Women Working to Do Good is a series that Hello Giggles and the White House have been collaborating on. We will bring you stories of women in communities across the United States who we think are stars in their own right. Whether they are young entrepreneurs, active community organizers, or making a difference in a single life or community, we think these women are amazing and want to share their stories with you! Each story will also be featured on the White House blog, and we are working together to bring more strong female role models to the forefront.
Erin Schrode is a name that many of you may not know (yet). I however, have been hearing this name for years. I started hearing about Erin in high school (we both grew up in Marin County) when she launched her Teens for Safe Cosmetics campaign and subsequently Teens Turning Green. She launched this program at an incredibly young age because she believed her peers deserved to know about the horrible ingredients many of the mainstream cosmetic brands were using. She also knew that while people her age couldn’t make the decision to “put solar panels on their homes, they could change the lipstick or shampoo they used”, and just that small shift in lifestyle could be the start of a 24/7 eco-conscious life style and mind set.
Erin is a 20-year-old woman from Marin County, California who considers herself an “eco-renaissance” woman. When speaking to Erin you hear one thing over and over again, and that is that no matter what you are fighting for, or trying to change in the world, education must be at the center. “It is through education that you can actually change the world” she says. Changing the world that we live in is something Erin believes we can all do, and her excitement, passion, and eagerness to do something and do more is so sincere that in our short Skype session I found myself becoming restless for a challenge and a cause. Since her earliest initiative she’s grown her programming and ‘brand’ tremendously. As she grew up and as her life started changing and seeing new challenges the movements she created grew up with her. When she enrolled in NYU and started preparing for her move across the country to college she used “Teens Turning Green” to show how you could have a completely green dorm room. She wanted to prove that “style and sustainability could go hand in hand”, and she did.
The Schoolbag is Erin’s latest venture. She visited Haiti after the devastating earthquake left the country in rambles. After seeing the damage on TV Erin says she knew she had to “get to Haiti as soon as possible, and just find someway, anyway at all, to help”. While working in Haiti Erin overheard a group of aid workers and teachers talking about how if they had the supplies to teach kids they would do it themselves, so that despite the tragedy and tremendous loss these kids could maintain their education and have hope for a better life. She went back to New York and immediately began raising money on Facebook to fund her latest project, The Schoolbag. She wanted to contribute to them directly and decided the best way to do that was to give them the physical tools they needed to educate. “The kids wanted to learn and the teachers wanted to teach” she said, “they don’t care where they do it, in a tent or a collapsed building, they just need the materials to get by”. The initial goal was to send enough supplies for 11,210 (the date of the earthquake: 1/12/10). After a lot of hard work they were able to send over enough supplies for 14,000 kids. Because of Erin’s work there are 14,000 children in Haiti with the physical means for a better education. The direct difference she’s made is remarkable and so inspiring.
Erin told me she’s constantly asked how she does so much. Her response was simple, “How can you not? How can you stand by and watch what’s happening in the world and not step into action?” I think we can all take a cue from Erin and try a little harder to do more within our own lives and the lives of others. To start, try taking her 30-day eco life style challenge, “Project Green Challenge”. A project that challenges you to take 30 steps to take your life from conventional to conscious.
Check out Teens Turning Green here!
If there is a woman in your community who you think should be honored in this series, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!