Friday 5: What’s Your Inspiration?

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Every girl who wants to build her dream, spark a movement, or make a difference needs to start with the same ingredient: Inspiration.

Inspiration not only lets you know where to start, it’s what will keep you going as you struggle to meet your goal, whether that’s launching a new international business or starting a school-based drive for charity.

For today’s Friday 5, we collected smart insight from women about where they found their motivation. Read about what got them fired up, then share your own inspiration:

ONE: Creating Social Justice.  “As a senior at Princeton I felt like the whole world was open to me. In our country, that’s not a given. We aspire to be a place of equal opportunity, and yet where you’re born determines your prospects. The only way to solve that is to marshal the energy of our most promising future leaders.” — From Wendy Kopp, founder of Teach for America, a national teacher recruitment program which seeks to attract college graduates to the classroom, in 1991. Read more about her story here.

TWO: Saving the Environment. “When Hayley Hoverter was six, her mother, a single working mom, brought her along to her job at Starbucks, early in the morning before school. Even at that young age, Hayley found the volume of discarded sugar wrappers distressing. Now a high school junior, Hayley will combat that wastefulness by executing her business plan.”– From Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) press release about the winner of its 2011 NFTE National Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge. Haley was awarded the $10,000 prize for a business plan she created for eco-friendly sweetener packets. Watch her TEDx talk.

THREE: Thinking Globally. “The idea to create Impuwe was sparked when a Rwandan man named Richard stayed with Jessica and her family when she was in sixth grade. During the visit, Richard told Jessica about the genocide that had taken place in Rwanda in 1994 and described what life was like for many kids in the country. Jessica was shocked to learn that many girls couldn’t afford to go to school and enjoy a quality education like the one she was receiving.”–From Heart Of Gold profile on Jessica Markowitz (pictured here), who helped found Impuwe Richard’s Rwanda to raise money to support low-income girls in rural Rwanda, affording them the chance to complete their education.

FOUR: Supporting your Community. “I wanted to create a place where my sister and her friends could have fun and just be girls.” –From Like a Boss interview with Juliette Brindak,  CEO of an online company Miss O & Friends, offering girls ages 8-12 a safe and positive place to play games, take quizzes, ask questions, and enter contests. Read her interview here.

FIVE: Using Your Skills and Talents. “Women writers have a great deal to offer teen girls; and the school system, as it stands currently, is not able to give girls the one-on-one attention they need.”–Poet and singer/songwriter Keren Taylor, who combined her passion for writing and inspiring girls to create WriteGirl, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit organization for high school girls centered on the craft of creative writing and empowerment through self-expression. Read more of her story here.

Now tell us about the passion behind your project: What is inspiring you to start your own business or make a difference?

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