This Seems Interesting

A few weeks ago I was doing some research for my freelance blogging gig and I came upon a non-profit organization called 10×10 whose mission intrigued me. Here’s a draft of what I wrote about the NPO:

The Influence of 10×10: Educate Girls, Change the World

In August 2012, Forbes magazine published an article about the five most powerful women in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers. The author of the article is Holly Gordon, the executive director and executive producer of the social campaign, 10X10: Educate Girls, Change the World. Her organization and website set an example for others who want to increase social awareness for educating women throughout the world.

About 10X10

According to the website, 10X10 is a social movement that uses many social media channels. It is also a feature film called “Girl Rising” that encourages using “the power of storytelling and the leverage of strategic partnerships to deliver a single message: educating girls in developing nations will change the world.”

10X10’s mission statement is ambitious, but not impossible. It instills hope and inspires action. Holly Gordon firmly believes that “educated girls dramatically improve the well-being of their families, their communities, and their countries.” These girls develop into women who can powerfully impact their societies by helping to change conditions that lead to terrorism and by reducing:

  • poverty
  • child mortality
  • population growth
  • HIV infection rates
  • corruption

Film Influence

Award winning directors and other creative have collaborated to produce “Girl Rising.” 10X10 works with progressive non-profit organizations, celebrities, political leaders, corporations and concerned citizens “to build a global movement to demand equal opportunity for girls.”

Academy Award nominee Richard Robbins directs the film, whichtells the stories of 9 extraordinary girls from 9 countries, written by 9 celebrated writers.” Nine actresses narrate the film: Anne Hathaway, Cate Blanchett, Selena Gomez, Freida Pinto, Meryl Streep, Kerry Washington, Chloe Moretz, Priyanka Chopra and Alicia Keys.

You can watch the full trailer and check for local screenings at the 10X10 website. For additional information you can also visit the film’s website.

Web Influence

Through strong and wide-reaching website hosting, people around the world can access 10X10’s message. Large corporations realize the power of their contribution and are talking about their own influence to further 10X10’s cause. Rural and obscure villages can even use the website to increase their awareness of the potential of their girls.

The organization has a goal of one billion impressions and a million actions from people around the world. This kind of virality will encourage policy changes in various countries worldwide. 10×10 strives to work with policy leaders to impact global institutions and hopefully sway world governments to implement and enforce laws and policies “that ensure every girl has an equal opportunity to fulfill her full potential.”

10×10 works with organizations with a proven reputation for educating girls. In a professional symbiosis, 10X10 and the organizations promote each other. The institutions tell each other’s stories and help to encourage donations for programs “that help girls get into and stay in school.”

In addition to promoting the film, the website has educational videos, a link for making donations, and a blog with regular updates. Readers can also spread the news of 10X10 by email subscribing to updates and by linking to the website on their favorite social media channels.

With rapid and widespread dissemination of 10X10’s goals, Holly Gordon’s vision of educating girls worldwide will come true. If more people become involved and believe that educating girls can change the world, more people will take action. The girls will believe in themselves, take positive action in their communities, and the world will become a better place.

Then last week I received an invitation on facebook to reserve tickets for a possible screening in Provo. I knew it wasn’t a coincidence, as I have wanted to see the film for a few weeks now. In order make the screening happen, at least  100 people have to make reservations. As of this writing, only 14 have reserved tickets.

If you’re in the Provo/Orem area and want to see a film about important global issues, make reservations now. Seriously, you have about 8 hours. It’s for a good cause.

ETA: The Orem screening fell through. We now have 5 days to make the Salt Lake City Screening happen. Do it.

The Monkeys Smile Upon Her

The thin glossy pages of those science books back 7th grade flash in my memory. I rub the tips of my fingers against my thumb, trying to recall the texture: smooth. I close my eyes and flip through the pages. It was a biology book for biology class. I picture the light shining through the classroom windows, trying to figure out what time of day I had class. The shadows are different in several scenarios. I recall now that classes rotated from day to day, except for lunch and PE, which wasn’t the easiest class in the middle of the day. I had Coach Minton.

Ms. Eckford was my biology teacher. That’s where I learned about phototropism and photosynthesis and the origins of word parts, such as phago and endo and derm and cyto and so forth. I figured out my first Punnett squares in that class. Once my English Teacher, Mrs. Martin, came into our class and bantered with Ms. Eckford and for some reason seeing teachers in completely different disciplines interact fascinated me. They were two of my favorite teachers, and I was glad they were friends.

In that biology book was a feature or blurb on Jane Goodall. My first true exposure to her. I read about her and her research and her efforts with the chimpanzees and I couldn’t get enough. I looked at photo footage of her among the chimps. I remember feeling the dedication she had toward helping endangered species and conserving resources and preserving habitats for the animals she dearly loved. Repeatedly I’d read that summary of Jane Goodall; I’d committed it to memory. I wanted to get to know her.

Ms. Eckford discussed Jane Goodall briefly. I clung to her every word, verifying her statements with what I read from the textbook. Jane Goodall did important work, and my biology teacher in a rural Florida town talked about her. She studied her and used those few smooth, glossy pages to add to and present a lesson plan. I liked my science book. I liked Ms. Eckford teaching from it. I liked Jane Goodall.

After 7th grade, I’d catch wind of Jane Goodall occasionally, on PBS or National Geographic or in an updated biography with an extra page in a heftier textbook. The content demanded my attention, and its importance certainly didn’t fade. If anything, Jane Goodall responded wholeheartedly to her work’s increasing urgency.

21 years later, I got to see her in person. I stood in the middle of a crowd, listening to her first-hand accounts. If I tippy-toed, I caught glimpses of her head positioned above the lectern behind which she stood. She spoke articulately, like a 75-year old woman who is a primatologist and ethologist and anthropologist. She was lovely, witty, comfortable. She recounted success stories with condors and frustrations with saving other species. She used the word nevertheless. She sported her famous ponytail.

She has a new book out, which I didn’t buy, and so she couldn’t autograph it. One of these days I will get my grubby paws on it, and use my opposable thumbs to flip through it, and read how the book is more about Jane Goodall’s causes, and not about Jane Goodall. Not really. At least that’s the way I imagine it. That’s the way it was in 7th grade, and that’s more revealing of her character than anything else could be. Maybe that’s why I’ve always admired her.


I just got back from the bathroom. TMI, I know.

As you may remember, the bathroom is part of my roommate’s master bedroom.

When I walked into her room, she was on the phone with a boy.

I closed the bathroom door, I did my business.

Then I stood for a while and didn’t flush the toilet SO I COULD EAVESDROP ON HER CONVERSATION.

I listened for a few seconds. I only heard some giggling and her voice I struggle to hear when a door isn’t between us. I couldn’t make out complete words, but the sound was flirty, all floating and with a lilty inflection. I’m sure I heard some coy smiles, too.

Then I remembered what I was doing and flushed the toilet and washed my hands.

I opened the bathroom door. My roommate smiled at me, or maybe it was just a residual smile because she was still on the phone with the boy. Her voice was louder, of course; I could understand actual words. But I couldn’t stand there and stare at her talking. That’s just rude. I smiled back and waved as I exited her room.

Now I’m here, documenting the event, so the world could possibly conclude 1)I’m a lousy friend for eavesdropping and/or 2)how much water a household could save just by having a master bedroom with a bathroom to share and a roommate having an interesting conversation while you’re using the bathroom.

Maybe I should have pressed my ear to the door?