"Change the world by being yourself." Sounds like a pretty lofty goal, but that's the idea behind Amy Poehler's Smart Girls, a kickass organization trying to empower young people by encouraging individuality and creativity and some good old-fashioned fun. Of course, there is some work involved in becoming a genuine Smart Girl. Meredith Walker (co-founder, executive director, and Amy's BFF) tells CafeMom that the group's mantra is actually an assignment. "You have to ask yourself questions," says Walker. "You have to be curious about yourself and the world that you live in and the other people in it to really find out who that self is." And part of that starts with finding 'smart' influences.
That's kind of the whole reason Walker and Poehler began Smart Girls -- to tell middle school and high school young women (and us, too!) that growing up doesn't mean having to fit into any sort of cookie-cutter mold. "We say that finding yourself interesting is the real accomplishment -- more than building your college application or your resume or checking off these kind of 'supposed tos' that our society puts on us," says Walker of this "funky" adolescent time in life that should really be about finding one's authentic self.
"We say, 'Get your hair wet.' That came from noticing adults at swimming pools ... not getting all the way in the water," she explains of this metaphor she uses to describe women's reluctance to break through some pretty outdated cultural ideals. "That's how you’ll find your true essence, your smart girl. ... You do it by doing things that are playful, fun, and that you're naturally drawn to."
Here, Walker gives CafeMom some cultural inspiration (authors, films, TV shows, and even celebs) she's drawn to -- inspo that might just empower your kids (and you!) to forget the Mean Girls phase and RSVP to the Smart Girls party.
Image via AmyPoehlersSmartGirls/Instagram