By: Cat Oriel
I realized this on Tuesday, May 2, when I invited Look What SHE Did! founders Jill Klein and Julie Hébert to speak at my high school Archer. After attending their fundraiser in March, I knew that I wanted to get involved by introducing girls at my school to the organization. Julie and I agreed that a good place to start would be for Jill and her to come to Archer to talk about the organization, its mission and watch a few of the videos.
I was hoping Jill and Julie could come during an assembly or Community Connection period, but since we only had two more weeks of school, the assembly times were full. Since I was extremely eager to get the relationship established, and didn’t want to wait until the fall, we picked out a time during an hour long X-block free period, which is a time for girls to catch up on work, go to meetings, attend presentations by guest speakers or just take a break. I attended successful presentations during X-blocks before, so I knew people would likely show up. However, I should have accepted that the final weeks of school is the most hectic time of year. I sent out an email to the school, talked to a lot of my friends who promised they’d come, but when the day of the presentation came, girls who normally would love to attend a presentation during that time were busy working away in the library or were off campus on a field trip.
Expecting a bigger crowd, I was disappointed in myself and embarrassed when only a handful of girls showed up to the presentation. I ran through a list of things I should’ve done differently in my head. I thought to myself, “I should’ve sent out more emails, I should’ve hung up flyers, I should’ve just scheduled this in the fall, I should’ve done this, I should’ve done that…” The list was endless. But when we began I realized that Julie and Jill weren’t upset at all, in fact, they seemed so happy to have an audience, no matter the size. Instead of the big presentation we had hoped for, their visit to Archer turned into a productive and valuable intimate meeting and conversation. All of us took turns sharing an inspiring woman we would choose to talk about in a Look What SHE Did! video. I began by sharing human rights activist Dolores Huerta’s journey, and my friend Rose shared the story of the chemist Rosalind Franklin. At the end of the meeting, we all left feeling excited for the partnership opportunities between the school and the organization.
This experience helped me realize that sometimes things won’t go the way you expect them to, but you can’t beat yourself up about it. I was extremely lucky that things ended up working out well in the end. Although it was a small group, they were able to talk to girls that were a good representation of our larger community. I truly admired that Julie and Jill were equally passionate and enthusiastic in front of just a handful of girls at 10 am on a Tuesday morning as they were at the fundraiser in front of a big crowd. This meeting was the first step in an exciting new relationship between Look What SHE Did! and Archer!