• You Go Girl! – Adrienne Cecile Rich

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    You Go Girl articles focus on successful women in history who have made unique and important impacts on women and the world.

    Adrienne Rich, Trumansburg, New York, October 2001 by Katharyn Howd Machan.
    Adrienne Rich, Trumansburg, New York, October 2001 – By Katharyn Howd Machan

    YOU GO GIRL! Adrienne Cecile Rich (May 16, 1929 – March 27, 2012) was an American poet, essayist and feminist. She was called “one of the most widely read and influential poets of the second half of the 20th century”, and was credited with bringing “the oppression of women and lesbians to the forefront of poetic discourse.”

    Her first collection of poetry, A Change of World, was selected by renowned poet W. H. Auden for the Yale Series of Younger Poets Award. Rich went on to write the introduction to the published volume. She famously declined the National Medal of Arts, protesting the vote by Newt Gingrich, United States House of Representatives and Speaker, to end funding for the National Endowment for the Arts.

    Adrienne Rich was born in Baltimore, Maryland, the elder of two sisters. Her father, renowned pathologist Arnold Rice Rich, was the Chairman of Pathology at The Johns Hopkins Medical School. Her mother, Helen Elizabeth (Jones) Rich, was a concert pianist and a composer. Her father was from a Jewish family, and her mother was Southern Protestant; the girls were raised as Christians. Adrienne Rich’s early poetic influence stemmed from her father who encouraged her to read but also to write her own poetry. Her interest in literature was sparked within her father’s library where she read the work of writers such as Ibsen, Arnold, Blake, Keats, Rossetti, and Tennyson. Her father was ambitious for Adrienne and “planned to create a prodigy.” Adrienne Rich and her younger sister were home schooled by their mother until Adrienne began public education in the fourth grade. The poems Sources and After Dark document her relationship with her father, describing how she worked hard to fulfill her parents’ ambitions for her—moving into a world in which she was expected to excel.

    In later years, Rich went to Roland Park Country School, which she described as a “good old fashioned girls’ school [that] gave us fine role models of single women who were intellectually impassioned.” After graduating from high school, Rich gained her college diploma at Radcliffe College, where she focused primarily on poetry and learning writing craft, encountering no women teachers at all. In 1951, her last year at college, Rich’s first collection of poetry, A Change of World, was selected by the senior poet W. H. Auden for the Yale Series of Younger Poets Award; he went on to write the introduction to the published volume. Following her graduation, Rich received a Guggenheim Fellowship, to study in Oxford for a year. Following a visit to Florence, she chose not to return to Oxford and spent her remaining time in Europe writing and exploring Italy.

    Early career: 1953–75

    In 1953, Rich married Alfred Haskell Conrad, an economics professor at Harvard University she met as an undergraduate. She said of the match: “I married in part because I knew no better way to disconnect from my first family.I wanted what I saw as a full woman’s life, whatever was possible.” They settled in Cambridge, Massachusetts and had three sons. In 1955 she published her second volume, The Diamond Cutters, a collection she said she wished had not been published. That year she also received the Ridgely Torrence Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America. Her three children were born in 1955 (David), 1957 (Pablo) and 1959 (Jacob).

    The 1960s began a period of change in Rich’s life: she received the National Institute of Arts and Letters award (1960), her second Guggenheim Fellowship to work at the Netherlands Economic Institute (1961), and the Bollingen Foundation grant for the translation of Dutch poetry (1962). In 1963, Rich published her third collection, Snapshots of a Daughter-in-Law, which was a much more personal work examining her female identity, reflecting the increasing tensions she experienced as a wife and mother in the 1950s, marking a substantial change in Rich’s style and subject matter. In her 1982 essay “Split at the Root: An Essay on Jewish Identity”, Rich states: “The experience of motherhood was eventually to radicalize me.” The book met with harsh reviews. She comments, “I was seen as ‘bitter’ and ‘personal'; and to be personal was to be disqualified, and that was very shaking because I’d really gone out on a limb … I realised I’d gotten slapped over the wrist, and I didn’t attempt that kind of thing again for a long time.”

