I love how social media quickly and conveniently connects people all around the world. But what I love most is that it always seems to connect me with the right people, at the the right time, who all share one incredible goal -- to make the world a better place. No matter what your passion may be, you're guaranteed to find someone online who cares about your cause as much as you do.
When I launched my book, Live High on Life, I used every online platform imaginable to promote it and connect with other authors and social entrepreneurs. I've been lucky enough to meet some of the most incredible people thanks to social media. One of those friends and mentors is Tammy Tibbetts, the founder of She's the First, a non-profit organization that sponsors girls' education in developing nations so they can be the first in their families to graduate.
When Tammy tweeted me for the first time to congratulate me on the launch of my book, I had no idea at the time that her organization, and the entire She's the First family, would soon become one of the most rewarding parts of my life.
I like to think of Tammy's tweet as the tweet that changed my life.
That's right, a short message less than 140 characters is what sparked a passion inside of me which is now spreading like wildfire -- a passion for global education equality.
Tammy's tweet was the beginning of a friendship which launched my involvement with She's the First and inspired me to start a campus chapter at the University of North Carolina-Asheville. Primarily through bake sales, we've provided tuition for girls in Nepal, Uganda and Tanzania. In addition to sponsoring girls' education, we educate our community -- through various events and social media -- about issues surrounding girls' education, gender inequality and women's rights.
When my May 2013 college graduation crept closer, I started to worry about how I would be able to leave She's the First behind, since it had become such an important part of my life.
That was when my idea for GOAL Getters was born. GOAL Getters (Global Opportunities, Awareness, and Leadership) is an educational program that teaches young people about global citizenship and social responsibility.
My idea for GOAL Getters came from a deeply rooted desire to provide kids with volunteer and service opportunities. She's the First was blossoming at high school and college chapters across the nation but was not as active at the elementary school level. As an Elementary Education major, I wanted to bring service learning opportunities to children through She's the First. I implemented GOAL Getters while student teaching in a second grade class. My students learned about global citizenship while fundraising to sponsor nearly two years of school for a girl their same age, attending Kopila Valley School in Nepal.
The success of GOAL Getters has given me so much hope for our world. Trust me, our future is in great hands.
The day after I introduced GOAL Getters, one of my students brought in an envelope filled with 46 cents from his piggy bank. Although 46 cents may not seem like a lot, it illustrates something beautiful -- a child's genuine desire to help another child.
"I can't imagine if there weren't girls in our school. Every girl should be able to go to school. Every kid in the whole world should be able to go school!"
Those are the simple yet powerful words of a seven-year-old who -- because of GOAL Getters -- realized the value of children's education and found the desire to make a difference. Kids are more compassionate, creative and determined than you could ever imagine. That's why the motto of GOAL Getters is, "You're never too young to change the world!"
My intention is that GOAL Getters will empower more educators to integrate global citizenship education into their core content -- especially because there is limited time allotted for social studies in the classroom -- so that our children will graduate with the courage and desire to change the world.
Thanks to Twitter, I discovered my She's the First family. I was named the 2013 She's the First Campus Chapter President of the Year, caught Chelsea Clinton's attention and presented GOAL Getters at Clinton Global Initiative University this past April and even had the opportunity to attend Malala Day at the United Nations as a She's the First representative. If I hadn't connected with Tammy on Twitter, would I have had these incredible experiences and opportunities to make a difference?
One tweet changed my life. Spend quality time on Twitter; find people who share your passion, and you'll likely find a life-changing tweet of your own.