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meganw7

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Running Start
September 9, 2009

Running Start is a program I would recommend to any young woman with a budding interest in politics. In mid 2008, a friend of friend alerted me about about a leadership program called Running Start, specifically targeted at young women in high school. Immediately, I jumped at the chance. I remember stressing over my application for several days, and then the nervousness that followed (I was worried because I had submitted my entry so close to the deadline). Even though, at the time, I knew very little about the program, I was desperate to be accepted. But I was shocked when I received a phone call later that week requesting a phone interview. It was brief, and after hanging up I remember over-analyzing my answers, and convincing myself that I had no chance of being accepted. Sure, the website said they would select all kinds of girls from all over; but why would they want me? I lived really far away from D.C., and I wasn't even enrolled in a real high-school (I was home-schooled). But they did accept me, and that was only the beginning. Although the program was short, it definitely changed my life, and helped transform me into the person I am becoming. I had the opportunity to meet girls from all backgrounds, all of us joined by a common interest in our community. All sorts of women came to speak to us, sharing their experiences and preparing us for the future. We attended workshops for public speaking, advocacy, speech writing, and campaigning. Not only did we learn about the women leading us today, but were also reminded of past female heroes - the women who changed history, gaining us rights that we often take for granted. On the third night, we all attended a networking reception, which I consider one of the best parts of the program, because were able to engage in conversation with many influential and admirable people in the D.C. area. But the most memorable event was the night on the town, something I hadn't expected to experience. So far we had spent the entire time on campus, and it was amazing to be able to go out and really see the city. On the last day, we made speeches to our friends and family, talking about the rising issues we felt most passionate about. Running Start changed my life, and I know it's done the same for so many other young women. Thank-you Running Start for giving girls like me the confidence to change the world.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Reach out to girls who knew little or nothing about politics. Staff could make presentations at high schools around the nation, educating girls about the importance of political activism.

More feedback

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

The speakers; I learn best by observing others, and they shared invaluable information, not only useful for the world of politics, but things that will guide me no matter what career I pursue.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Generous and compassionate. Everyone at Running Start treated us as equals. Nobody talked AT us, instead they all talked TO us, and actually welcomed feedback, debate, and questions.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Help every girl instead of just a select few. Running Start could change the world if they had more funding. Sadly, most of my peers are unaware of all the issues of our community/society. This organization can change everything.

Ways to make it better...

It was longer. Although it was packed with activities and lectures, it would be even more beneficial if it was spread out over a longer period of time. But I completely understand this is due to lack of funds.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

Funds. Running Start is one of today's most important non-profits, and it needs all the donations/endorsements it can get.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

One time

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008

MY ROLE:
Client Served & I learned how to make an impact on the future of my community.