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Act Locally Empower Globally

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By Chloe Keith

“Every girl, no matter where she is born, deserves to dream,” or so the Girl Up website says. Girl Up is a worldwide organization of clubs started by the United Nations that strive to provide safe access to education for girls in developing countries; that’s exactly what almost one hundred students in Cincinnati are trying to do.

Currently, there are three Girl Up clubs in the state of Ohio; one at Kings High School one at Kings Junior High, and one at Indian Hill High School. Thanks to these clubs, more students in Ohio are aware of the dangers that girls go through in other countries when trying to get education, and they are trying their best to help out.

The ultimate goal of Girl Up, as stated on their website, is “to stand up for girls, [empower] each other and [change] our world.”

Girl Up clubs host fundraisers, such as car washes and bake sales, to raise awareness and money for young girls in developing countries. The money then goes directly to the United Nations. The UN uses the money to help young girls in the countries in which the UN advocates. At the moment, Girl Up advocates in 6 different countries (India, Liberia, Uganda, Guatemala, Malawi, and Ethiopia) and has “nearly half a million supporters and advocates from the U.S. and around the world.” According to the official Girl Up website, they “focus on education, health, safety, leadership and being counted”.

Girl Up launched in 2010. However, here in Ohio, The Kings Junior High Girl Up club just started. The members are determined to make a change in the world.

Eighth grader Kendall Keith is the president of the Girl Up club at Kings Junior High. She believes in helping out girls who are unable to help themselves. Not only will these adolescent girls benefit from Kendall’s work, but Kendall will benefit too. “I would like to know that I have helped people all over the world,” she says. Though her club has started small, Kendall believes that they will soon be able to grow in numbers.

Just on the other side of the Junior High, Haley Guerin, a junior at Kings High School, has the same thoughts as Kendall. Guerin is the Vice President of the Kings High School Girl Up club and has a lot to say about the organization.

“I decided to join [Girl Up] because I know what it feels like to be discriminated against and to be told that you can’t do something just because you are a girl. I never want any girl to have to experience that or think that, so I thought that by joining the club, I would have the opportunity to help empower women all around the world, to educate them, and to help them grow and help the world see men and women as equals.”

About half an hour away, Indian Hill High School is doing the same. Erica Keith, a French and Spanish teacher at Indian Hill and Kendall Keith’s mother, has been the advisor of Indian Hill’s Girl Up since August of 2017.

“It feels good to know we’re helping and empowering girls in other countries that otherwise wouldn’t have opportunities to go to school and to move forward with career choices…” Erica says about her experience with Girl Up these past few months. She believes that Girl Up truly is helping to make an impact in the lives of girls in other countries. The fact that “we’re doing something to further girls’ empowerment and education in the world” is a fulfilling thought for Erica.

Along with Guerin and the Keiths, almost one hundred students in Ohio have joined the three different Girl Up clubs. These three clubs, though little, are doing everything in their power to make sure that girls have equal rights and access to education. These clubs are just starting. However, with a little effort, these few students and their club advisors can help to change the world. As Erica Keith says, “I think if we really put a lot of time and thought into it that it could really be a huge success.”

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