These ten young women will be recognized at the 2012 Awards Dinner on April 10 at Maggiano's Little Italy. The IGNITE Change Contest encourages teen girls in challenges communities to find their voice and make a call for change through writing. Developed in 2010 by Boston GLOW, IGNITE Change, judged by a panel of published female authors, seeks to award finalists with educational funding and support, including pairing each girl with a writing mentor to personally help her in the process of realizing the power of her own voice.
"Each of these young women have something very important to say, but aren't always given the opportunity to be heard," said Leah Moschella, Founder of Boston GLOW. "Our mission is to path a path for these girls, through which their voices will be heard, and their future goals will be realized. It is incredibly inspirational to read their words, but when we meet them in person we tangibly see and feel the power and energy of determined women."
Meet the finalists:
Kheyla Thaimar Orival, Somerville, MA
Who are two females who inspire you? I would have to say Maya Angelou and Michelle Obama.
What are your career goals? To become a Pediatrician in a hospital because I like to work with children. I hope to pursue my dreams of becoming a pediatrician and also if I am eligible, play Tennis or Volleyball for which ever University I attend.
An excerpt from Kheyla's winning essay: “If every female in the world could see that just by changing the way they think every day or the way they feel every day into something positive, they can create many wonders. For example, when writing this essay I had no doubt in my mind that I was actually going to accomplish anything. Even if this program doesn’t progress the way I wanted it to, I would at least know that I had this thought to change my community by something that I go through and that other females go through like me.”
Jasmine R. Taylor, Dorchester – Lower Mills, MA
Who are two females who inspire you? Iris Jacob – She is the author of My Sisters’ Voices. Her book, a compilation of essays and poe
ms by girls of color on a variety subjects, inspires me to write stories where girls of color take center stage. Judy Blume – Like her, I want to write stories that explore the challenges young people face with sympathy, humor, and respect.
What are your career goals? Psychologist – Because psychology fascinates me. Novelist – So I can share my stories with the world.
An excerpt from Jasmine's winning essay: “When we see girls and women of color saving lives, solving problems, or even having normal lives while they work towards their own goals on a daily basis, it creates and reinforces the voice in a girl of color’s head that says, ‘I can do anything! I can make a difference too!’…I want all girls, especially, girls of color, to have easy access to media that gives them constructive message."
Fatima Khan, Somerville, MA
Who are two females who inspire you? My Mom, and Michelle Obama
What are your career goals? Biochemist, Doctor, or a Software engineer at Apple
An excerpt from Fatima's winning essay: “It is not wrong to have different interests, or to look different from other people…It is crucial to see the damaging effects that emotional bullying can have on an individual and the importance of changing this stereotypical nonsense and putting an end to emotional bullying.”
Giselle Maria Bonilla, Hyde Park, MA
Who are two females who inspire you? My mom Maria and my older sister Katherine. They are two of the strongest, caring and loving women in my life.
What are your career goals? My career goals are to major either in psychology or philosophy. In the future I would like to work with teenage girls or start my own organization focusing on Domestic Violence largely and other topics that affects teenage girls.
An excerpt from Giselle's winning essay: “I was one of those teenage girls in Dorchester that didn’t understand my value nor what I deserved. I want to help young women realize their worth and build their self-esteem... I want to let teenage girls know that there is no such thing as love behind violence. Love should feel safe, warm and good.”
Catherine Nakato, Somerville, MA
Who are two females who inspire you? My mentor, my mom and Alicia Keys.
What are your career goals? Lawyer or Doctor/ Surgeon.
An excerpt from Catherine's winning essay:“When I walk in my neighborhood, I see a lot of unhealthy choices like drug addicts, alcoholics, drug dealers, and more. But the one thing that sickens me is the pattern of unacceptable behavior that is trickling down upon our youth, girls and boys my age, 16, and younger having unprotected sex, getting STDs and STIs, getting pregnant, getting drunk and high and being proud of it.”
Zacorah Kamaria Jackman, Dorchester, MA
Who are two females who inspire you? Lorraine Hansberry and Assat Shakur.
What are your career goals? Some of my future career goal choices are journalist, teacher, city councilor, and entrepreneur in non-profit business.
An excerpt from Zacorah's winning essay: “I believe that if we organize ourselves, we can equip young females to facilitate change in an infinitely progressing fashion…We will not only be able to ignite change, but transcend change ultimately creating a new nrom. Since women are the first teachers, these values will be taught to the generations who may come to follow the young girls.”
Lin-Feng Collins, East Somerville, MA
Who are two females who inspire you? Anne Frank and Rosa Parks.
What are your career goals? My career goal is anything as long as I am able to fully enjoy it and put forth my best effort in it so that I can use my knowledge and abilities to give back to the world.
An excerpt from Lin-Feng's winning essay: “This world is full of opportunities and things to be changes. All a girl needs to be a hero and a leader is to have a dream, be strong, and be determined. Girls are so important because they change the world. Without us, the planet we live on right now would not be so creative, so magical, or so wonderful. Girls are powerful.”
Crystal Walker, Dorchester, MA
Who are two females who inspire you? Cynthia Creary (my mother) and Kiku Adatto.
What are your career goals? My career goal is to work in the medical field and I would like to have a job as a teacher educator on health and cancer treatment or be a physician.
An excerpt from Crystal's winning essay: "Dignity made us realize that even if our parents were struggling or immigrants, college was not just a dream but a reality; because if people believed in us and we believed in ourselves, we can find a way….There is dignity in strong voices. As my mama’s daughter I believe change begins with dignity.”
Franchesca Viaud, Dorchester, MA
Who are two females who inspire you? My mother and JK Rowling.
What are your career goals? I'm interested in jobs that allow me to be creative and use my imagination. Not jobs that force me to sit behind a desk or anything else completely boring. My crazy dream jobs range from being a writer, movie producer/director to an international diplomat.
An excerpt from Franchesca's winning essay: “I know that my mother is a shark, a realist and a survivor, the kind of woman you write about, but she’s also human, which I think is the hardest fact for any child to accept about their mother. And while she may bleed, hurt, cry and not be eight feet tall at all, she’s a warrior in her own right. And that is why, above all other reasons, I want to ignite change."
Nasteho Ali, Roxbury, MA
Who are two females who inspire you? My mom and Oprah.
What are your career goals? I would like to be a physiatrist or something involving human resources.
An excerpt from Nasteho's winning essay: “Self-esteem is all a matter of how you feel about yourself not enveloped in makeup and accepting all your flaws that you were born with. I believe in order to achieve this acceptance we need to teach young women that revealing yourself is not the way….Hopefully, young women will be able to recognize that everyone has flaws and the beauty is finding out how to live with them.”