Today we’d like to introduce you to Olivia Jaffe-Pachuilo.
Olivia, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
As someone who is passionate about combating gender inequity and all the myriad connected social issues, my work with youth and marginalized populations was a bit of a slow build. After being a part of feminist organizations in college, I decided to get my Master’s Degree in Women’s Studies at SDSU instead of doing a double major. That way, I could still finish early and pursue coursework that interested me. As I looked for volunteer opportunities to see what interested me most, a friend recommended the organization Girls Inc. I ended up doing a year of AmeriCorps service with Girls Inc. after volunteering, in addition to volunteering with another awesome organization called CCEJ (California Conference for Equality and Justice). Working with youth seemed like the obvious and most exciting way to tackle major social issues — so when the opportunity to work at Global G.L.O.W. arose, I jumped at the chance. I’m very grateful. I love all my colleagues and the partners I get to work with.
Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Between painful losses in my family, developing chronic health issues and dealing with mental health struggles, it has been a challenging several years. I have had a great deal of support from my friends and family, whose love and guidance kept (and keeps) me afloat. I would also characterize myself as a reluctantly resilient person. At the minimum, I have the willpower to keep going when things are difficult. I think many people are put in this position, though, of being resilient to survive — it’s by a simultaneous force of life’s circumstances and society’s failures, though I recognize this to be an essentially beneficial trait.
As you know, we’re big fans of Global G.L.O.W. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about the brand?
Global G.L.O.W. is a 501(c)(3) organization that creates and operates innovative programs to mentor girls to advocate for themselves and make their communities stronger. We operate in vulnerable communities across 23 countries, including the United States. We partner with mission-aligned schools, community centers and NGOs that work directly with girls through out-of-school programming to address the most critical barriers affecting girls globally across the impact areas of self-advocacy, well-being, educational engagement, economic opportunity and community impact. Our unique curriculum allows for partners on the ground to ensure that club participants are met with culturally-relevant, stimulating programming. Mentors work with participants to develop girl-led projects that address their unique, real-time needs. For example, in Nigeria and Sierra Leone, girls have been combatting the impacts of this pandemic and supporting their communities through the creation of a radio show. We also work with the UN where, through events like International Day of the Girl and the Commission on the Status of Women, we’re able to provide a platform for girls to advocate for issues they care about. Every day through this organization, I’m reminded that girls are powerful but also that we need adults to take youth seriously and support their leadership in the fight for social change.
Can you talk to us about how you think about risk?
Risk-taking is inevitably a part of life, but I would say generally speaking I am not a big risk-taker when it comes to anything major in my life. Sometimes though, because of our anxieties almost everything can feel like a risk at some level. In that regard, I take risks all the time!
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: www.globalgirlsglow.org
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- Twitter: www.twitter.com/GlobalGirlsGLOW