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GirlSpring.com

  • GirlSpring.com, Shero, Sheroes, TRENDING, Video

    Taking SherOCTOBER Nominations Through September 28!

    GirlSpring is seeking extraordinary girls (13-18) to be featured in our Sheroctober video series! 31 videos of sheroes will be selected and displayed on our website and social media throughout the month of October. This is your chance to shine! Build up your digital portfolio and let others know what you are doing that is special! All participants will be part of a compilation video celebrating girls in Birmingham!

    A shero is someone extraordinary and is in general making the world a better place! This could be someone who has started a community initiative, shown academic achievement, overcome adversity, is enhancing the wellbeing of others or using their artistic talents to be a positive change agent in this world. The possibilities are endless!

    Shero Criteria:

    • Girls ages 13-18 years old
    • Nomination from a non-relative
    • Access to an electronic device with video and audio features
    • A standout reason for her sheroism

    How to Submit:

    • Create a 1-minute video clip acknowledging that you (can be more than one person) has been recognized as a shero, addressing what you do that makes you a shero, and explain why we need sheroes in the world.
    • Videos should be interview-style, but feel free to be creative with background music and any other artistic and fun elements! MAKE IT FUN!
    • If using a cell phone, please turn horizontally when filming.
    • Upload videos to youtube, vimeo, or dropbox and include public link on the application form.
    • In addition to the Shero video, all submissions must include a second, separate video clip with the following phrase “My name is __________. I am a shero. We are Birmingham.”
    • Submit a nomination form and link to videos by September 28th to be considered.

    Nominees will be notified by October 1st if their video is going to be featured.

    Questions? Email kristen@girlspring.com

    Sheroctober Nominee Form

  • Body Image, College, GirlSpring.com, School

    Three Rules for the New School Year

    Three Rules for the New School Year

    guest post by Martha Underwood, CEO of Executive Estrogen

    This year, how will you navigate making new friends, encountering new teachers, growing physically and emotionally all while staying cool. It can seem overwhelming but it doesn’t have to be. You are unique and beautiful in your own right. Here are a few tips to navigating the school year.

    Get a Mentor & Meet a New Friend

    Approach new teachers and new people with the intention to learn about them and yourself. Find a good teacher that can serve as a mentor to you. Also, you may be able to use them as a confidant or tutor should you need one. Be open to meeting a new friend and seek out friends that may differ from you, doing so will help expand your perspective of people and  in the end you may find that you are more alike than you may have thought.

     

    Embrace Physical Change and Growth

    Your body and emotions will change. It’s natural. I was so skinny, I used to get teased that I walked on stilts. Instead of staying indoors looking at all the photoshopped bodies in magazines, I made it a point to ride my bike and enjoy the outdoors. Being outside reminded me that everything is always evolving and my body and emotions weren’t any different. So instead of staring at Instagram all day,  go for a walk.  Enjoy the outdoors, it offers the opportunity to immerse yourself in a new environment which will help balance all of the physical and emotional ups and downs you will experience.

     

    Be You

     

    Most importantly, be you! Even if you feel like you look silly doing the floss, do it anyway. Even if you feel like people will pick at you because you still love Harry Potter, love it anyway. Someone will always have an opinion about how you look, what you say or how you dress, in the end the only thing that matters the most is how you feel about it. Take note of how you feel when you are experiencing new people and new things. If it makes you happy, keep doing them, if it makes you uncomfortable or sad, remove it from your life.

    Here’s to an awesome 2018-2019 school year!

    Keep Shining,

    Martha

  • Body Image, Celebrities, Confidence, Fashion, GirlSpring.com, Makeup

    How To GLOW UP This Summer

    So, it’s finally the summer. You’re looking forward to laying out in the sun, hanging with your besties, and taking some time to yourself. But the summer is good for something else too, and we all know what it is…. glowing up. No, I don’t mean playing with glow sticks. I mean glow up. Urban Dictionary defines glow up as “when someone becomes really attractive after they hit puberty.” Now maybe you’re thinking to yourself “I’m past puberty! I missed my glow up time!” No need to fret, my friend! It is NEVER too late to glow up. And the summer is the perfect time! You have a couple months off from seeing everyone at school, so you can come back looking completely different. Without further ado, I present to you, how to glo up this summer.

    Visit a hairstylist

    Visiting a hairstylist is one of the easiest (and most fun!) ways to change your whole look in a single day. A new haircut can completely change your appearance and face shape, so a good hairstyle is a must. It’s important to visit a hairstylist so that you can ask a professionals opinion on what hair color and cut will look best with your look! Make sure if you set an appointment to bring photos of the hair you want, so your stylist will know exactly what you’re going for.

