation feels dangerous. The intimate talk included swapping stories of young men, women, and even children who spoke out against dangerous situations thanks in part to the organizations cause.

“While there will never be a happy ending to this story,” Harrington said. “At least there has been some good to come out of it.”