What it means to me: By Jessica Rao
My name is Jessica Rao, and I am from Atlanta, Georgia. I am currently a first year at Agnes Scott College. In high school, I served as president of the photography club, and am currently in the process of founding a photography club at Agnes Scott. Besides photography, I’m also very passionate about volunteering. In high school, I served as founder and president of my school’s animal welfare club, where I organized multiple volunteering events with local animal shelters. Additionally, I have volunteered as a camp counselor with Focus, an organization for disabled children, for the past four years.
My love for volunteering helped me discover my favorite organization: Girl Talk. Four years ago, I was searching online for volunteering opportunities when I stumbled upon one website that stood out from the rest. I was inspired by Girl Talk’s message of being a place that empowers young girls to not only be themselves, but to be leaders. I immediately clicked on the application to be a camp counselor, and saw it as a sign, that the application was due by midnight later that night. After that first day of camp, Girl Talk had my heart. I had been welcomed into a family that radiates positivity and love. And ever since then I have become more and more involved in the program. I continued to serve as a camp counselor for an additional two years, served as a member of the Teen Advisory Board my junior year and as an Ambassador my senior year, had the honor of being one of the co-lead counselors for Girl Talk Camp 2019, and currently, am serving as an intern for the fall semester.
Girl Talk taught me that everyone has the capability to become a leader. A person doesn’t need to fit a perfect mold to lead; they simply need the passion and the drive to do something. This lesson changed me for the better because it allowed me to become my best self, the self that strives to be a leader in any and all situations. Without Girl Talk, I wouldn’t have had the confidence to start my own club, or to be the president of any clubs. But now, because of Girl Talk, I believe in myself and my ability to lead.
I’m incredibly excited and honored to be the recipient of this year’s Ron Bell Family Foundation Inspirational Leader Award. I’m so thankful to all of the inspiring young women who are a part of the Girl Talk family. Without them, I wouldn’t be writing this today. Receiving this award is something that I will take with me throughout the rest of my life. It will remind me of the leader that I am and the leader that I will continue to be. Even though I don’t know for certain what the future has in store for me, I do know that Girl Talk will always be a part of my life.