FIRST THOUGHT: Where Children Sleep
Nearly a decade ago, a wonderful photographer shared an eye-opening project called Where Children Sleep. I’ve never forgotten the dozens of images that show the disparity of what kids around the globe call bed. The intention was to elicit more empathy in kids, but even as a grown woman, I find it’s a much-needed reminder that everyone’s experiences are unique. From one Kentucky toddler with dozens of pageant ribbons on display in her princess-like bedroom to a young Nepalese girl who lives in a one-room house near the granite quarry where she works, girls experience life differently but absolutely share the right to be heard and have their stories told.
WOMEN IN NUMBERS: 5
From the moment we’re born, our definition of the world expands from our mama’s arms to our neighborhood to our city and so on. Through travel, we can gain a better understanding of the breadth of the universe. Not only is travel educational, but according to experts, there are five proven benefits of traveling abroad. Travel improves your health and relieves stress. It also boosts your creativity, as well as lowers the risk of depression and enhances overall happiness and satisfaction. So, what are you waiting for? Pack your bags!
WOMAN TO WATCH: Martice Sutton, Founder of Girls Going Global
Today’s Woman to Watch, Martice Sutton, knows the many benefits that can be gained by globetrotting, and she’s sharing her passion for all things international with the next generation of American girls, inspiring them to lead, serve and make their mark on the world. Martice is the founder of Girls Going Global, a fantastic nonprofit that takes teenage girls on voyages around the world, immersing them in different country’s cultures through adventures, service and learning experiences.
The spark for this thrilling venture started in India. Martice was working to address issues of inequality in the country through a girls’ organization when she recognized that the United States faced similar issues, particularly with young African-American girls. Through Girls Going Global, Martice urges girls to get their passport stamped and seek education through cultural exchange.
Girls Going Global’s premier program, International Travel Camps, immerses teen girls in a global-education program that combines service learning and adventures. But best yet, it creates transformational experiences by exposing girls to new cultures and locales like Belize, Costa Rica, Peru and Canada.
Of course, Martice knows it’s not just international travel that can open your soul and mind. That’s why Girls Going Global also offers local field trips, interactive workshops and training to develop civic engagement, all before girls graduate high school. And the nonprofit is definitely making a positive impact, with 99 percent of Girls Going Global participants heading to college to continue learning and serving their communities.
Martice finds that not only do girls get something wonderful out of these travel experiences, but the host countries also get exposure to a sect of the American population they may not be used to seeing. According to the female founder, many from other countries assume she’s from Africa because of her skin color, and are often shocked to find out she’s American, given, she says, that many foreigners aren’t used to seeing African-American women travel internationally. But that’s something Martice is working to change through Girls Going Global, and she’s doing it all without a full-time staff and a solely volunteer-run organization.
Thanks, Martice, for empowering girls of color through travel and cultural exchange to become the next creators and leaders of the world. Happy and safe travels!
QUITE THE QUOTE
Grab your camera and travel pillow, set your feet on some new terrain and gain a little fresh insight. As French novelist Marcel Proust said:
“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”
This is Melinda Garvey signing off until next time. Remember, ladies, empowered women empower other women. Share On the Dot so more women can have a voice. Thanks for getting ready with us.