Maya Penn, 13, exemplifies the message of empowerment. At age eight, Maya founded her company, Maya’s Ideas, an online shop that sells unique handcrafted, eco-friendly, sustainable, and often upcycled clothing and accessories.
This creative young lady, listed as one of 16 entrepreneurs in Forbes, designs everything—including her website. Plus she makes sure to donate a portion of her profits to charities and organizations, like Hosea Feed The Hungry, The Atlanta Community Food bank, The Ian Somerhalder Foundation, Livethrive.org, and The Captain Planet Foundation..
One of those charities is her own creation too. It’s called Maya’s Ideas 4 the Planet, a non-profit organization that helps the community, spreads environmental awareness, and encourages young girls to follow their dreams in nontraditional fields.
I asked Maya some questions about what message she would like to share with other girls in honor of International Day of the Girl, Friday, October 11, and about the Brave Girls Alliance (#BraveGirlsWant) which met in Times Square the same day. Her words appeal to all people universally. What an outstanding example she sets for young people everywhere!
You would make a wonderful example of a Brave Girl! Can you please share with me what makes you brave?
What makes me brave is the fact that I want to give back and do good in the world through my passions regardless of what people think or say. Being brave is finding that spirit within you to keep going. There are many other women and girls I’ve read about and met that are brave and have done amazing things. EVERYONE can be brave when they have a passion behind what they’re doing.
What defines beauty and style in your eyes?
Beauty comes from the inside out. God made you the way you are. When you accept yourself, you love yourself, and when you love yourself that makes you beautiful. You have to accept your flaws, because they’re what make you the awesome person you are.
I’d love to hear your thoughts about International Day of the Girl and the concept of #BraveGirlsWant. What do you think are important messages for girls to hear?
I encourage girls to follow their passions in traditional and non-traditional fields such as technology, science, architecture, animation, etc. Girls should not be afraid to let their voice be heard. They not only speak for themselves, but for other girls all over the world.
What were some key messages that you heard that allowed you to create your wonderful shop?
To do what you love, give back, and just go for it! Your age, race, gender, etc. doesn’t matter. You CAN make a difference and everyone has the power to change the world.
Friday, October 11 marked the third International Day of the Girl Child. In 2011, the UN dedicated the day to recognizing girls’ rights and the unique challenges girls face around the world, according to the Day of the Girl website.
There were many events going on around the world on behalf of the Day of the Girl, including a campaign called the Brave Girls Alliance (#BraveGirlsWant) which gathered in New York City’s Times Square and asked the media for more empowered and healthy female characters.
Maya Penn can be reached here:
Photos courtesy of Deidre Penn
- International Day of the Girl (shadesofsarah.com)
- Compassion International Recognizes the Role of Education During International Day of the Girl Child (prweb.com)
- Brave Girls Want to Take Back the Media (jennifershewmaker.com)
- 3 Must See Videos on Body Image (ediblefacial.com)