So went to a presentation/lecture yesterday by Dr. Viola Vaughn – the Executive Director of 10,000 Girls. (Note – this is .org, NOT .com) What she’s doing, in a nutshell, is helping young girls in Senegal, Africa help themselves and help each other help themselves. Help them become more assertive and believe in themselves, help them become good students (that actually stay in school past primary school!), and help them become entrepreneurs so they can support themselves and support their younger sisters through school.
She was absolutely wonderful and charismatic to listen to. The large chunk of her talk were giving and discussing the core principles that she (and the teachers and older girls in her program) teach the young girls. I’m writing these down from my hastily scribbled notes during the talk – any failure to get them down eloquently and accurately is my own failure – not hers. I also pretty much happen to agree with most everything she said, and she says things much better than I ever could. (My comments/translations will be in  below).
Stage 1: You have a light in your beautiful, unique self. Let it SHINE!
- Love yourself/Learn to love yourself
- Lose the baggage of not loving yourself – lose the bad comments of others [Learn to let the bad comments and thoughts of others slide right off – they don’t matter – only you loving yourself matters]
- Heal yourself [directed towards the girls that never even got the chance to go to school because their parents believed they weren’t good enough/were basically the dregs of their house]
- You make yourself happy – don’t look to others [count on others] to make you happy
- Take advantage of opportunities (as they present themselves) [and keep an eye out for them]
- You always have a choice – choose the positive choice over the negative one. The positive one will make your light shine brighter and help it spread to others – the negative one will make it dull
- Accept that relationships won’t last forever – and that’s okay. [Both of you move on, make yourself happy – be glad for the time you had together and let things go when it’s meant to split]
- READ!! Never stop reading. Read everything you can get your hands on
Stage 2: Now that you have your light brightly shining, now you learn to DANCE!
- Forgive yourself of any mistakes you’ve made. Then apologize to yourself first, then to others if you’re still able.
- Stay in charge of your thoughts & feelings. Only you can decide if you’ll have harmony or turmoil inside.
- You’re the only one that can carry your dreams and that can make them real.
- If you doubt yourself, you get doubt. If you lie to yourself, you get lies. If you’re true to yourself, you get truth. Think good thoughts!
- Deal conservatively with criticism [don’t take it too personally]
- East live, fresh food. Dead food is for dead people.
- Stop hanging around dead people! [dead people = those that are always negative, have negative thoughts, negative energy, etc]
- Make no judgment of others, just take care of yourself. You’re the one responsible for yourself.
- Find a partner to dance with and then teach your children to dance.
So yes, check Dr. Viola and her group out – they’re amazing what they’ve accomplished in these 9 years.
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