    Experiment with make up

    If you’re a girl and you’ve never experimented with make up before, it can really change your appearance! One of the best ways to get exposure to make up and how to learn some tips is by the magical and wonderful world of no other than Youtube. You can simply search “Make up tutorial” on Youtube, and millions of videos will pop up. The good news with the summer is that you have plenty of time to practice and perfect your look! That way, if a makeup tutorial goes wrong, you can just wash it right off and nobody even saw! And if you decide you don’t like wearing make up, then it makes your life even easier!

    Get healthy

    Something good for your body, skin, and mental health is deciding to get healthy! Getting healthy can be as easy as deciding to work out a few days a week, or limiting the amount of junk food you eat. The healthier you become, the better you will feel! Plus being healthy helps you live your best life, so this one should be near the top of your list.

    Take care of your body

    Whether it be through skin care, working out or taking time to yourself, taking care of your own body can make a huge difference. From treating yourself to a mani pedi, finding a toothpaste that whitens your teeth, or even finding the perfect shade of self-tanner, taking care of your body has a huge impact on the way you look. This means going to the doctor, dentist, dermatologist- you name it! Your body is all you’ve got- so treat it with some respect!

    Become confident with who you are

    If you have any sort of transformation this summer before coming back to school, let it be this- learn to be confident in your own skin! You don’t have to look any specific way to “glo up” because glowing up should be the way you feel about yourself. If you learn to love the reflection in the mirror, it will translate into the way other people see you!

  • Articles, GirlSpring.com, Tips

    8 Things to do This Summer when You’re Bored!

     

    stock-photo-girl-bored-watching-boring-movie-in-bed-funny-image-of-woman-lying-down-in-bed-on-white-background-58682185

    I know you’ve been looking forward to it alllll year long, but now that it’s here you don’t know what to do!  Regardless if you’re taking classes, working, or staying busy- summer definitely allows more free time than the rest of the year. If you’re struggling on what to do this summer and find yourself bored one day, try one of these simple yet fun activities!

    1. Get some exercise! Whether it be walking through your neighborhood, buying a gym membership, or finding a new trail to run on, exercise can be a good hobby to pick up over the summertime. You’d be amazed how much better you feel about yourself if you just start walking around your neighborhood a couple of times a week. Plus having quiet time yourself is a must over the summer!
    2. Read a new book! Or an old book. Or a book you’ve already read 5 times! Even if you have summer reading assignments, getting on top of them early in the summer will make the rest of your summer less stressful! Go to a bookstore and find one that speaks to you and dive into it!
    3. Write in a journal. Sure, it seems old-fashioned, but writing your thoughts down can be extremely helpful and therapeutic to some people! Plus, this way you can go back in a couple of months (or a couple of years!) and read the exact way you were feeling, in your own words. Pretty cool!
    4. Make goals for the upcoming school year! Whether it be doing more homework, studying more, finding new friends, or whatever you want, try to write out some goals you have for the upcoming school year! This way, once summer ends, you will be right on track for the beginning of the new school year.
    5. Explore your city! This can be an adventure you can take with your parents, siblings, or friends! Try and visit somewhere (even if it’s just to eat) that you’ve never been to before! You never know what you might find!
    6. Find a new hobby! Try and find an activity this summer that you really enjoy doing! It could be collecting items, scrapbooking, or even a new sport! You have time to work on it all summer, and then if it is a hobby you can bring into your school life, you’ll be prepared once school rolls around! If it is a sport, buy some practice equipment and get the best you can during the summer months so that you’ll do great in school tryouts!
    7. Try a new recipe! This one can be a little bit more tricky than the others, but still fun! Get on pinterest and see if you can find any cool recipes that stick out to you. Then, go with your mom to the grocery store and let her help you find the needed ingredients! Come back home and try to make a new recipe! Just remember, even if you mess up, it’ll be a memory!
    8. And last but not least… Nothing! If you can’t find anything to do this summer and find yourself bored, just try to soak it all in! For the rest of the year you’ll have school and holidays and you’ll be non-stop busy! Giving yourself time to relax, even when you’re bored, can be a good thing. Just think once school starts how much you’ll wish you were bored!
  • Animals, GirlSpring.com, TRENDING

    Passion in Action: My Birmingham Zoo Volunteer Experience by Marie Harris

    Recently I had the privilege of attending the Young Women’s Empowerment Conference, a day long event whose name speaks for itself. The day was full of influential women and unifying activities, and around noon, attendees broke out for a “booth” session, where organizations throughout the community discussed their work and how we as young women could contribute to their causes. One booth present this year was the Birmingham Zoo, and I excitedly joined Kirsten Smith, the zoo’s Volunteer Coordinator and one of my personal inspirations, to distribute information (and origami elephants) on the myriad avenues of service the zoo offers. Kirsten wanted me to give a “volunteer’s perspective” on why someone should consider volunteering at the zoo, but as I stood there, I realized just how hard it was to fully recount how invaluable volunteering with the zoo has been for me.

