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Grier Senior Organizes Girl Up Regional Summit
Contributed by Annie G. '18
Students in Grier's Empowering Girls Globally (EGG) Club attended a United Nations Organization Girl Up Regional Summit in Philadelphia. Grier's own Annie G. helped organize the event that aimed to build awareness of issues facing girls internationally and provide attendees with the tools and knowledge to lead the charge. The event was punctuated with keynote speakers and presentors including Representatives from the Pennsylvania State House, the producer of the political comedy show Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, women of STEM, and many more!
For the senior Annie Gleiberman, Grier has inspired her to empower not only the girls at Grier but girls all over Pennsylvania. Taking on the role of the leader for the Girl Up Pennsylvania Coalition, a network of all the Girl Up clubs in the state of Pennsylvania, she organized a regional summit on November 4th, 2017, with the help of Palak Shah, of North Penn High School in Lansdale. An organization of the United Nations, Girl Up provides girls in developing nations with access to education, healthcare, and the resources to become leaders in their societies. It accomplishes this mission by enlisting girls around the world to fundraise, advocate, and spread awareness through their individual chapters. Girls from the Empowering Girls Globally club at Grier joined an audience of over fifty enthusiastic girls to learn what they could do to jumpstart the grassroots campaign.
In one day, all the issues and achievements facing girls today were broadcast in every direction for all to take notice. In the political category, PA Representatives Madeline Dean and Leanne Krueger-Braneky urged girls to run for political office, value their voices, and become active citizens. In the fields of science and technology, volunteers from Girl Develop It and TechGirlz advised girls planning on entering STEM to always believe they belong and create spaces where females feel welcome to contribute. Neda O’Reilly, the parent of active EGG member and Grier student Karyna C., talked about the tools necessary to get through life and how to utilize them. Nikki Johnson-Huston, from Philly Tax Diva, shared her story of overcoming homelessness, informing an enraptured audience that “It is not where you begin, but how you end.” Finally, Allana Harkin, from Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, shared her experience of entering the heavily male-dominated industries of comedy and late-night television and creating a niche where feminism, journalism, and humor met to equally inform and entertain watchers.
In between, summit attendees, ranging from 11 to 19, asked questions, networked, and gained new perspectives. They drew strength not just from the speakers, but from the girls seated around them. The Girl Up Regional Summit sought to create a network of support, to encourage communication and collaboration between like-minded individuals looking to have a greater impact on their societies. The event became a platform, a stage on which to blazon the banner of female strength and community. They left that day prepared with the tenacity and skillset to generate sustainable social impact, whether it be by meeting with congressional representatives to pass laws like S.1580 that protect girls’ access to education in vulnerable settings, to volunteer in local women’s shelters, to hold creative fundraisers, or to simply talk to their peers about the challenges faced by girls around the world. No matter the approach, these girls will find a way to change not just their communities, but their world.