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Happy Holidays, Smart Girls! We have been anticipating our first holiday issue all year! It is always exciting to release our latest magazine, but I must say, there is nothing like releasing a holiday issue. This magazine is filled with everything you need to make the most out of your holiday season. As always, it is jam-packed with stories of Smart Girls, just like you. When I flip through the articles, the kind of girls SGG has been able to connect amazes me. Our cover girl, Bronagh, lives in the heart of New York City and she gave us the grand tour of beautiful Manhattan, all decked out in holiday dĂŠcor. We met Marina, a Smart Girl at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, and Aneth, our first Smart Girl to take us into Africa to the changing nation of Rwanda. Along with our guest Smarts Sharers, you will find your monthly columns on health, confidence, style, and everything in between. This whole issue was based off of one word: happiness. We wanted everything to exude happiness: the colors, the stories, the specially chosen Smart Girls that comprise of the magazine team. I hope that the content of this issue makes you find happiness within yourself. No matter what is on your wish list, nothing compares to finding your own self worth. Additionally, when you are happy with yourself, you bring happiness and joy to others, perfect for this season. I encourage you to use this magazine, and the SGG resources, to find your personal happiness. Thank you for joining us for our holiday issue. I wish you and your loved ones the warmest wishes during this special time of year. I hope that you find the joy of the holiday season within yourself and bring that joy into the world around you. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! Be Smart Share Smarts, Emily

Smart Starter 2- smart girl’s guide

Table of Contents Meet Bronaugh 6 Smart Girl’s Gift Guide 10 Aware 18

Smart Girls of History 38

Abigail Adams: A Revolutionary Smart Girl

Inside Look: Pakistan The Strength of a Smart Girl

Smart Girl Spotlight: Marina 44

Organized 20

The Risk is Definitely Worth the ward

Computer Cleaning


Stylish 22

Organization of the Month 46

Polished 24

Hello from Home 47

Habitat for Humanity

A Lesson in Layers 4 Tips to Starting a New Chapter

Prepared 25

The College Column

Redefining Rwanda

December’s Playlist 51 Dear Smart Girl 52

Sporty 28

A Smart Girl’s Guide to Basketball

Secure 30

Classroom Confidence

Healthy 32

Keeping Active in the Cold

The Life List 33

Free Fall into the Unknown

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Hannah O’Boyle Pennsylvania

Cassandra Ettman Rider University

Mimi Warnick Pennsylvania

Aneth Batamuliza Saint Mary’s College

Monica Murphy Saint Mary’s College

Megan Becker Michigan State University

Sophie Raleigh New Jersey

Christina Lanlokun Amber Ausley Durham University University of Alabama

Royar Loflin Virginia

Hannah Buchan Gabbi Oppenheimer University of Pennsylvania Illinois

Annie Phelps Rhode Island

Tori Wilbraham Emily Raleigh Fordham University Saint Mary’s College

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Smart Shooters &{photographers Stylers

& graphic designers} Erin McClintic Saint Mary’s College

Brittany Peters Illinois

Abigail Slone Ohio

Eleanor Harte UMass Amherst

Smarts Sharers

{contributing writers} Marina Dooney Megan Rogers-Rielley Dorothy Walton Univeristy of St. Andrews Illinois Alabama

Bronagh Jones New York


Smart Selectors {copy editors}

Ava Gagliardi Fordham University

Sydney Chalmers Rhode Island

Sam Dugan University of Delaware

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Quincy Bulin Texas

Meet Bronagh

There is something special about the holiday season in New York City. Whether it is the Rockefeller Christmas tree, the beautifully decorated store windows, or the cheery atmosphere of Bryant Park, people from all over the world are drawn to the city, in hopes of being a part of the holiday cheer. This month, Smart Girl’s Guide traveled to New York City to meet Bronagh, a high school junior who calls the city her home. In true Smart Girl fashion, Bronagh is full of energy and eludes happiness, perfect for the spirit of the season. Age: 16 Hidden talent: I can skate backwards! Hometown: New York, NY Dream job: I would love to be a veterinarian. School: Preston High School Who inspires you? Favorite Subject: English My nana! She is the most supportive person I know. I would Extracurricular Activities: Drama & Horseback Riding never want to let her down. Favorite thing about living in New York City? What defines a Smart Girl in your eyes? Easy transportation! I can get anywhere by train when I A Smart Girl is a girl who shares her gifts and help others cannot get a ride somewhere. in any way possible. Favorite travel destination? Definitely Vermont.