    Moving her family to New York in 1966, Rich became involved with the New Left and became heavily involved in anti-war, civil rights, and feminist activism. Her husband took a teaching position at City College of New York. In 1968, she signed the “Writers and Editors War Tax Protest” pledge, vowing to refuse tax payments in protest against the Vietnam-America War. Her collections from this period include Necessities of Life (1966), Leaflets (1969), and The Will to Change (1971), which reflect increasingly radical political content and interest in poetic form.
    From 1967 to 1969, Rich lectured at Swarthmore College and taught at Columbia University School of the Arts as an adjunct professor in the Writing Division. Additionally, in 1968, she began teaching in the SEEK program in City College of New York, a position she continued until 1975. During this time, Rich also received the Eunice Tietjens Memorial Prize from Poetry Magazine. Increasingly militant, Rich hosted anti-war and Black Panther fundraising parties at their apartment; tensions began to split the marriage, Conrad fearing that his wife had lost her mind. The couple separated in mid-1970 and shortly afterward, in October, Conrad drove into the woods and shot himself.

    In 1971, she was the recipient of the Shelley Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America and spent the next year and a half teaching at Brandeis University as the Hurst Visiting Professor of Creative Writing. Diving into the Wreck, a collection of exploratory and often angry poems, split the 1974 National Book Award for Poetry with Allen Ginsberg, The Fall of America. Declining to accept it individually, Rich was joined by the two other feminist poets nominated, Alice Walker and Audre Lorde, to accept it on behalf of all women “whose voices have gone and still go unheard in a patriarchal world.” The following year, Rich took up the position of the Lucy Martin Donnelly Fellow at Bryn Mawr College.

    Later life: 1976–2012

    Audre Lorde, Meridel Lesueur, Adrienne Rich 1980" by K. Kendall
    Audre Lorde, Meridel Lesueur, Adrienne Rich 1980″ – By K. Kendall

    In 1976, Rich began her partnership with Jamaican-born novelist and editor Michelle Cliff, which lasted until her death. In her controversial work Of Woman Born: Motherhood as Experience and Institution, published the same year, Rich acknowledged that, for her, lesbianism was a political as well as a personal issue, writing, “The suppressed lesbian I had been carrying in me since adolescence began to stretch her limbs.” The pamphlet Twenty-One Love Poems (1977), which was incorporated into the following year’s Dream of a Common Language (1978), marked the first direct treatment of lesbian desire and sexuality in her writing, themes which run throughout her work afterwards, especially in A Wild Patience Has Taken Me This Far (1981) and some of her late poems in The Fact of a Doorframe (2001). In her analytical work Adrienne Rich: the moment of change, Langdell suggests these works represent a central rite of passage for the poet, as she (Rich) crossed a threshold into a newly constellated life and a “new relationship with the universe”. During this period, Rich also wrote a number of key socio-political essays, including “Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence”, one of the first to address the theme of lesbian existence. In this essay, she asks “how and why women’s choice of women as passionate comrades, life partners, co-workers, lovers, community, has been crushed, invalidated, forced into hiding”. Some of the essays were republished in On Lies, Secrets and Silence: Selected Prose, 1966–1978 (1979). In integrating such pieces into her work, Rich claimed her sexuality and took a role in leadership for sexual equality.

