The Art of Giving Back by Meghan Morgan

This past Saturday, our Development Coordinator Alia and I attended the 2015 Fashion and Arts Humanity Fete. Girls in the Game was nominated for a Humanitarian Award in the Physical Arts category. We would find out if we won at the event.

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A few months earlier, we had learned about our nomination and the event. I had put it on my calendar, and honestly, I hadn’t given it a lot of thought until last week. Then, I spent some time looking at the website, trying to figure out what the event would be like, and how we should dress. It was a Fashion event after all. And we were told there would be a “black carpet”!

I also took some time to learn more about the award for which we were nominated. Nominees fell into seven different categories ranging from Technical Arts to Creative Arts, and included non-profit organizations like ours as well as individuals. The awards are intended to recognize humanitarian efforts related to the arts and working to better Chicago communities.

Of course, I also took a minute to check out our competition. It turns out there was only one other nominee in our category, an individual named Andrea Natay. She sounded familiar, and after a quick search, I learned why. She started the Ditch the Weight and Guns 5K in Englewood, the first-ever closed course race in the community. The event drew 3,000 participants this past year! Girls in the Game does a lot of work in Englewood, and I had heard about the race.20151101_100344

I was impressed. And it started to make a little more sense to me; why we were included in this event, even though our work doesn’t overlap with fashion or the arts. The Arts of Humanity recognizes the strength of humanitarians doing great work, in the same way that Girls in the Game teaches girls to recognize their own strength. We want our girls to grow up to be like Andrea Natay, emerging as leaders and making a difference in their communities. What a great role model.

The event did not disappoint. It was entertaining and fun and the crowd was thrilled to be there. We didn’t win, but not to sound cliché, it really was an honor to be there. I was happy to see Andrea gain the recognition she deserves for her work, and afterwards I congratulated her and we talked about how she could get involved with Girls in the Game. I look forward to making that happen.

Before Saturday, I never would have thought about how Girls in the Game connected with the world of fashion and arts. Now, however, it’s easy to see that it’s not about the industry, but the people working in it. We teach girls they can be whatever they want to be and I hope that some of them end up in the creative world. And I hope they take what they’ve learned at Girls in the Game to inspire them to help others at the same time.

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