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Size: Less than two times the size of California Population: 190 million people, sixth in the world Language: English and Urdu Major Religion: 95% Muslim, 75% of that Sunni Type of Government: Democratic Parliamentary Federal Republic. Elections: The Prime Minister is elected by half the parliament, and the President is elected by electoral college.

Head of Government: Asif Ali Zardari, appointed September 2008 Capital City: Islamabad Economy: GDP is $494.8 Billiom, 2.4% growth last year. 58.41 million available for labor foce. 48% of the economy is agriculture. Stuck in low income, low growth trap.

Current Issues: 22.3% are below poverty line, 2nd highest

deforestation worldwide, only 29% of the population can read, have fought three wars with India over Kashmir, a small piece of land that is shared between both countries.

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The Strength of a Smart Girl

by Royar Loflin, Smarts Sharer

15 year old Malala Yousafzai was shot on her school bus home in the Swat Valley of Pakistan, a notorious Taliban stronghold. A one time blogger for BBC Urdu, and an outspoken advocated for girls education, the Taliban has wanted her dead since summer 2012. She was airlifted to Peshawar, then flown to Britain for more care. Since this incident, former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown sent a petition to Pakistan via the UN that encourages Pakistan to make a plan for education, countries to outlaw discrimination against young girls, and to help the world’s 61 million children become educated by the end of 2015.

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by Dorothy Walton, Smarts Sharer design by Abigail Slone


ssignments, papers, and reports are being thrown at you left and right as the school year is now in full swing. With all of these typed assignments it is beneficial to you if your computer and documents are systematically organized. I find it easiest to use the same system every year so that there is no confusion. My biggest tip is to make folders for every document on your computer. You can have a folder as broad as high school and then categorize it into freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior year if that is the method you like best. For me that would be some unnecessary clicking just to find a document but again, this is your preference. My broadest folders are freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior years. Inside of each of those folders I have another folder with every class I took that year (aside from study hall). For example, my folders for this year (inside the senior year folder) are AP French, AP Environmental Sciences, ADV

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Calculus, AP Government, AP Economics, Photography (I only include documents in this folder, I have a separate one for the photographs), Peer Counseling, and AP Literature. This way whenever I am typing something up for school it has a folder it can be categorized into. For each of these folders I have sub-folders inside of them so that documents don’t get jumbled. Take AP Literature for example, I have a folder that says novels, paper, grammar, and study guides. This way if I ever need to pull something back up I know exactly where to go. Although it sure seems like life revolves around school we all have other activities occurring in our lives and these require document folders as well. For anything you could ever need to type something up on, I have a folder for it too. I have a folder just to save these articles in each month, one for red ribbon week, which I am hosting at my school, one for applications, and most importantly at the moment, one with everything necessary for applying to college. I highly recommend that no matter what year you are in school have a folder for college! I suggest having a folder within that called involvement and another one that has awards you’ve received so you can easily pull those up when applications ask you about them. I have a separate folder for every college I am applying to so that essays don’t get mixed up or lost! It is also useful to have your teachers email you there recommendation letters so you can also have those on file in your folder. No matter how you end up organizing your documents I think it is necessary for you to at least have them organized in a way where they are easily accessible to you! I hope this article helps you to keep your computer clutter free and that all your documents find their place!

My biggest tip is to make folders for every document on your computer.



A Lesson in Layers by Cassandra Ettman, Smarts Sharer design by Abigail Slone

To any girl wanting to dress in style without spending a great deal of money this article is for you! What if I told you anything your wardrobe ever held, if manipulated correctly, can be used to change the way you dress? I’m here to show you some funky ways to turn that boring t-shirt into something totally fabulous.

My favorite basic in my entire closet would have to be a flannel. With the colder weather heading our way there’s no better way to cover your shoulders than with something warm and comfy. Personally, I picked mine up at a thrift store for a dollar and it’s oversized. Lucky for you, fitted, oversized just put it over a tank top like a cardigan, and knot the one side. Not a huge knot, but enough for it to add something different to ones every “flannel Friday”. When people don’t understand your taste, it’s hard to accept clothes as a present; however, you can’t let anything go to waste! Take that oversized, interesting sweater and pair it with a liquid legging along with either a flat or boot. You can accessorize with a scarf, jewels, or even just earrings. If the sweater is loose enough you can even tie a knot at the bottom. We all have those necklaces that have been gathering dust in our jewelry boxes for years, and now you can wear them…together. In my drawer I found two interesting necklaces and decided to wear them together. I layered my necklaces like one layers clothes, and honestly, the mixture of the two pieces were so different that they complimented each other. Also, I’ve been wearing my cheap necklaces from middle school as bracelets. I wrap them around my wrist and it serves as a wrap bracelet. Earrings- very seldom do I wear matching earrings, and even though I receive comments, I do it because it’s different… Who says when you loose one earring you can’t still wear the other? Utilize everything!