    From 1976 to 1979, Rich taught at City College as well as Rutgers University as an English Professor. In 1979, she received an honorary doctorate from Smith College and moved with Cliff to Montague, MA. Ultimately, they moved to Santa Cruz, where Rich continued her career as a professor, lecturer, poet, and essayist. Rich and Cliff took over editorship of the lesbian arts journal Sinister Wisdom (1981–1983). Rich taught and lectured at Scripps College, San Jose State University, and Stanford University during the 1980s and 1990s. From 1981 to 1987, Rich served as an A.D. White Professor-At-Large for Cornell University. Rich published several volumes in the next few years: Your Native Land, Your Life (1986), Blood, Bread, and Poetry (1986), and Time’s Power: Poems 1985–1988 (1989). She also was awarded the Ruth Paul Lilly Poetry Prize (1986), the Elmer Holmes Bobst Award in Arts and Letters from NYU, and the National Poetry Association Award for Distinguished Service to the Art of Poetry (1989).

    Rich’s work with the New Jewish Agenda led to the founding of Bridges: A Journal for Jewish Feminists and Our Friends in 1990, a journal of which Rich served as the editor. This work coincided explored the relationship between private and public histories, especially in the case of Jewish women’s rights. Her next published piece, An Atlas of the Difficult World (1991), won both the Los Angeles Times Book Award in Poetry and the Lenore Marshall/Nation Award as well as the Poet’s Prize in 1993 and Commonwealth Award in Literature in 1991. During the 1990s Rich became an active member of numerous advisory boards such as the Boston Woman’s Fund, National Writers Union and Sisterhood in Support of Sisters in South Africa. On the role of the poet, she wrote, “We may feel bitterly how little our poems can do in the face of seemingly out-of-control technological power and seemingly limitless corporate greed, yet it has always been true that poetry can break isolation, show us to ourselves when we are outlawed or made invisible, remind us of beauty where no beauty seems possible, remind us of kinship where all is represented as separation.” In July 1994, Rich won the MacArthur Fellowship and Award, specifically the “Genius Grant” for her work as a poet and writer. Also in 1992, Rich became a grandmother to Julia Arden Conrad and Charles Reddington Conrad.

    In 1997, Rich declined the National Medal of Arts in protesting against the House of Representatives’ vote to end the National Endowment for the Arts as well as other policies of the Clinton Administration regarding the arts generally and literature in particular, stating that “I could not accept such an award from President Clinton or this White House because the very meaning of art, as I understand it, is incompatible with the cynical politics of this administration… [Art] means nothing if it simply decorates the dinner table of the power which holds it hostage”. Her next few volumes were a mix of poetry and essays: Midnight Salvage: Poems 1995–1998 (1999), The Art of the Possible: Essays and Conversations (2001), and Fox: Poems 1998–2000 (2001).

    In the early 2000s, Rich participated in anti-war activities, protesting against the threat of war in Iraq, both through readings of her poetry and other activities. In 2002, she was appointed a chancellor of the newly augmented board of the Academy of American Poets, along with Yusef Komunyakaa, Lucille Clifton, Jay Wright (who declined the honor, refusing to serve), Louise Gluck, Heather McHugh, Rosanna Warren, Charles Wright, Robert Creeley, and Michael Palmer. She was the winner of the 2003 Yale Bollingen Prize for American Poetry and applauded by the panel of judges for her “honesty at once ferocious, humane, her deep learning, and her continuous poetic exploration and awareness of multiple selves.” In October 2006, Equality Forum honored Rich’s work, featuring her as an icon of LGBT history.

    Rich died on March 27, 2012, at the age of 82 in her Santa Cruz, California home. Her son, Pablo Conrad, reported that her death resulted from long-term rheumatoid arthritis. Her last collection was published the year before her death. Rich was survived by her sons, two grandchildren and her partner Michelle Cliff.

    More information is available from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.



