Victoria I., Impact Scholar 2018, wearing the 2019 Graduation Charm Necklace.
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Happy to be LiveGirls!
Hiya,Livewell's graduation charm came into existence four years ago, while I was mentoring six high school seniors. I challenged the girls to come up with a fun, hip, everyday piece of jewelry with meaning. The girls were all focused on high school graduation at the time, and it didn’t take us long to design the simple hand-stamped eternity charm that would become Livewell’s signature graduation necklace. We donated a portion of the proceeds to a fund honoring a local teacher. Families loved the charm, which symbolized the accomplishment and memories of four years of school, and it has come back each spring by popular demand.
This year, Sheri West, founder of LiveGirl, a non-profit dedicated to empowering the next generation of female leaders, approached me to fund a 2019 Impact Scholar -- a graduating senior who exemplified selfless leadership and service and who served as a role model to the next generation of female leaders. I have always been in awe of Sheri West and was excited to make a connection between her work and Livewell: I decided that for every 2019 Graduation Charm Necklace purchased, Livewell would donate $25 to LiveGirl. We would help send the Impact Scholar to college with money for books and living expenses, and also fund summer camp scholarships that give young women who otherwise can’t afford it a week of leadership development and girl empowerment in a team-based environment.
On a recent Monday, Livewell had a chance to photograph Victoria Iparraguirre, LiveGirl’s first Impact Scholar, in a studio in Brooklyn, wearing a 2019 Livewell Graduation Charm Necklace. Victoria is a freshman at the Manhattan School of Music, studying classical voice. "LiveGirl opened my eyes to the crazy, beautiful array of definitions of what it means to be a girl," Victoria told me. “Before that, I struggled growing up with the concept of 'femininity' as my interests weren’t typical for girls my age." As a mentor now, she inspires other young girls to be the best version of themselves.
In 2018, LiveGirl enrolled over 1200 young women from middle school through high school in its school mentoring groups, leadership summits, and summer camps, to help them explore what’s possible and discover their best selves. This year LiveGirl is adding programs at six Connecticut Boys & Girls Club, with the goal of serving 1500 girls. Sheri West is profoundly grateful to the “thousands of girls, parents, donors, and volunteers who share LiveGirl’s vision of a world free from gender and racial inequality and a community that prepares the next generation of transformational female leaders."
Now more than ever, the need for girl empowerment is clear and urgent. Research shows that 7 in 10 girls believe they are not good enough or don’t measure up in some way. Let’s mentor them to always live brave and change the world. Buy a 2019 Graduation Charm Necklace for the special students in your life; you can honor your own favorite graduates and at the same time make an impact in the lives of girls who need our support. To learn more about LiveGirl, visit golivegirl.org.