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The College Column by Emily Raleigh, Smart Starter


reshman girlie girls, Happy December! As your first half of freshman year concludes, I thought this would be the perfect time to talk about opportunity. You may have noticed, there is a plethora of activities in your school and community. From club events to mission trips to sports teams, it can be tricky to stay on top of it all. My suggestion is: this winter break, research the various opportunities available to you. Is there a Church youth group that catches your eye? Do you want to take an ice skating class at your local ice rink? What about your high school’s Habitat for Humanity chapter? If you have friends involved, talk to them about it. If not, there is typically a contact number or email on the website, or sometimes, town halls have information. Regardless, get your facts together over break so that next semester you can start out strong, with a solid idea of your extracurricular plans. Some of these opportunities are one-time events, like a local theatre production or a breast cancer walk. These events are perfect for your resume and even networking, if you are outgoing. Take these chances to be a part of your local community, even if it is not through your school. You may learn something you never expected or another opportunity may arise from the experience. To find out about opportunities in your area, go to your town hall (or their website), pick up information packets at your school, and grab the local paper. Smart Girls are always support-


ing their local community. Support yours as well! ophomore Smart Girls! December is a month focused on giving and your job this month is to give your study methods some love. We are talking a total reevaluation of your study systems. Are you planning efficiently or do you find yourself at last minute cramming in that forgotten homework assignment and studying for that test that just came out of nowhere? There are so many different methods to academic organization and it is strongly based on personal preference. Personally, I’m all about Google. I use Google Chrome, which is an Internet server similar to Firefox, Internet Explorer or Safari. I shopped around the Google Chrome App Store and downloaded different applications (they are all free!) that I felt would promote better time management. For to-do lists, I love Wunderlist because it syncs with my iPhone, so no matter where I am, I know what I need to accomplish. I use Google Calendar to schedule my week so that I know what is coming up, what I need to study for, etc. I set reminders so that I never risk forgetting about homework or tests. Google Docs is a great way to take notes or do group projects because it saves everything on and offline (using Google Drive) and has group editing, which is ideal for group projects. Regardless of my own organization methods, I highly suggest using your break to research organization and study tips. Everyone has their own system, which means there are a great deal

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staying organized. Good luck!


unior Smart Girls, happy holidays! This month’s task may be very easy for some of you and for others it may be very hard. Either way, it is extremely important that you complete this. December is networking month! You have visited colleges, you are beginning to see what makes you tick, and you are starting to probably get your heart set on a few dream schools. Well girls, I have a very important piece of information for you: no matter how talented you are, no matter how much interest you have in a school, sometimes, it comes down to your connections. No reason to panic! This is why we are having networking month. For each of your prospective colleges, find the name and email of the following people: your regional admission director, a professor in the department where you wish to major (try to find the head of the department), and a student contact. These people are by no means hard to find. First, you can use Google to try to find their names. Then, each university website has a directory, so use that to find their email address. As far as the student, look up a club you are interested in or a specific academic program. Most universities have a student newspaper. If the student did something really great, there will be an article on it with their name (which can then be put into the directory). If they are in charge of a club, their name will be listed on a club list or description page as well. The email to the admissions director and professor should be very formal. The student email, however, can be slightly less formal, but make sure you are extremely polite. You may be wondering why the student connection is so important. They are a great resource for any questions you have regarding their college experience. Also, if you visit the college again, he/she may be willing to give you a tour or set you up

with a meeting with someone who will further help you. Send out these emails during or after break and send one follow up if you do not receive anything back after three weeks. Try to keep in contact with them and email them once every month or two, just so that they do not forget you.


