SHiFT for Good – Girl Up

On December 2nd, we will SHiFT for good in our New Haven Studios. Like every good cause, it all begins with a good person. Meet Adrianne Owings. Originally from Little Rock Arkansas, Adrianne is now a sophomore at Yale studying history and theater. She is also the co-founder of Girl Up Yale!

In 9th grade geography class, Adrianne heard the idea of the “girl effect.” The Girl Effect  – when you invest in a girl, she gives back to her community. When you invest in many girls, they have the power to make enough community-based change that the world feels its effects. This resonated with Adrianne.

“I was fascinated by this concept and began researching how I could contribute to this international effort as a high school student, which is when I encountered Girl Up,” she said.  

Girl Up is a campaign of the United Nations Foundation that seeks to ensure every girl around the world is healthy, safe, educated, and empowered. The campaign works with the UN and other nonprofits in six focus countries (Malawi, Ethiopia, Guatemala, India, Liberia, Uganda). Girl Up creates leadership programs, helps refugees, and gets girls to school. There are 1000+ Girl Up clubs around the world, comprised of middle school-aged to college-aged leaders. This team of young women fundraise, advocate, and spread awareness on the campaign’s behalf. With intrepid spirit, Adrianne started her very own Girls Up club as a high school junior in Arkansas.

Every year, Girl Up selects 20 girls to be Teen Advisors and represent the organization nationally.“To my surprise, I was selected, despite my lack of long-term experience of running a club! It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life! I started my 2015-2016 Teen Advisor term at a summit where I met First Lady Michelle Obama!” Adrianne also got to meet Girl Up leaders from around the world, young women, just like her, dedicated to making their voices heard. After high-school, Adrianne made her way to Yale. One thing was gravely missing from campus. After meeting a fellow Yalie, Sarah Gale, who was also a Teen Advisor, they founded Girl Up Yale.

Wanting to bring awareness and advocacy to their worthy cause, Sarah suggested SHiFT as the perfect place for their fundraiser. SHiFT’s mission to create a culture of empowerment, is a well-suited match for Girl Up’s goal to inspire activists. One class at SHiFT, you feel unstoppable. Ms. Owings found the purpose and passion of the SHiFT community a natural extension of Girl Up’s motto: “uniting girls to change the world”!

What is even more exciting, Girl Up Yale will be specifically fundraising for Girl Up’s SchoolCycle initiative.

SchoolCycle seeks to provide girls in Malawi with locally-sourced bikes so they can get to school. Often the biggest barrier to a girl receiving an education is the distance she must travel to get to school. A $125 donation provides a bike, spare parts and maintenance training to girls in greatest need identified by our UN partners, and Girl Up collects monetary donations from our supporters to send to the UN officials who procure and distribute the bikes. All proceeds from the event go to Girl Up’s SchoolCycle.

Adrianne was only a ninth grader when she discovered her heart for giving back and paying it forward. On December 2nd, as we ride, we will rise up! Rise towards a shared vision of equality and opportunity for young girls everywhere. Celebrate Adrianne, celebrate Girl Up Yale’s endeavors, and celebrate SHiFT for good!


Written by Blogger Emily Webster