Thursday, June 30, 2011

Inspirational Women and Girls For A Change!!

The following is a post sponsored by Yahoo! Every time someone clicks here to make Yahoo! their homepage, they're showing their support for Girls For A Change.

I was selected for this opportunity by
Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity, as I do.

Many of you may not know the nitty gritty details of where I came from, You know, because I only share certain things about my history here on the interwebs. Well, most of the time. What you may already know is that I grew up in North Jersey in a small town that I lovingly refer to as "Hometown, NJ." I was raised in what I would consider a pretty "normal" family (based on what I knew then!). I am the oldest of four children, hence my total type-A quirks glowing personality, and play the older sister role to two sisters, and a brother. There is only a two year gap between me and my next youngest sister, and then there are six years between her and our next sister. Tack on another two years, and you get my brother, the baby of the family.

While we were growing up, there were many times where it sort of felt like my closest-in-age sister and I were raised in a totally slightly different family than the two younger siblings. I could never put my finger on why I felt this way. We were all raised by the same parents and lived in the same house, but for some reason, they were able to sleep until ten minutes before school,  and wake up to a home-cooked breakfast, piping hot on the counter, prepared and served by our Mother. The same Mother that waved goodbye to me each morning from under the covers.

I have learned that most of the ground-breaking, road paving and lesson-learning is all done by the eldest child. This way, the younger kids have some sort of a "mold or "track record" to follow. I made my fair share of mistakes, but all along the way, I was paving the road for the rest of my siblings. Bringing a boy home first, getting caught drinking beer first, being the first victim to my Dad's "parallel parking lessons." But, the older I get, the more I realize that all of these things, the little things and the big, life-changing things, along with this incredible family that I was raised in, shaped me perfectly into the person I am today.

Something that most of you probably do know is that I got married last year. Another first for this, type-A, first-born. And trust me, it was a long road that brought me to where I am today, but I can look back at everything that I have been through and honestly say that I am proud of the "road map" that I set for my sisters. For my brother, too; at the very least, he will know exactly how to treat the ladies!

Some of the greatest compliments I have ever received have been over the last year. Through cards, party-planning and simple acts of kindness, my sisters have told me that I have "inspired" them, and that they hope to "grow up" to be just like me (or maybe a slightly better version). Words cannot truly express what their sentiments meant to me in the days leading up to my wedding, and what they still mean to me today as I try to use my new role as a wife to begin drawing another "road map" for them.

Is their pressure that comes with being the oldest? Sure. Does it totally stink sometimes? Like, when you realize that your parents made you wait until you were 18 to get a cell phone of your own, and your brother got one at 11? You bet. But, the best part? My job as an older sister sort of feels well done. And the even better than best (yea, I make phrases up from time to time, just go with it) part is that they are inspiring me all the time. It's amazing to see what strong, capable and successful women my sisters are turning into. One of them is living on her own in a new state, owns her own photography business and is a total fashion icon (in my world). The other is a newly twenty-one accounting major with a busy job and a killer singing voice! I may be a bit biased, but I think they're brag worthy!

As women, I think it's really important that we build each other up. Trust me, I am not the poster woman for making sure I tell my sisters how awesome they are nearly as much as I should, but I think that all of us have women in our lives that have inspired us to be better, and exemplified the kinds of women that we want to be. So, what can you do? I'm so glad you asked! Yahoo! is currently donating $10 to Girls For A Change (GFC) for each person who clicks here to make Yahoo! her homepage by July 1...up to an amazing $10,000! And, they're counting on people like us to help them find 1,000 people willing to make a change worth $10,000 toward this fantastic cause.

Want to know some more about Girls For A Change? Here's how they describe themselves: “Girls For A Change (GFC) is a national organization that empowers girls to create social change. We invite young women to design, lead, fund and implement social change projects that tackle issues girls face in their own neighborhoods. GFC empowers girls for personal and social transformation. The program inspires girls to have the voice, ability and problem solving capacity to speak up, be decision makers, create visionary change and realize their full potential." How can you not be inspired by this organization? 

So, what are you waiting for? Go ahead and click here to get the donations started! And, while you're at it, try and tell one of the inspirational women in your life how special they are to you this weekend!

And, as always, thanks for supporting us in our little corner of the internet. We are off to the beach for the long weekend tonight, which is sure to bring fun stories, sun-kissed noses and more Riley pictures!

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