  • Hermana Imprescindible – Evelyn Ortega

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    Meet National Society of Leadership and Success
    Advisor and Advisory Leadership Program
    Grant Winner Evelyn Ortega

    Reposted from The Society Blog

    Evelyn Ortega

    Hermana Evelyn Ortega

     

    Can you tell us a little about yourself, your work at City College, and your role with the Society?
    I am a Dominican woman who was the first female in my family to attend college. I received my Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and minor in Business Administration from Boston University. I received my M.S.Ed from Kaplan University. While I was working on my Master’s I chose to do both my practicums at The City College of New York. They turned into a part-time position which then led me to take over as the Program Coordinator, to now being the Assistant Director for the Office of Student Life and Leadership Development. As the Assistant Director I oversee leadership development programs, diversity programming, community service, school spirit events, and Freshman Orientation, in a nutshell. I am the Chapter Advisor for the CCNY chapter of the National Society of Leadership and Success. Lastly, I am a proud Hermana of Alpha Rho Lambda Sorority, Inc./Alianza de Raíces Latinas.

    How did you become involved with the Society?
    I first learned about NSLS through the founder Gary [Tuerack], when I took some of my students to the National Conference on Student Leadership in Boston. I filled out a card to learn more, since my students who were present seemed interested in what was being said. I was able to…convince my Director at that time to proceed with trying out this program on our campus.

    What are your favorite and least favorite aspects of your work, both at the college and with the Society?
    I would say my favorite parts are when I am able to see students who have flourished thanks to their involvement with the NSLS, and least favorite when I see students not take advantage of the opportunities that can help them achieve their potential.

    How has the Society affected your work? Your students?
    The Society has given me a great opportunity to bring something I believe in and feel is beneficial to our students’ development. I have gotten many students involved that may have never chosen to be involved in campus at all. In turn, students have also gotten involved with other Student Life events and programs.

    What advice would you like to share with Society members?
    My advice to students who are Society members would be to take advantage of all the resources available to them, such as leadership positions on the Executive Board of their chapter, committee chair positions if available, and of course the scholarships and awards being offered by the Society, because you never know if you will get one unless you apply and apply again if needed.

    Who’s your favorite leader, past or present, real of fictional? Why?
    One of my favorite leaders is Rosa Parks, because she did not just do as she was told and give in. She stood up for her rights even if it meant prison time for her.

    What’s your favorite quote?
    “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine as children do. It’s not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own lights shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” —Marianne Williamson.

    Congratulations Hermana!



  • Revising Our Resolutions

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    Volunteer

    Every New Year starts with resolutions for our life, family and work. One thing that tends to fall off of our list is our commitment to community service. If this is the case for you, it might be time for you to revise your resolutions.

    As college students it tends to be easier to find time to get involved with many service projects because our schedule is usually our own to make. When work, children and spouses come into play, that schedule starts to belong to other people. However, with community service as one of our central tenets as Hermanas and as a sorority, it is important to find some way to include the contributions we all know are invaluable to the lives of others in the world around us. Here are a few ways you can revise your schedule and resolutions so you can still give back to the community.


    • Volunteer for a charity that hosts events annually, bi-annually or quarterly. These tend to be larger events that involve a whole day of service. Whether it’s a cancer walk, community cleanup or church fundraiser, the donation of your time will be worth its weight in gold.

    • Some nonprofits require support on a monthly basis. Record keeping, calling donors, or serving on a board can help trim an organization’s expenses, bring in more funding and provide access to intellectual resources that reflect a well-rounded community perspective.

    • Donating time on a weekly basis does require a larger time contribution, but in smaller chunks. If you volunteer to feed the elderly, you can do it once or twice a week on your days off for approximately four hours. You can become part of a big sister program, clean up an area on your local highway and can even make it a family affair. There’s no reason your family can’t become part of your commitment to give back to the community!

    • Giving of your time on a daily basis is often easier than you might think. Visiting a bedridden family member several times a week for dinner or conversation, helping an elderly neighbor by cutting their grass or weeding their garden when you tend to your own, or serving on your neighborhood watch committee may already be something you do, but forgot it was volunteering!

    • Add your signature to online petitions. It’s not time consuming, and can make a bigger impact than you might think – to raise awareness about an important social issue, call for legislative action or save a species!

    Remember, donating your time is always more fun when you do it with family and friends. Contact Hermanas to support you in your service activities and you’ll be able to take advantage of their network of service-oriented friends and family.

