- Girl Up
Led by Teen Advisor Sophia D. '19, Marlborough Hosts Girl Up Leadership Summit
"At the summit, I witnessed girls connecting in order to focus on ways to make a difference and advocate for change, which left me feeling that the summit could actually make a meaningful difference in the lives of the girls that Girl Up seeks to help," said Sophia.
Girl Up is a United Nations Foundation campaign engaging girls to raise awareness and funds to invest in other girls around the world, protecting their ability to go to school, see a doctor, and live a life free of violence. Sophia D. '19 is a Teen Advisor for the group and organized the 4th Annual Southern California Girl Up Leadership Summit hosted at Marlborough on September 17th. Following the event, Sophia shared her experience:
Why did you get involved with Girl Up?
I first learned about Girl Up from Annie Gersh '16, a former Teen Advisor and the former president of the Girls Go Global club at Marlborough, which represents several organizations and campaigns focused on improving the lives of women and girls, one of which is Girl Up.
I was really drawn to Girl Up in particular because it seemed to have a unique way of connecting with teens. The campaign does a great job of breaking down seemingly insurmountable problems into more focused, meaningful, and understandable issues. Unlike large organizations that rely more heavily on distant fundraising and high level promotion to support their efforts, Girl Up is very focused on grassroots participation by its supporters, the majority of whom are girls. As a result, I believed that the campaign would allow me to make a meaningful difference in the world in an area that I really care about, despite my age.
Additionally, I was very drawn to Girl Up's mission, as it isn't limited to one specific goal, but is tied instead to the general concept of promoting girls' wellbeing and empowerment across the globe. That means that Girl Up's actions can be more effectively tailored to the needs of each individual community, which allowed me to feel that I could have a strong connection to a targeted effort with tangible results.
What do you do as a Teen Advisor?
In June, I was notified that out of the 550 girls who had applied from around the world, I was one of nineteen girls chosen to be new Teen Advisors for the campaign. As Girl Up is a "by girls, for girls" campaign, Teen Advisors are in charge of spearheading the movement. Not only do we raise awareness about Girl Up and engage with its supporters, we also organize events, fundraise for the campaign, advocate for Girl Up's mission and the bills that it supports (this year, that is the Protecting Girls' Rights to Education in Vulnerable Settings Act, which is currently in the House of Representatives), and act as a public face of Girl Up.
Tell me about the Girl Up Leadership Summit you organized and hosted at Marlborough.
The event brought together over 200 girls from around Southern California to learn about Girl Up's work, strengthen leadership skills, and advocate for improvement in the lives of underprivileged girls around the world. Attendees heard from four different speakers who discussed issues ranging from current efforts to provide girls with access to education and end child marriages, to the importance of developing one's own personal brand, and the need for girls to become involved and use their political voice. Keynote speaker Liza Koshy encouraged us to be strong women, pursue our passions and have fun in the process! Participants also attended engaging workshops and connected with other like-minded girls from all around Southern California.
What was your favorite part of the event?
My favorite part of the summit was witnessing the camaraderie and feeling of friendship developed through the attendees' common dedication to helping women and girls around the world. At the summit, I witnessed girls connecting in order to focus on ways to make a difference and advocate for change, which left me feeling that the summit and other events like it could actually made a meaningful difference in the lives of the girls that Girl Up seeks to help.