Today is the International Day of the Girl according to the UN. Girls across the world are consistently held back for various reasons, and this day is to celebrate all of them and to create goals to help better their lives.
While I was in college, I got very involved with an organization called She’s the First, which helps raise money for girls in other countries to receive an education and go to school (just like their boy equals). After meeting the girls and women also involved with the organization at a national conference, I felt inspired to dedicate my time and energy to making sure girls and women have the same chances and opportunities that boys & men across the world do.
Now, I’ve started creating a world around me that keeps that goal at the center of my life and is something I work towards every day. I started an organization called Beyond Brunch Detroit which connects millennial women with experts in their fields (or a field they’d like to go into) as a mentor and advisor for advancing their careers. Basically, it’s a networking group that connects more casually and intimately over brunch instead of at big networking events.
I’ve also decided to start volunteering with an organization in Detroit called Alternatives for Girls. AFG’s mission is to “help homeless and high-risk girls and young women avoid violence, teen pregnancy and exploitation, and help them to explore and access the support, resources and opportunities necessary to be safe, to grow strong and to make positive choices in their lives”. Soon, I will become a mentor to a girl and be able to lead and direct her in different ways, through school and life, and assist her in growing and attending college.
There are so many girls and women in this world that are beyond capable of great things, but they lack the resources and guidance to get there. So, to the girl out there who has big dreams, I have a little advice for you:
- Never give up: Life can be hard – very hard. And there will be times when you want to quit. In those moments, I suggest going back to the drawing board. Look back at something that made you really proud to be going down the path you’re on, and remember how that made you feel. Remember why you started in the first place, and keep in mind that with every low comes a high.
- Don’t listen to people who won’t listen to you: If there’s one thing I’ve learned so far in life, it’s that people always doubt things that don’t seem 100% certain. Most people are afraid of the unknown, and venturing down a road that isn’t a straight path is scary. But – anyone who doubts you or your goals and doesn’t listen to or believe in you doesn’t matter. You are destined for far greater things than they can even imagine.
- Find your girl gang: I know this seems silly, but it’s beyond important. Find a group of like-minded girls who have big goals and dreams just like you. And then – support them. Lean on each other, run ideas past each other, lift each other up. Family will always support you, but when you have a badass group of girls there too, you’ll feel invincible.
- Never stop smiling: Not only is that a mental health tip (and makes you prettier, according to Audrey Hepburn), but you should never let things in your life keep you down. It’s always okay to be sad for a bit, but with the life you’re creating and the goals you’re setting, there isn’t any reason to stay upset. You’re capable of great things – and you’re going to get them. And that alone is reason to smile.