    If you don’t know where to look, you can do a Google search for local organizations whose missions focus on something important to you. The local United Way is a great resource because it is interconnected with multiple charities in your city. Lastly, you can always search on websites like VolunteerMatch.org or UnitedWeServe.gov to find specific activities and events going on in your area.

    Revise your resolutions to include the level of service you are able to contribute and you will be able to maintain your passionate dedication to the betterment of our community and to those who are disadvantaged or in need.



  • El Día De Los Reyes a.k.a. Three Kings Day

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    Three Kings Day

    Throughout Hispanic culture there are widely celebrated events, many which are steeped in the Christian faith. One of the most significant days we celebrate as Latinos is El Día De Los Reyes (Three Kings Day), also known as the Epiphany.  “El Día De Los Reyes is a Christian feast day that celebrates the revelation of God the Son as a human being in Jesus Christ. In Western Christianity, the feast commemorates principally (but not solely) the visit of the Magi to the Christ child, and thus Jesus’ physical manifestation to the Gentiles. Eastern Christians commemorate the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River, seen as his manifestation to the world as the Son of God.”

    Below are various ways Three Kings Day is celebrated by Latinos:

    Argentina

    In Argentina, the day is called “Día de los Reyes” (The Day of Kings), commemorating the arrival of the Magi to confirm Jesus as son of God. The night of January 5 into the morning of January 6 is known as “Noche de Reyes” (The Night of Kings) and children leave their shoes by the door, along with grass and water for the camels. In the morning of January 6, they get a present. On January 6, a “Rosca de Reyes” (a ring-shaped Epiphany cake) is eaten and all Christmas decorations are traditionally put away.

    Brazil

    In Brazil, the day is called “Dia dos Reis” (The Day of Kings), commemorating the arrival of the Magi to confirm Jesus as son of God. The night of January 5 into the morning of January 6 is known as “Night of Kings” (also called the Twelfth Night) and is feasted with music, sweets and regional dishes as the last night of Nativity, when Christmas decorations are traditionally put away.

    Guadeloupe

    Celebrations in Guadeloupe have a different feel from elsewhere in the world. Epiphany here does not mean the last day of Christmas celebrations, but rather the first day of Kannaval (Carnival), which lasts until the evening before Ash Wednesday. Carnival in turn ends with the grand brilé Vaval, the burning of Vaval, the king of the Kannaval, amidst the cries and wails of the crowd.

    Mexico

    The evening of January 5 marks the Twelfth Night of Christmas and is when the figurines of the three wise men are added to the nativity scene. Traditionally in Mexico, as with many other Latin American countries, Santa Claus doesn’t hold the cachet that he does in the United States. Rather, it is the three wise men who are the bearers of gifts, who leave presents in or near the shoes of small children. Mexican families also commemorate the date by eating Rosca de reyes. In modern Mexico however, and particularly in the larger cities and in the North, local traditions are now being observed and intertwined with the greater North American Santa Claus tradition, as well as with other holidays such as Halloween, due to Americanization via film and television, creating an economy of gifting tradition that spans from Christmas Day until January 6.

    Peru

    Peru shares Epiphany customs with Spain and the rest of Latin America. Peruvian national lore holds that Francisco Pizarro was the first to call Lima “Ciudad de los Reyes” (City of the Kings) because the date of the Epiphany coincided with the day he and his two companions searched for, and found, an ideal location for a new capital. Even more popular in Peru than gift giving is the custom of the Bajada de Reyes when parties are held in honor of the taking down of family and public nativity scenes, and carefully putting them away until the next Christmas.

