The United Nations Foundation’s Girl Up campaign is a global community of advocates changing policies and raising funds to support United Nations programs that help the hardest to reach girls living in places where it is hardest to be a girl.
At the heart of this campaign are its Teen Advisors, girls who ensure that Girl Up succeeds in its mission: to support the empowerment of girls, by girls. Teen Advisors help carry out advocacy goals, provide feedback on campaign materials, and energize others to take action.
As part of our ongoing “Supporter Spotlight” blog series, we recently talked to Sarah Gale, a Teen Advisor from 2012-2013 class and co-chair of the Teen Advisor class in 2013-2014.
Question: What motivates you to work with Girl Up?
Sarah Gale: When I first came across the Girl Up campaign four years ago, I realized that girls in developing countries have desires and goals just like any girl. However, they can sometimes live in societies where girls are kicked to the curb, degraded, raped, trafficked, and patronized. This dire reality infused me with an obligation to my counterparts in developing countries, and Girl Up’s empowering community and passionate supporters have only reinforced my commitment and love for Girl Up’s mission.
Q: What is your biggest accomplishment with Girl Up?
SG: After being a Teen Advisor and a Teen Advisor Co-Chair, hosting numerous fundraisers, speaking on several panels, and starting the South Florida Coalition of Girl Up clubs, I have to say that my proudest accomplishment is being able to reflect on my involvement with Girl Up and realize the incredible growth and progress of the campaign.
I went from being one of the first 20 Girl Up clubs, attending the first annual Girl Up Leadership Summit, and being in the third and fourth Teen Advisor classes, to watching Girl Up grow to include clubs in more than 66 countries, attending three more Leadership Summits, and witnessing five Teen Advisor classes blossom.
Q: What have you learned from your involvement with Girl Up?
SG: As a painfully shy little girl, I possessed a talent for staring at the floor and relentlessly avoiding people at all costs. For that reason, it still surprises me that just one year ago, I confidently addressed a United Nations Foundation event for International Women’s Day – speaking in front of a large audience including Dr. Jill Biden, Ambassador Cathy Russell, and President and CEO of UN Foundation Kathy Calvin.
Girl Up has armed me with the fearlessness and confidence to make my voice heard and to overcome intimidation. I have learned that everyone has the ability to make a change.
Q: What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
SG: The best piece of advice that I have ever been given was one that was continuously reiterated at the 2013 Girl Up Leadership Summit: “Get comfortable being uncomfortable.” I live my life with this quote in mind, constantly challenging myself to surpass the limits of my comfort zone.
Q: What advice would you give to someone who wants to make a difference in the world?
SG: Always believe in your most daring ideas. Don’t let the naysayers convince you that it can’t be done.
Q: In one sentence, what kind of world do you want to see in 2030?
SG: Although Girl Up is a tremendous part of my life, in 2030, I want to see a world where campaigns like Girl Up are not necessary because all girls are educated, safe, healthy, and counted.