eniors, Happy Holidays! I am sure that some of you have heard back from some of your colleges already. I hope it was good news! If not, do not worry; there is still time to apply to other universities. If you were deferred, make sure that you follow up with your regional admissions director to see what else you can do to improve your chances for regular admission. This month is for putting last minute sparkles on your applications before the deadline for regular admission. Sometimes, schools say you can provide additional material with your application. Definitely do that if you can! I provided a video about my medical mission to China and I received three emails back from admissions directors, saying how it impacted my admission decision. Many of my friends did this and received similar feedback. One friend of mine was a fantastic photographer. She wanted to go to school for engineering, but sent in a photo album to her top choice schools which pictures she had taken. Some of them described her lifestyle and she wrote down captions next to each photo. Her last picture on all of them related to the university. For example, one was her dog dressed entirely in Wake Forest gear. The bottom line is: think about your skills and find a way to use them to provide additional material for your application. Just make sure, though, that your university accepts additional material! Best of luck! Have a great holiday!

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a smart girl’s guide to by Hannah O’Boyle, Smarts Sharer design by Emily Raleigh

My days of playing basketball began in 5th grade. I have always been pretty short, so I have never had the height advantage that is usually associated with the sport, but nonetheless I still enjoyed playing. I was usually the point guard, or just a wing (these are both offensive positions - check out the descriptions below!) Despite the fact that I was on the JV team, I still enjoyed playing because basketball is such an amazing sport that promotes teamwork and dedication while still allowing me to be competitive. It doesn’t surprise me to know that some people spend their whole lives playing basketball and striving to get better. Here is some terminology of the game:

positions Point Guard- This player dribbles the ball down the court and calls the plays so their team members know what to do. It’s their job to make sure everyone is where they’re supposed to be and ready for the ball. Wings- These 2 players move around to get the ball or set screens so others can be open for the ball. The main goal for these players is to score when they have a reasonable chance. Posts- These 2 players are usually the tallest girls on the team. After a shot goes up from the opposing team and misses they try to get the rebound. They also try to get open and score, because they are closer to the basket than the wings. 28- smart girl’s guide


Dribble- When a player bounces the Fouled Out- When you get 5 fouls in ball on the floor; it should be bounced one half you get fouled out and have to leave the game for two minutes. around waist height. (However, these rules vary on the Rebound- When the shot is missed league the game is being played in.) the goal is to ‘rebound’ it and gain possession. After you get the rebound Screen- This is when a player tries you can shoot it again or give the ball to get their teammate open. They back to the point guard to start an- run up to their teammate’s defender, stop, and just stand there with your other play. feet firmly planted on the ground. Block- When someone ‘blocks’ a shot The point is to give your teammate it means that the ball hits off his or a chance to get away from their deher arm or hand and doesn’t go into fender and hopefully get a shot. You the net. The blocker’s hand must hit can set a screen on a person, wheththe ball; if it hits the shooter’s hand er they have the ball or not. The key is to make sure you come to a comit will be a foul. plete stop in front of the defender or Double Dribble- When a player drib- else you will be called for an illegal bles the ball, picks it up then dribbles screen. again. This is a penalty and results Jump ball- Any time there are playin loss of possession. ers from both the home and away Foul- This usually occurs on defense, team clearly fighting for the ball, the but there are offensive fouls as well. ref will call a “jump ball”. In the beIt’s when someone illegally runs into ginning of the game the away team or hits another player. It could also usually gets the first jump ball, which be an illegal reach or block of the means they get the possession of the ball after the jump ball is called by ball. the ref. The next time there’s a jump Foul Shot- If someone is fouled ball the home team gets possession. while in the act of shooting they get This process continues for the rest of two foul shots. If the person who was the game when a jump ball is called. fouled tried to shoot at the 3-point It keeps the game fair and safer for line they get three foul shots. These the players. shots only count for 1 point each.

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Classroom CONFIDENCE by Hannah Buchan, Smarts Sharer design by Abigail Slone | photography by Ava Gagliardi

December is here, Smart Girls! By now you are probably in the swing of things at school. You’ve figured out your bell schedules, what is expected from your teachers or professors, and made some new friends or reconnected with old ones. Now that things have settled down and you’re in a rhythm, it’s time to get to work! Here are my tips for studying smart and being confident in the classroom.


Don’t be afraid to ask questions!

If I had a dollar for every question I didn’t ask out of fear of looking “stupid,” I would be a billionaire. Definitely think about your question before you voice it, but don’t hesitate to ask! If you have a question or find something confusing, more than likely there is at least one other person in the room thinking the same exact thing. Sometimes, professors and teachers even deliberately leave information out or a step to see if you’ll raise your hand and to check if you’re paying attention to the lecture. Long story short, if you have a question, ask!


