A group of 20 teen girls recently received recognition on a national level for their commitment to driving positive social change in their communities.
The ANNpower Vital Voices Initiative is a partnership between ANN INC., parent company of Ann Taylor and LOFT, and Vital Voices, working to empower young women from across the U.S. with the leadership skills needed to become the next generation of leaders.
The 2013 ANNpower Grantees were awarded with funds to bring their ideas to life in a wide range of ways that will make a difference in their communities.
The funded projects include ideas to promote sustainable living choices through recycled art, provide mentoring and networking workshops, and increase female interest and participation in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields from an early age.
Each year, ANN INC. and Vital Voices select 50 outstanding young women, who are high school sophomores and juniors, to become ANNpower Fellows.
The ANNpower Fellows participate in the three-day ANNpower Vital Voices Leadership Forum in Washington, D.C. The young women are then eligible to receive grants of up to $2,500 to help them implement their ideas.
Receiving the competitive recognition brings the young women and their plans to the forefront of high-profile female leaders, including actresses Kate Hudson and Jennifer Morrison, who are on the Initiative's Advisory Council with other influential women.
"We are so proud to invest in these incredible young women who are starting to establish themselves as strong, confident leaders within their communities," said Kay Krill, President and CEO of ANN INC. "We look forward to empowering each of these young women to cultivate and grow their unique voices and passions as they set out to make their first of many imprints in the world."
The 2013 ANNpower Grantees awarded are:
- Anjana from Shorewood, Wisconsin who is educating girls about the importance of gender equality and the Millennium Development Goals
- Alexandra from Stamford, Connecticut who is creating a store for low-income families in her community, called Handled with Care
- Carolina from Centreville, Virginia who is creating mentoring and networking opportunities for teen girls in her communnity
- Charlotte from Leavenworth, Washington who is working to promote sustainable life choices through art projects using recycled materials
- Neha from Fort Pierce, Florida who is creating a series of workshops for middle school girls, stimulating their interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields
- Rabiah from Cordova, Tennessee who is launching a mentoring program for teen girls who are refugees to the United States
- Ariela from New Haven, Connecticut who is instilling the importance of education and a healthy lifestyle in young Latina girls through the Girls Boxing Club (GBC)
- Abriana from Villanova, Pennsylvania who is launching a pen pal and cultural exchange program between students at her high school and the Darfuri refugees in Chad through an online platform
- Lindsay from Quincy, Massachusetts who is instilling confidence and empowering girls in her community through leadership development workshops
- Laura from Tallahassee, Florida who is planning to organize a major event to bring awareness to the issue of human trafficking
- Jane from Oberlin, Ohio who is sparking interest in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) among young girls
- Nadyah from Bel Air, Maryland who is supporting the creation of a community learning center in Sri Lanka by working with students in her high school to collect supplies and raise awareness of global issues surrounding girls in developing countries
- Alisha from Bellevue, Washington who is working on an online community of mentors and students that uses a crowd-sourcing model to deliver content that builds technical prowess from an early age
- Abigail from Leonardtown, Maryland who is working to address the increased risk of drowning for socioeconomically disadvantaged children and Amish children through Swimming Safety School (3S)
- Elizabeth from Greensboro, North Carolina who is creating mentoring relationships between girls starting middle school with girls about to finish high school
- Drucila from Bronx, New York who is creating a documentary telling the stories of individual people who have overcome personal challenges
- Laura from San Antonio, Puerto Rico who is partnering with the Department of Education to implement her campaign to prevent child abuse in 30 public and private schools throughout Puerto Rico
- Karly from Vero Beach, Florida who is using some of the recycled tennis balls she collects through her nonprofit Balls Go Round to create holiday ornaments for American troops stationed abroad
- Molly from Waltham, Massachusetts who is setting up an "imagination station" of non-electronic toys and games for children in long-term care at the hospital
- Shivonne from Palo Alto, California who is building an online community to discuss global women's issues and creating a speaker series for girls in her community to gain exposure to established women leaders
"These young women are part of a powerful network of peers that will emerge together to blaze the trail as the next generation of leaders," said Alyse Nelson, President and CEO of Vital Voices. "We are honored to partner with ANN INC. to invest in the visionary plans of these impressive young women and look forward to all they will accomplish."
To learn more about the 2013 ANNpower Grantees, the ANNpower Vital Voices Initiative, or the ANNpower Fellow application process, please visit the ANNpower website, linked at the beginning of this article.