    Portugal

    In Portugal, Epiphany, January 6, is called dia dos Reis (Day of the Kings), during which the traditional Bolo Rei (King cake) is baked and eaten. Plays and pageants are popular on this day, and parents often hold parties for their children. Epiphany is also a time when the traditional Portuguese dances known as Mouriscadas and Paulitos are performed. The latter is an elaborate stick dance. The dancers, who are usually men but may be dressed as women, manipulate sticks or staves (in imitation swords) in two opposing lines. It is a tradition too in Portugal for people to gather in small groups and to go from house to house to sing the Reis (meaning “Kings”) which are traditional songs about the life of Jesus. The singers also bring greetings to the owners of the house. After singing for a while outside, they are invited in, and the owners of the house offer them sweets, liqueurs, and other Epiphany delicacies. These Reis usually begin on Epiphany eve and last until January 20.

    Puerto Rico

    In Puerto Rico, Epiphany is an important festive holiday, and is commonly referred as Dia de Los Tres Reyes Magos, or Three Kings’ Day. It is traditional for children to fill a box with fresh grass or hay and put it underneath their bed, for the Wise Men’s camels. The three kings will then take the grass to feed the camels and will leave gifts under the bed as a reward. These traditions are analogous to the customs of children leaving mince pies and sherry out for Father Christmas in Western Europe or leaving milk and cookies for Santa Claus in the United States.

    Spain and Latin America

    In Spain and some Latin American countries, Epiphany day is called El Día de los Reyes (The Day of the Kings), i.e., the day when a group of Kings or Magi, as related in the second chapter of the Gospel of Matthew, arrived to worship and bring three gifts to the baby Jesus after following a star in the heavens. This day is sometimes known as the Día de los Tres Reyes Magos (The day of the Three Royal Magi) or La Pascua de los Negros (Holy Day of the Black men) in Chile, although the latter is rarely heard. In Spanish tradition on January 6, three of the Kings: Melchior, Gaspar, and Balthazar, representing Arabia, the Orient, and Africa, arrived on horse, camel and elephant, bringing respectively gold, frankincense and myrrh to the baby Jesus. Children (and many adults) polish and leave their shoes ready for the Kings’ presents before they go to bed on the eve of January 6. The next morning presents will appear under their shoes, or if the children are deemed to have misbehaved during the year, coal (usually a lump of hard sugar candy dyed black, called Carbón Dulce. Most towns in Spain arrange colorful parades representing the arrival of the Reyes Magos to town so children can see them in their camels or carriages before they go to bed. The oldest of this parades is held in Alcoy, Alicante – Alacant, Valencia, which has hosted an annual parade since 1885. Sweet wine, nibbles, fruit and milk are left for the Kings and their camels. In Spain, children typically receive presents on this day, rather than on Christmas, though this tradition has changed lately, and children now receive presents on both days. In Spain the Epiphany bread/cake is known as Roscón and in Mexico as Rosca de reyes.

    United States

    In Louisiana, Epiphany is the beginning of the Carnival season, during which it is customary to bake King Cakes, similar to the Rosca mentioned above. It is round in shape, filled with cinnamon, glazed white, and coated in traditional carnival color sanding sugar. The person who finds the doll (or bean) must provide the next king cake. The interval between Epiphany and Mardi Gras is sometimes known as “king cake season”, and many may be consumed during this period. The Carnival season begins on King’s Day (Epiphany), and there are many traditions associated with that day in Louisiana and along the Catholic coasts of Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida. King cakes are first sold then, Carnival krewes begin having their balls on that date, and the first New Orleans krewe parades in street cars that night.”

    The older we get and the more Americanized we all become, the greater the likelihood that we will begin to lose our traditions that aren’t widely celebrated by the masses. If we are to keep these kinds of celebrations alive, we must learn of them from our elders and bring our children into the fold, introducing them to important traditions of our Latino experience.

    Excerpts from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epiphany_(holiday)



  • Featured ImageInspire Your Girls

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    Anna Stork and Andrea Sreshta were graduate students at Columbia University’s School of Architecture in 2010 when a devastating earthquake struck Haiti. In one of their classes, they were assigned to develop a new innovation to help with disaster relief. Many students focused on designing shelters but, after speaking to a relief worker in Haiti, the two discovered that an often-ignored need following disasters was access to light. The pair focused on designing a solar-powered lantern and spent several years refining their design. Now their inflatable, waterproof, and solar-powered light — called the LuminAID Solar Light — is being distributed to those in need in several countries.

