I Want to Help Change the World, and This is How I'm Going to Start

I grew up all over the country, calling Philadelphia, Dallas, Boston, San Francisco, Eugene (and then Philadelphia again), my home at some point. My family moved around because my mom was always “looking for the next big thing,” which meant leading companies, launching fly-off-the-shelves Star Wars games and eventually going on to create her own company from the bottom up in San Francisco. I grew up with an exceptionally strong, motivated, smart and fierce mother (and father), who showed me what it looked like to be a successful, educated and empowered woman in the modern world. I am so fortunate, and eternally grateful for this, because I know in my heart I will get there someday too - but this is not a universal truth for young women. There are millions of young women in the world being held back by outdated cultural views, double standards and unequal access to necessities like health care and education, and this is something I want to change.

I've always been interested by advertising, marketing and PR. I've been studying marketing, and working for various companies doing everything from Social Media to promotion to creating branding packages over the past four years or so, but it wasn't until this past year - my fifth and final year of college - did I realize that I needed to act on my passion for women's rights, empowerment, education, equality and creating tangible, positive change in the world. I had always operated under the assumption that the only way to create this tangible change was to either donate money to charitable organizations or donate your time by volunteering in third world countries. But, this is not so.

Donating money and your time absolutely helps, but to create tangible, sustainable and positive change in the world, it comes down to education, equality and empowerment. The last bit - education, equality and empowerment - is the key to creating change, and is at the heart of what Aahana does. Through working with Aahana, I'm able to use what I've learned in my education as well as work experience (thank you, Drexel, for that one) and use our platform as a non-profit to educate our society on the issues affecting women, children and families in Gujarat and hopefully inspire them to get involved.

Although I'm not on the ground in Gujarat or physically helping the teachers at the Mamta School, I'm using the resources at my disposal - my passion, marketing experience and the opportunity to work with this amazing Aahana team - to help make a difference in the world. At Aahana we can use marketing tactics like Social Media, sponsorships, and grassroots efforts to educate others and inspire them to donate money, join our team, attend our Speaker Series events or create a University Chapter. These actions are what fuel our partnership with the Human Research Foundation, and affords the children of the Mamta School equal access to education and health care. This opportunity helps grow healthy and educated individuals, empowered with the knowledge and skills to make a positive change in their lives, their community and ultimately the world.

Cate DeBenedictis - Aahana Marketing Manager