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updated: 7/21/2015 7:29 PM

Stanford University students giving girls the power to make change

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  • Bob Chwedyk/bchwedyk@dailyherald.comA closer look at some of the dreams Barrington Middle School 7th and 8th grade girls wrote down on ribbons and attached to the RV driven by Girls Driving for a Difference.

    Bob Chwedyk/bchwedyk@dailyherald.comA closer look at some of the dreams Barrington Middle School 7th and 8th grade girls wrote down on ribbons and attached to the RV driven by Girls Driving for a Difference.

  • Bob Chwedyk/bchwedyk@dailyherald.comBarrington Middle School 7th and 8th grade girls attached ribbons to the RV driven by Girls Driving for a Difference after attending a leadership workshop at Barrington High School Monday.

    Bob Chwedyk/bchwedyk@dailyherald.comBarrington Middle School 7th and 8th grade girls attached ribbons to the RV driven by Girls Driving for a Difference after attending a leadership workshop at Barrington High School Monday.

 
 

Four Stanford University students calling themselves Girls Driving for a Difference stopped in Barrington this week on their 10-week tour of the country, specifically to work with middle school girls.

Their workshops are intended to give young girls the tools, inspiration and creative confidence to explore their purpose, enact social change in their communities and envision their own dreams, according to the group's website.

Katie Kirsch, one of the group's co-founders, said they are asking girls everywhere they go to come up with lists of problems in their community as well as problems in the world.

Elise Farley, a student at Barrington Middle School, brought up air pollution. She said she learned more about the issue after meeting someone from China, where the problem is especially bad.

"I want the air to get better so people in China don't have to wear masks," Elise said.

Kirsch said they also asked each girl to write their dream for improving the world on a ribbon and added it to the group's custom-painted RV.

"It is a way to physically make you a part of the journey," Kirsch said.

Elise said her dream is that girls have more power in the world.

Girls Driving for a Difference began their tour six weeks ago in the San Francisco Bay Area. Kirsch said they've been through 13 states so far including their last stop, Minnesota.

"It feels like we've been in the RV for two years," Kirsch joked.

The other members of the group are Jenna Leornard, Rachel H. Chung and Natalya Thakur.

The group raised just over $35,000 on Kickstarter to fund their trip, in addition to getting some corporate funding.

Track their progress on the website www.girlsdrivingforadifference.com or on Twitter as @GirlsDrivingFor.

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