Meghan Reale was published in The Sarnia Journal on August 22nd, 2018 for her opinion piece “Because I’m a Girl.”
The shorter version of this story can be found at The Sarnia Journal here.
On the morning of July 28th, my daughter Evelyn and I set out for a special garage sale I had been invited to in London. This event was organized by the remarkable group of young and diverse ladies, who call themselves the ‘Girls Giving Back’. Raveena Duggal (11), Diya Duggal (8), Amelia Glazier (11) and Aliya Dennis (12) have been fundraising for charities since November 2016. It stemmed from the groups desire to help girls who didn’t have all the amenities they have. Wanting to empower young girls like themselves, these ‘Girls Giving Back’ organized a number of fundraisers in order to contribute to the “Because I Am a Girl” initiative of Plan International Canada. Through this organization, their donations have gone to providing food, clean water, health care and education to help empower young girls. They’ve also started to give back locally, organized fundraisers benefitting the Women’s Interval Home of Sarnia-Lambton and Canadian Cancer Society of Lambton.
Through planning their many fundraising drives, the girls have learned a number of business skills. For example, the girls have to make presentations at their schools to request permission to run fundraisers, worked to promote their events and manage the money they’ve raised. Their early events included a ‘Launch’ sale where they sold baked goods, popcorn, surprise bags and some of their own toys; and a movie night at the school and making and producing some homemade beauty products. These events led to more fundraising sales. In total, the group has raised $4,000 which multiplied to $19,000 through a donation matching program for the “Because I’m a Girl” initiative. They have been recognized by our MP Marilyn Gladu and were named on the Mayor’s Honour List by Mayor Bradley. Needless to say, I was impressed and eager to see these girls in action.
At our arrival to sale, a green folder indicated that we had just missed seeing the girls receive their latest recognition; a letter awarded to them from the House of Commons which was delivered in person by Peter Fragiskatos, MP for London North Center. Despite their latest acclaim, these girls couldn’t have been more grounded, welcoming us and eagerly showing me the posters and pictures outlining the achievements of the ‘Because I’m a Girl’ initiative. In addition to selling their childhood toys (many of which have generously made their way into Evelyn’s collection), the girls were selling products from their own small businesses started to further their fundraising efforts. Entrepreneurs Raveena and Diya have started Princess Boutique Designs featuring handmade beauty products. I highly recommend them all! Entrepreneur Aliya decided to use her artistic eye to start ‘Snap Photography’, selling her perspective of Sarnia’s local natural treasures. I have purchased a couple of her floral images, which I have posted in Evelyn’s room. Not only are they beautiful, they remind me of the great young leaders and role models we have in our community for all our daughters to look up to and be inspired by.
Most recently, I had the privilege of being invited to the Duggal residence to look on as these ‘Girls Giving Back’ presented a check for more than $700 to Paula McKinley, Head of the Canadian Cancer Society of Lambton for the Cuts for Cancer event spearheaded by Aliya. These funds are in addition to the 15 braids of hair collected and donated at the event, enough to produce 2 wigs to be donated to local cancer patients. Just like at the garage sale, these girls were so level headed and humble, more interested in playing with Evelyn and bringing her toys she would enjoy. These girls are truly remarkable, inspiring and makes me very optimistic about the future of our community.