Review the course material right before the class begins.

Take fifteen minutes to review your notes or the chapter in the textbook before you go to class. By reviewing your notes, you may come up with more questions to ask or clarify with your teacher. You will also be completely on top of your course material and not lagging behind. Fifteen minutes each day also counts as study time, too! The more you study in increments, the less you have to cram!


Find a study buddy!

This tip solely depends on your study style and habits. If you work more productively on your own, this may not be for you. Personally, I prefer working alone, unless someone has the same studying and learning style as me. Find someone you can rely on to take good notes (especially important if you’re absent!), and that is also hardworking and motivated. You can get twice the amount of studying done in half the time with a good study buddy!


by Annie Phelps, Base Brains design by Emily Raleigh


xercising outside in the cold usually doesn’t have much of an appeal to people. Going outside, freezing, doing something that may not be considered “fun” – tell me this sounds familiar. When you are cold, you are uncomfortable, and no one likes being uncomfortable! This is why, especially when exercising outside during the winter, it is extremely important to warm up before you go outside. You need to warm up your body and your muscles by gradually increasing your body temperature! If you do not warm up your muscles before exercising, your muscles will be more prone to tearing during or after your workout. To prepare your muscles for the strenuous activity you are about to put them through during your workout, do some quick warmups for five to ten minutes. Easy warm up exercises include: • Light jogging/trotting • High knees • Butt kicks

• • •

Toe touches Jumping jacks Ankle swirls

If you feel like you need a more guided warm up, I suggest finding one on YouTube. They have some of the best workout videos there, as well as some of the best warm up videos. One of my personal favorite YouTube channels for warm ups is Viktoria Telek. You can find her channel at (click the link!). Of course, this is just a suggestion and you should find one that you like and do that before your workout! I promise you, you will have a great workout, and as always, remember to stretch afterwards! 32- smart girl’s guide

by Amber Ausley, Smarts Sharer & Campus Smart Girl design by Emily Raleigh


y the time this is published in ‘The Smart Girl’s Guide,’ I will have already been in college for a few months. However, as I write this piece, I have only a month left until I leave on the next big adventure of my life. I am so excited for what college has in store for me, but I am a little apprehensive about leaving. I don’t know what to expect—out of my classes, people, new responsibilities, and new social activities. However, I am really excited to see what is waiting for me over 400 miles away from the comfort of my home. Life is full of spontaneity and surprise. The events that occur in our lives are rarely calculated. However, the unexpected memories are often the most wonderful. So as you venture into the next big chapter in your life, whatever it may be, I can probably bet that you are a little nervous and unsure of what is to come. However, if you accept the challenge of free falling into the unknown, you also accept an exciting new adventure waiting around the corner.

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This summer, my entire family went on a vacation to the lake to celebrate my grandfather’s 70th birthday. The final day of the trip, we rode the boat over to a little cove to go cliff jumping. As I have mentioned before, I am not a particularly brave person. One of my flaws is that I always feel the need to be in control of the situation. So, it goes without saying that I was not extremely excited about losing control and just jumping into the water below. For about ten minutes, I stayed floating in the water, and just watched on the sidelines as others jumped of off the rocks. However, after watching elementary age kids and most of my cousins jumping off of the highest rocks, I wondered why I couldn’t too. I swam closer to the shore and took the first step towards the cliffs. Not about to miss an opportunity to get a topic to write about for you smart girls, I hiked up to the second level cliff.

“if you accept the challenge of free falling into the unknown, you also accept an exciting new adventure waiting around the corner” As I looked over the edge, the height seemed a lot higher than it did from below. Fear started to stop me from having a good time. Looking back, I still am not sure exactly what I was afraid of, but at the time, I didn’t know what to expect. However, after coaxing from my family, I stepped off and just fell. As you can tell from this article, I survived and not-so-gracefully splashed into the water. Granted, I never jumped off of the tallest cliffs, but I did take a small step towards being more willing to give ur p all control over my life. When facing an unknown adventure, everyone is nervous. At least for me, it is not in my nature to just give up control and hope that everything will turn out okay. However, great opportunities don’t just wait until you are ready. Like the cliffs, you are not the first person about to experience what you are about to embark upon. Other people have done it, and you will too. Just give up a little control and see what life has in store for you. What legacy will you leave? 34- smart girl’s guide


