Our world continuously changes. We have the choice to change the world or be driven by change. Sir Richard Branson and his local NPO Unite BVI changed my life by financing and facilitating my trip to Washington D.C. for the 2019 Girl Up Leadership Summit. Girl Up, a campaign for girls by girls launched by the United Nations, provides the opportunity for girls worldwide to channel their energy and compassion to raise awareness and funds that help change some of the world’s hardest-to-reach adolescent girls’ environments. Through Girl Up’s support, basic needs such as clean water, life-saving health services, safety from violence and privileges like education are accessible to girls in developing countries. Thus, I thought that my own territory, the British Virgin Islands, redeveloping post-Hurricanes Irma and Maria, would benefit from having a Girl Up chapter. Unfortunately, every girl in my territory will never be afforded the same opportunity presented to me. Thus, my objective was to host a leadership training seminar to empower the teenage girls in my territory using Girl Up as my platform. Specifically, I wanted to host a health/wellness and discovering our identity/brand experience for teenage girls. This Girl Up Pop Up included female panels, workshops, giveaways and much more! On Saturday, November 30th, the girls focused on different objectives such as indulging in an internal cleansing course (spiritual and nutrition), enhancing external decorum, inspiration to decipher post-high school journey goals, and dissecting options. Through this experience, I acknowledge my responsibility to expose my community to the resources Girl Up provides and facilitate this equal opportunity for all the attendees to learn from local Sheroes.
From the beginning, my plan was to provide an outlet for girls in my community to have a safe space to be empowered by each other and women that came before them. The logistics behind the execution of this outlet continuously changed because of limited resources, time, and other people’s scheduling. After a few meetings with my external advisors, assistant coordinators, and school supervisors, the plan changed from every Saturday in November having a different event to selecting one activity from each Saturday to form a condensed day. The first Saturday’s theme was Internal Wellness/Cleansing including reflective activities, team-building exercises, and a detoxing girl chat. The following was to be a Mommy and Me Fitness Saturday where the duos can try CrossFit, Aerial Silk or a dance class. Then everyone was to meet for a 5k walk/run. On the third Saturday I wanted to find appropriate panelists to teach self-care, branding and presentational tips like personal hygiene, table etiquette, and knowing your audience and your worth. The fourth Saturday I was thinking could be an outlet for girls to learn more about their post-high school options by having workshops about different fields lead by women in our community that are excelling in those fields and then coming back together to share what we learned in those workshops. Fortunately, only the Fitness Day activities didn’t come to fruition.
Alongside me coordinating this event were Hannah Russ, Desirée Mercer, Girl Up Club members (24 boys and girls), and Kim Takeuchi of Unite BVI. However, the team consisted of resourceful sponsors, solicited speakers, my dedicated parents (Sofia Bertie & Alnando Fahie), Steve Butcher (technician), Scott Crawford (Director of CIS), Zach Pascoe (Head of Secondary), Chris Ghiorse (Facilities Manager), Denise Sargeant James, Priya Mohammed, Jennifer Thomas, Sandra Malone, Ingrid Mills, Bradley Vanterpool and Otto Freeman.
“Is there going to be a Pop Up every month?”
“Are there any more registrations to sign up for the next one?”
“The Beauty & Brains Workshops really encouraged me to be serious about my passion for cosmetology.”
“I liked the mentorship sector of the Entrepreneurship workshop because now I have contact information for the CEO of Virgin Islands Made.”