IT ONLY TAKES A GIRL
Around Thanksgiving last year a high school student wrote asking for permission to use my music in a video. Gabriella Runnels was applying to Tulane University and she hoped to get a full scholarship through the John Hainkel Louisiana Scholars Award. As part of her application, Gabriella made a video about a subject she care’s deeply about: the plight of girls in the developing world. She wrote:
“The truth is, the issues of child marriages, female genital mutilation, etc. are allextremely relevant and important, and even if I don’t get the scholarship, I still plan on using this video to bring awareness to these issues. “
My policy is to always give permission to students to use my music in their projects. I just ask them to credit me. I told Gabriella as much, and she posted her video “It Only Takes A Girl” to YouTube and made a webpage for it.
As often happens when someone passionate channels their energy towards a creative project….it’s a really good video, and it went viral. So far it’s had over 350,000 views.
Gabriella then made a blog for it as a platform to talk about things she cares about, books she reads, charities she supports, and so on. She wrote on December 19:
“Over the past few days, I have been getting a lot of emails saying, “Great video! Very inspiring. Now, what can I do?”
I’m so glad you asked.
There is a ton of stuff you can do, but probably the easiest and fastest is to donate! Even if it’s not much, every little bit makes a difference. For example, $25 can by a smokeless stove (important for improving indoor air quality), $20 can buy a family health checkup, and $10 can buy 2 fruit trees or 8 pounds of vegetable seeds (The International Humanitarian Foundation)!
On my webpage, I have a link to donate to the Girl Effect, an organization that raises awareness, collects donations, and gives money to various projects that help girls in the developing world. You can even donate in honor of someone you love or in memory of someone you have lost.”
Yesterday, Gabriella wrote to tell me that links from her video page have raised $30,000 for Global Giving and….it should come as no surprise…..that she got the full 4-year scholarship to Tulane.
It’s such a beautiful story that I started weeping when I read her email. Gabriella makes me so hopeful for the future, which coincidentally is what the song “Optimist” is all about (I wrote it for my son just before he was born, to declare my optimism for the future he will live in). I think look forward to seeing what she does next.
Congratulations Gabriella. You are an inspiration to me!!