CARE Action!, Girl Up and two girls from that generation President Obama mentioned

CARE Action!, Girl Up and two girls from that generation President Obama mentioned

1/13/17

So many themes in President Obama’s farewell address resonated with us here at CARE Action! His messages about our country’s democracy, progress and history and the inspiration he takes from America’s young people were true, touching and optimistic. We knew just what he was talking about too because we’ve witnessed the power girls, boys and young adults have for making change happen.  Give them the right tools, skills and opportunities and there’s no limit to what they can do in their lives, communities and on a global level.

 

The CARE Action! network includes lots of committed adolescents, teens and young adults who help CARE advocate for policies that support girls and women around the world.  We find their intelligence, determination and creativity to be inspiring.  As President Obama said in his address, “Let me tell you, this generation coming up — unselfish, altruistic, creative, patriotic — I’ve seen you in every corner of the country.”

 

We couldn’t agree more, which is why, this week, we kicked off our new “Walk In Her Shoes” campaign by talking to girls about Girl Up on the CARE Action podcast. With so many historic events taking place over the next few weeks that will hugely impact the work Girl Up and CARE does, we have a lot to talk about and we wanted girls to get the conversation rolling.

 

Girl Up is a United Nation’s Foundation program that connects adolescent girls and teens from all over the world.  They believe that when girls stand up for girls in need, they empower each other and transform our world. CARE has seen that transformation in action in 95 developing countries. Give them an education, good food, clean water, basic safety, a little healthcare and plenty of opportunities and there’s nothing more powerful than a girl.

 

Girl Up engages girls to take action. They’re a community of nearly half a million passionate advocates who raise awareness and funds to help girls who live in the places where it is hardest to be a girl. Girl Up also provides an excellent starting point for girls to learn advocacy and networking skills that make a real difference in their own lives and the lives of others.

 

When we recorded our podcast this week with Girl Up ambassador, Morgan Wood and Olivia Faulkner, president of the Girl Up club at Grant High School in Oregon, it was clear that these two young women are part of the generation Obama was talking about.  Morgan and Olivia are both Girl Up leaders and CARE advocates. 

 

Morgan began the first Girl Up club in upstate New York when she was a sophomore in high school.  She sat on the campaign’s board of teen advisors as a senior and then brought Girl Up with her to college where she chairs the Girl Up campus committee and is the coalition director for upstate New York.  On top of that, she’s a state advocacy chair for the CARE Action! network.  Morgan says, “Girl Up started out as an awareness and fundraising campaign but the organization figured out quickly that girls want to be politically active.”  When you  look at all of Morgan’s advocacy engagements, you might say that’s an understatement.

 

Olivia is a junior in high school and a “long time” CARE advocate.  She sat in her first meeting “on the Hill” when she was only 13.  Since her school didn’t have a Girl Up club, Olivia and a friend started one. Olivia says, “After the election,…a lot of people said they wanted to do something, but felt kind of helpless since we are all minors and we can’t vote.  I introduced the idea to our club that maybe we should talk to our Congress members so we can tell them how they can support us in the new Administration.  I wanted to give my club mates a sense of power.  We can’t vote.  We can’t influence the government that way but we’re not totally helpless. Our government leaders want to know what we have to say.”

 

For most Americans, advocating for even one organization is a stretch, yet Morgan and Olivia each make time to advocate for both CARE and Girl Up. Morgan says they “mesh well.”  “They’re similar but different in that Girl Up focuses on just girls and CARE addresses both girls and women.  What I love about both is that they know that focusing on girls and women is the key to overcoming poverty. It’s a huge positive that we can work together.” 

 

Girls and women around the world struggle with a continuum of challenges that start before birth and last a lifetime. Many are universal and stand in the way of global security, prosperity and equity.  During our Walk in Her Shoes campaign from January 10th and 26th, we’ll be standing in solidarity with all girls, women and global citizens who are committed to making the world a better place. 

 

To quote President Obama, once again, “We have everything we need to meet those challenges. After all, we remain the wealthiest, most powerful, and most respected nation on earth….If we’re unwilling to invest in the children of immigrants, just because they don’t look like us, we will diminish the prospects of our own children.” 

 

You can’t listen to young women like Olivia and Morgan and not feel optimistic about investing in children. Listen to the full podcast, Talking with Girls about Girls Up and join our Walk In Her Shoes campaign to help keep this conversation going.

Katie Kraft
Regional Advocacy Coordinator

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