beGirl.world (www.begirlworld.com) just celebrated their program’s first year and I was able to bring My Son to their party this past weekend. After watching the video in this post he asked me “Mom are you a beGirl”?. At the time I told him Mom’s a big supporter of the beGirls so in a way yes. I have had the chance to think about my answer and I’ve decided to tell him I am a beGirl as well.
When I was in grade school my mom signed me up to participate in an international pen pal program. I had a few pen pals from Japan and one from Italy. We wrote letters, traded photos, and sent small gifts as well. One gift I’ll never forget was 1,000 origami paper cranes sent to me from Japan which symbolized good luck and is a gift reserved for family or special friends. That was just the beginning.
In high school a very special teacher came into my life who put together two week tours for students from my town and a few others at a price point that worked for working class families. My parents who had never been out of the country themselves were intrigued and went to a meeting where the teacher spoke of the importance of what we’d be exposed to and the life skills we would take away from a trip like this. This was not just a vacation where we were snapping photos of landmarks it was an experience. I was able to join the group and travel to a few European Countries the summer I turned 16 and then again at 17. Wow… looking back how lucky was I! Now don’t get me wrong I had more in the way of resources than the girls who are a part of beGirl.world today but by some standards my family was still middle class and it was a big decision to invest in a trip like this. I walked away with an increased sense of independence, a feeling of responsibility, heightened confidence and certainly more culture. I became very close with some of my travel mates and it did also make adjusting to college and being away from a home a bit easier because of these experiences. I was also able to bring some of my experiences to the classroom while studying at Villanova University. When I went on to earn my masters I took a course in International Business that again allowed me to see more of the world through a two week course in Italy and this time learn about it through touring various corporations. I knew no one when I signed up for this course and I believe travel early on in my life provided me with the confidence needed as a young woman to take advantage of this opportunity.
I am a beGirl. I know that travel and a broad global view helped shape the woman, friend and mother I am today. I know the support of my parents along with my teacher were critical. Now its time for me to support other girls as they shape their future through similar experiences. These girls have aspirations of going to College and eventually Studying Abroad. Please consider joining me in giving them some of the experiences their college peers from other communities will bring with them. This is a local group and a way to give back that will be oh so rewarding when you see the girls grow and change this coming year through the program events and activities and as they pack their bags for London next summer. We will get them there if everyone pitches in!!
#kickofftoliftoff is in full swing and every supporter able to give Fifty Dollars or more will have the chance to win a One Hundred Dollar Southwest Airline Gift Certificate.