A Revolutionary Woman by Tori Wilbraham, Smarts Searcher design by Emily Raleigh

The first ladies of the United States have played a very important role in the history of the United States. One of my favorite first ladies is Abigail Adams. The wife of John Adams, our second president, and mother of John Quincy Adams, the sixth president, Abigail was an influential woman in a time where women did not have a voice. Abigail Adams was born in November of 1744 in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. She was taught to read and write at a very young age. Her mother provided her with an education that was not typical for girls her age. She was very fortunate to have access to her family’s library, which allowed her to study English and French. Abigail and John were married in 1764. Together they moved to their family farm in Massachusetts. Abigail gave birth to six children in ten years. With her husband, a budding lawyer and politician, Abigail was often left to tend to her family and the needs of their farm. Abigail was able to keep her family in tack when her husband was off working for independence for America. Before her husband took office, Abigail joined him on diplomatic trips to Europe. These business trips were not the place for a woman, however, Abigail was very engaged with what was going on and decided to join her husband on his expeditions. Abigail was the second first lady of the United States. She learned first hand what the job of first lady would entail. 35 smart girl’s guide

Abigail Adams was a woman before her time. Independent, educated, and a class act, Abigail was able to have her voice heard in regard to her husband’s affairs and his decision making. One of the great things that the Adams left us, were their great letters of correspondence. Because President Adams was often traveling, together the two “Learning is not attained by of them were able to provide chance, it must be sought for us an inside picture of what with ador and attended to was going on at the time. In her letters Abigail with diligence.” often discuss political issues. Centuries before women got ~Abigail Adams the right to vote, Abigail Adams wrote to her husband to “remember the ladies.” She asked him to reverse what their ancestors had done and remember the women behind these strong men. Who would have thought that in the 1780’s a woman would be calling for representation and rights? Abigail Adams is truly a stand out woman. She had a huge influence over her husband and was able to have a voice in a time when women were silenced. She was a woman who opposed slavery and called for women to have a voice. Her independence and forward thinking makes her our Smart Women of History.

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by Gabbi Oppenheimer design by Emily Raleigh

Senior year at my school is full of perks. Good parking, (relatively) easy course loads, low stress levels, and the ability to use your seniority to get whatever you want. As fun and exciting as those perks are, there is one perk that’s a bit more meaningful for everyone who chooses to be involved. The summer going into senior year, students at my high school have the opportunity to take part in a school sponsored and chaperoned Habitat for Humanity trip. It’s wildly popular, and everyone comes back gushing about what a fantastic experience it is, so I thought I’d dig a little deeper and

find out what Habitat is really all about. In 1965, Millard and Linda Fuller left behind a comfortable life in Montgomery, Alabama for Koinonia Farm, a small Christian community in Georgia. At Koinonia, Millard, along with Koinonia’s founder, Clarence Jordan, began to develop the concept that would later become Habitat for Humanity: houses to be built for no profit, charging no interest, for families in need. Contrary to popular belief, Habitat does not give away houses, but instead gives those whose income is 30 to 50 percent of the median income in their area the opportunity to become a homeowner. In exchange, families typically pay a $500 down payment and put in 300 to 500 hours of work on their home or another Habitat home, also known as “sweat equity.” Habitat homeowners also make affordable monthly mortgage payments that are then used to build more homes. While the organization is a Christian housing ministry, they accept volunteers and serve people of every race, religion, and gender. Since the first homes were built by Habitat for Humanity International in 1976, more than 500,000 homes have been built, serving over 2.5 million people worldwide. However, the organization

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recognizes that decent, affordable housing is still absent from many people’s lives across the world and will continue to press on in their quest to provide homes for everyone. Habitat’s volunteer program is unique in its accessibility. Children as young as five years old can get involved, spreading the word about projects in their area and fundraising for efforts elsewhere. For those aged 14 to 25, the opportunities are vast. The Youth Leadership Conference lasts three days and incorporates keynote speakers and various leadership workshops into its agenda. Anyone who is at least 16 is eligible to be involved in a construction project with Habitat, either with the Learn and Build program–which places individual students in groups–or with the Collegiate Challenge program. Despite its slightly misleading name, the Collegiate Challenge simply incorporates groups of students from the same school–be it a high school or a college–and provides a week-long build in place of other school trips. The experience is not only fun, but also eye-opening and incredibly rewarding. Next summer, I plan to leave home for a week with a hammer and a

tool belt, ready to tackle the challenge of building a house alongside my fellow classmates and friends. We’ll return sweaty and exhausted, but proud of our accomplishment, that we were able to provide not only a house to a family in need, but a home. I’ve realized in my research for this article that this is exactly what Habitat strives to do: to not only provide housing and shelter to those in need, but also to give them a place of stability and comfort. After all, shouldn’t everyone be able to say the words, “I’m coming home”?