    In my personal experience, I have been trained for pachyderm area, Giraffe Feeding Station, ReptileCrew, and interacting with visitors on the Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) spectrum. I’ve listened to lectures from UAB professors, joined meetings with the Alabama Paleontological Society, and supervised volunteers for zoo special events. I’ve made lifelong friends from schools I didn’t even know existed, gained countless mentors, and spilled entire trays of baked beans during Teacher Night. A science project I conducted in the zoo’s butterfly garden placed first at the Alabama Junior Academy of Science and later received honorable mention at the National Junior Science and Humanities Symposium. I was even honored with the Community Service Award at YWEC 2016 through recommendation from the zoo’s Volunteer Manager Alonia Diaz.
    And, I must admit, all of that sounds super cool! I would be lying, however, if I said that these were the greatest things I’ve gained from volunteering at the zoo. Truthfully, the greatest impact the zoo has made on me is that it has granted me an unparalleled sense of self confidence. It is for that reason that I strongly encourage young people like you (yes, you!) to apply to volunteer at the Birmingham Zoo.

    When I first applied to volunteer, I was an awkward and generally unsociable sophomore in high school. In retrospect, I had no idea what I anticipated for that summer, other than it was something new to try. My first assignment was CampCrew, where I assisted with the children in the zoo’s summer camps. From that, my next assignment was biofacts, which are mini-presentations where you utilize given artifacts (essentially conversation starters) relating to a selected animal to “interpret” to visitors passing through the exhibit. This latter task proved very challenging, as engaging with others was not my forte. In all situations, however, I intentionally forced myself to persevere, and soon engaging and speaking with others felt very natural for me. To this day, you can’t get me to shut up!

    At the end of the summer, Alonia planned a Volunteer Appreciation Party for all of the teen volunteers. It was at this party, which I of course arrived late to, that I was presented with a certificate signifying my promotion to Zoofari Teen. Zoofari Teen is the highest promotion a teen volunteer can receive and typically takes three years to achieve. I was thus beyond shocked and even more so honored that I was able to reach this level with only a summer’s worth of experience. Knowing that the staff at the zoo had so much faith in my competency as to allow me to receive this promotion granted me so much confidence, and since then, I have channelled this confidence in everything I do, enabling me to embark on ventures I would have never imagined myself attempting. I am therefore forever grateful for the opportunity to volunteer at the Birmingham Zoo, and I wholeheartedly advocate for others to apply as a volunteer so they too can experience the empowerment which I have hereby encountered.
    Though there are many reasons you should consider volunteering here, from service hours to free zoo admission, the Birmingham Zoo is incredible because of the people that comprise it. By volunteering at the zoo, you will get the opportunity to join a family of people who maintain a common passion and appreciation for the natural world and who share a mutual commitment to inspiring and investing this love in others. So break out of your shell, and apply to be a volunteer at the Birmingham Zoo today!

    Applications for the Birmingham Zoo’s Teen Volunteer program are due April 8, 2017 and can be accessed at www.birminghamzoo.com. For more information regarding the volunteer programs at the Birmingham Zoo, contact Alonia Diaz at volunteers@birminghamzoo.com.

  • Articles, GirlSpring.com, School

    Emmy Kilgore: MVP

    We’re here today with Emmy Kilgore, who is here to talk about her impressive volleyball career! She just won a big award for her school!

    Hi Emmy, thanks for talking with us today! We’ll start with the basics, but then we want to hear all about your award!

    What grade are you in and what school do you go to?

    I’m in the 12th grade and I go to Mountain Brook High School.

    I heard that you have been named MVP for volleyball for the state, is that right?

    Yes, I was named Most Valuable Player for the 7A State Volleyball tournament.

    That’s awesome! What exactly does that title mean?

    Once we make it to the elite 8, we must play and win 3 games to make it. When we win those three games we get named State Champions for 7A division, then they pick a player who had been “the most valuable player” for the whole tournament. At the tournament, after we won, I was named MVP for the 7A division.

    Was this a goal of yours?

    It never came to mind about receiving this award and I never pictured myself winning it because it is a team sport. I didn’t think about it at first, but I knew that I would be up for it if my team won, which was my ultimate goal. The MVP award wasn’t my main goal. My main goal was winning as a team, and the MVP award just happened to be a part of that.

    Did you have to work hard to get to this point?

    Yes, I’ve played volleyball since I was in 6th grade and I’ve had to put in a lot of hard work and time. I don’t think people realize how much time we put in, we have to practice every day, except Saturdays, from 2:45 pm to 5:45 pm. We also have traveling games and tournaments that take up a lot of our time.