    Their unique lantern is designed to meet the needs of people in the aftermath of a disaster but many outdoor enthusiasts have also become fans of its innovative design (it even made National Geographic’s 2013 Gear of the Year list). After being charged in the sun for six hours, the LED light provides up to 16 hours of light — a feature that not only makes it more eco-friendly but essential in emergency situations when batteries are hard to find. Due to its inflatable design, it also provides diffuse light like a lantern so it can be used to illuminate a room or tent. Moreover, since disasters often involve water, Stork and Sreshta made it waterproof and able to float.

    They also made sure to add a sturdy handle to the light because, as Stork explains, “We heard that in the tent cities people really wanted something they could easily take to the latrine at night, so it was very handy to have a handle to carry it around.” And, because they can be packed flat, 50 LuminAID lights can be shipped in the same space needed for 8 conventional flashlights — an especially significant difference when humanitarian organizations are sending relief aid in large volumes.

    When the two young social entrepreneurs founded their company, LuminAID, they used a crowdsourced fundraising campaign to raise the capital needed for their first batch of 1,000 lights. They have since created a Give Light Project where, for each light purchased on their website, the buyer can donate a light to a project site. Over the past year, they have distributed more than 8,000 donated lights across projects in 15 countries and their current campaign supports NGO partners working in Haiti, Ghana, and India. As they grow, they hope to expand their reach by working with large, international aid organizations.

    One of their partners in Rwanda, a non-profit called Ubushobozi that teaches girls and young women vocational skills, recently distributed donated lights to their students. Almost none of the students have electricity in their homes and the program coordinator reports that the lights have had a huge impact on their lives. Not only are they able to study in the evening, many of the girls report feeling much safer at night.

    As the LuminAID has gone from class project to a real relief tool, Stork and Sreshta are more driven than ever to get it into the hands of those in need during disasters. As Sreshta explains, “conditions once the sun goes down can be very unsafe, especially for women and children. After the earthquake in Haiti, there were many cases of violence, kidnapping and rape. Light is a basic human need, but [conventional technology] costs too much to ship and pack as part of disaster relief.” Now, thanks to the work of these two creative innovators, more people will have access to the gift of light during the darkest of times.

    To learn more about Anna and Andrea’s invention and how to buy/donate your own LuminAID, visit their website. LuminAIDs can also be ordered via Amazon.

    For an excellent book to inspire your Mighty Girl about female innovators and inventors throughout history, check out “Girls Think of Everything: Stories of Ingenious Inventions by Women” for readers 8 to 13.

    For younger readers, we highly recommend “Rosie Revere, Engineer,” a wonderful picture book about a young Mighty Girl inventor for ages 4 to 9.

    For more ways to encourage your Mighty Girl’s interest in invention and engineering, check out the Mighty Careers blog post “I Want To Be An Engineer!” filled with recommendations for girl-empowering books, toys, and clothing.

    For many at-home project ideas to encourage your children’s interest in invention, we also recommend two newly released parenting books: “Tinkerlab: A Hands-On Guide for Little Inventors” and “Maker Dad: Lunch Box Guitars, Antigravity Jars, and 22 Other Incredibly Cool Father-Daughter DIY Projects.”

    A Mighty Girl also has a section of stories that feature poverty and hardship as a significant theme. Such stories provide opportunities for parents to discuss these topics with their children while also helping to foster children’s empathy for people living in difficult circumstances.

    Poverty / Hardship – Social Issues – Books

    A Mighty Girl is the world’s largest collection of books and movies for parents, teachers, and others dedicated to raising smart, confident, and courageous girls.

    View on amightygirl.com.