Are you involved with a specific organizaton? Do you have your own non-profit? Is there a certain organization that interests you? Email us at

to help us choose our next organization!

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December’s Playlist It’s Time by Imagine Dragons Eyes by Rogue Wave Come Over by Kenny Chesney Rebellion (Lies) by Arcade Fire Ho Hey by The Lumineers The Last Time by Taylor Swift, featuring Gary Lightbody Silver Springs by Fleetwood Mac I Melt With You by Modern English Fidelity by Regina Spektor In the Air Tonight by Phil Collins Comes and Goes (In Waves) by Greg Laswell Sweet Disposition by The Temper Trap Friday I’m in Love by The Cure Forever Young by Alphaville I Will Wait by Mumford and Sons Your Song by Ellie Goulding Better Than Love by Griffin House Why Can’t I by Liz Phair If You Leave by Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark The Space Between by Dave Mathews Band

Dear Smart Girl by Monica Murphy, Smarts Sharer

Self-belief will get you ahead in life. Our happiness, choices and reactions, determine how far we thrive—or in other words, how determined we are to do the extraordinary. If you want to paint a colorful canvas for your life, embark on developing your gifts and talents right now. Beverly was poised and brilliant. This contagious joy oozed out of her. She became teary-eyed when she shared with me about a time that she was homeless. In the midst of hardship, she was determined to press forward. Without determination, one cannot advance. Beverly recalled an encounter that she had with a social worker who had treated her poorly. Beverly, as kind as she was, replied back to this woman saying: “When I am behind that desk one day, I am not going to treat people the way you do. I have dreams—you just can’t see them now.” Beverly, a mother of four biological sons, and now nine foster children, is one of the most motivated, successful and faith-filled individuals I have ever met. Self-belief escalated her individual goals and dreams. Or consider the story of my student named Jen, who was rejected by society, bullied for years, and told by a teacher that she would not succeed. Somehow, in moments of weakness and ridicule, she was able to keep strength and forge ahead. The power of self-belief! A sweet, innocent and optimistic four-year-old girl was told by her mother and father every night that she was powerful, strong, beautiful and loved. How are you expressing your confidence? Self-belief is something that you decide ahead of time so that whenever challenges or obstacles come your way, you are able to face them with conviction and faith. As the holidays approach, remember that the greatest gift of all is the ability to go after your dreams, take risks and embrace your individuality. Oh, and this holiday season, do something extraordinary for someone else. Give of yourself by showing honor. Merry Christmas. Xoxo

Monica Murphy LOVE YA,

52- smart girl’s guide

Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!

Each month, Smart Girl’s Guide empowers girls to be their own Smart Girl and share their smarts with others. We would not be able to share our smarts without the love and support of so many people. There are a few we would like to especially recognize. Bronagh Jones, for showing us around Manhattan and being the perfect Smart Girl for our first holiday issue. Thank you for making us laugh and getting us in the Christmas spirit! Eleanore Harte and Abigail Slone, who are the best graphic design team anyone could ever ask for. Thank you for your patience, creativity, and kindness! Aneth Batamuliza, for showing us what life is like in Rwanda. Your story is so inspiring! Thank you for always supporting The Smart Girls Group. Monica Murphy, who tirelessly promotes SGG every opportunity she gets. Thank you for sharing our story with The Observer, PBS, and your smart phone app! Marina Dooney, for being our eyes into the University of St. Andrews. We love your story and are so happy you are a part of the SGG sisterhood! Ava Gagliardi, for dedicating so much time to SGG. We know that this is just the start and it means the world to us to have you on our team! And of course, thank you to all of our Smart Story Spreaders. Without you, we would still be the little 9-person team who dreamed of publishing a fifteen-page magazine. We wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Smart Girl's Guide Issue No. 8  
Smart Girl's Guide Issue No. 8  

Smart Girl's Guide is a monthly digital magazine published by The Smart Girls Group.