Most people my age can’t point their finger directly at a moment and say, “That’s when my life changed.”
I was working on my homework when I received an email titled “Congratulations!” from Girl Up, letting me know that I was selected to be a Teen Advisor with the 2015-2016 class. Needless to say, I was so excited I could barely get any more homework done that night.
Being a Teen Advisor has been a hugely important experience in my life. It has taught me that not only could I use my voice to make a difference, but also that people will actually want to listen. Before becoming a Teen Advisor I was by no means shy, but I was scared of what people thought of me; I was nervous that they would get annoyed at me for voicing my opinions. But through the Teen Advisor program, I’ve learned not to worry about what other people think. As long as you believe in yourself, nothing should discourage you.
This philosophy has allowed me to grow more in these past six months than I had in the past several years. Before becoming a Teen Advisor, I was skeptical of how much speaking up really mattered. Now, I know the true impact my voice can have – and I’ve even seen the ripple effect that follows. I now feel motivated and confident that I truly can change the world.
I now feel motivated and confident that I truly can change the world.
Changing the world is much more satisfying when you are surrounded by people who support and cheer you on. Luckily, I found people just like this in my Teen Advisor class. We quickly developed a close bond. I know that they will always be there for me, no matter what. The community that is created by the Teen Advisor program is irreplaceable. It’s only so often that you meet a group of motivated, like-minded people that push you to be your best and accept you for who you are.
Being part of the teen advisor program has exposed me to many cool opportunities and events, such as attending the DC premiere of He Named Me Malala. But more importantly, it has given me life-long friendships that will continue to thrive well past my time as a Teen Advisor. I’ve acquired countless skills – from how to hone my public speaking skills to how to effectively advocate for causes I believe in – and have gained an even greater interest in current events and humanitarian issues around the world.
Most importantly, it has changed my outlook on the world. Girl Up will continue to be an important part of me throughout my life. As they say, once a Girl Up girl, always a Girl Up girl.
Editor’s note: Girl Up is now accepting applications for the 2016-2017 Teen Advisor class. To apply, visit: https://girlup.org/apply-to-be-a-teen-advisor/. Applications are open through February 19, 2016. Learn more about the Teen Advisor program here.