    When you started playing in 6th grade, had you done other sports and end up falling in love with volleyball?

    I started playing sports in kindergarten, all kinds of sports, and volleyball is a sport that you start playing later. Once I started playing volleyball, I dropped basketball and softball and I focused on volleyball.

    How do you balance your sports schedule with your academic workload?

    It has been tough. In practice, we always talk about how we are going to use volleyball as an outlet for school because maybe we had a bad day, but we must be at practice, so we should use it as something to focus on other than school, something to take our minds off what happened that day. It helps me because I don’t have to just go home and sit there with all this free time, I know that I only have two hours before my next practice to get my homework done, and I’m much more diligent when I have stuff to do.

    How have team sports benefitted you?

    It has benefitted me in so many ways. Our team is not just an ordinary team; we are all best friends and it’s created relationships for a lifetime and I would have never met some of these girls without volleyball. Even though we may not have been a friend group outside of volleyball, volleyball has brought us together. Volleyball has also made me become a team player, learn how to face adversity, and learn how to be calm. We’ve had to deal with situations like teams wanting to beat us, bad refs, and everyone wanting us to lose, but we’ve learned how to handle them. Obviously, there will be teams that you’re just not going to mesh with and there will be different personalities that you should learn to get along with on the court and you must learn how to make a team work because it’s all about chemistry.

    What advice do you have for girls who don’t know what sport to sign up for, or that aren’t naturally drawn to sports?

    I would say that it is awesome to be involved in a sport and it gives you friendship for a lifetime, you learn how to deal with different people, it keeps you in shape, and it teaches you to work for a goal. I think that everyone should sign up for a sport and they shouldn’t be worried about making it because if I hadn’t decided on playing volleyball, my life would be way different than it is today.

    What is next for you?

    I considered playing college volleyball, but I’ve gotten hurt in the past seasons, so my body hasn’t been able to take it anymore since I’ve been going so competitively. I have decided that I want to go to the University of Alabama and focus on school and my career.

    Thanks Emmy! It sounds like your sports career has led to a lot of success in your life. I wouldn’t be surprised if you’ve inspired some young girls already. We wish you the best of luck in college!

  • Articles, GirlSpring.com, TRENDING

    GirlSpring: Empower a Girl…Change the World

    GirlSpring, an online company based in Birmingham, is most definitely making an impact on women in Birmingham and beyond. Started for the purpose of empowering women, the organization allows girls to publish their works to the GirlSpring website created in May 2016. This work, whether it be an article, a piece of art or a poem, may influence other young women and inspire them to reach their full potential.

    Senior Jane Perry Starling, a writer for GirlSpring, said, “I believe all women should feel that they have the power to do anything they set their minds to, and I hope my articles spark a sense of self-worth in these young women like myself.”

    The company also provides girls ages 13 to 18 the opportunity to get more involved in the community through a group called Springboarders. Young women in Springboarders format the content on the GirlSpring website, organize programs, volunteer and publish their own work. As of right now, Starling is the only Springboarder from Mountain Brook of the 16 girls in total.

    Starling explained her experience as a Springboarder and active contributor for GirlSpring. “I love being a part of Springboarders. One thing we are doing right now is a team for the Race for the Cure on October 15th, so we definitely focus on reaching out to the Birmingham community.”

    “I am so happy I got involved in GirlSpring and Springboarders this year. I love to write, and I want to inspire other girls through my personal experiences and what I have taken from them,” added Starling.

    Girls can write articles and submit other works about a wide range of topics. For example, there is even a poem about grass published on the website. Starling has written articles about body image, human trafficking and her experience at Sawyerville Day Camp, a camp that provides children in Hale County the opportunity to pray, play and learn. GirlSpring truly allows young women to express their thoughts, opinions and personal experiences.

    Executive Director Kristen Greenwood mentioned some of the work seen on the website. “We address issues like bullying, drug and alcohol abuse, peer pressure, stress, anxiety, depression, eating disorders and other things young girls deal with, especially in their high school years. However, often, the girls that are writing and contributing to the website might not be directly addressing those things. I’ve had girls write about tips on starting the school year or how to prevent acne. They can write about almost anything.”

    To get any work published on GirlSpring, simply contact Greenwood, and she will approve the article before it is published. To be a part of the Springboarders group, you must be a girl committed to the organization between the ages 13 to 18. If you meet these requirements and are interested in becoming a Springboarder, there is an application to fill out and submit online at www.girlspring.com.

    Greenwood highly encourages any girls interested to publish their work or apply to be a member of Springboarders. “GirlSpring is empowering girls not only in our community but also outside of it. We are working on extending into Nashville and possibly even further in the future. Anyone can get involved and make their mark.”