An interview with Regina

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We asked Regina, age 15, some questions about love, equality and being a girl. Can you relate to her answers?
We sure can.

What does being a girl mean to you?
Regina: If you are a girl then you must have encouragement and plan for your life. You must also have determination and self esteem.

What do you think about equality?
R: To my own understanding, equality means everyone is equal because God’s created everyone. Equality also means that you should give respect to everyone whether white or black, rich or poor, small or big, and smart or slow.

How do you show love?
R: How I love myself is by coming to school every day, studying my lessons, participating in class, listening to my teachers, following instructions, and showing every one love. I can also love my family by making peace when there is conflict, giving everybody my opinion when there is no good advice and helping them when they are in need of anything. I can also love my friends by caring for them when they are sad or upset, by helping them with their works when they are lot by also giving them good advice to make a rightful or good decisions.

What does More Than Me mean to you?
R: More Than Me means lots of things. Example, it means making a big difference, it means to help others who are in need, it also means to change the world, my country, and my community.

What do you hope for for girls not in school?
R: The girls who are not in school I hope they should fight hard and make their dreams comes true by asking for support so that they can be in school, but I think they are lack of support so that is why they are not in school. But by the help of More Than Me, I think they will be in school.

Regina won her 1st class spelling bee this week!

Regina is right. A lot of girls in her neighborhood lack the support to go to school. If you’d like to be a support system for a new girl in school, you can change her story today. We wish you a Happy International Women’s Day, and we hope you celebrate the amazing women and girls in your life!

Love,

The MTM Family

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You text, she wins.

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What happens when you text to give? You donate $10 to our GlobalGiving Project – Change Her Story – Get 50 More Girls in School! Here’s a breakdown for ya:

We are adding 50 girls to the MTM Academy next year. We chose this number because we want to focus on real outcomes for the girls, rather than scale. We want to grow in a way that makes sense.

Last week we had a spelling bee and we thought, wow. Last year, a lot of these girls were on the street selling, and now they’re in school spelling. Competing in a spelling bee, even! Getting to read in a library and learn how to use computers. Mastering phonics, addition and subtraction. Receiving regular check ups and deworming pills. Eating two healthy meals and feeling safe each day.

We need your help. Give #50moregirls a chance at a brighter future by sending them to school at the MTM Academy.

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B’s Legacy Lives On!

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We experienced a tragic loss last semester. In December, one of our beautiful young women, Beatrice, lost her life due to an enlarged heart and worms that had infected her stomach and lungs. Beatrice fought up until the last moment and somehow grasped, at 13 years old, that her life and her pain could be about more than just herself. Three days before she passed, she said, “I am fighting so that no other student, no other young woman has to be in this condition, has to lie in this hospital bed.” Her death shook our community, but we refuse to let her strength and spirit pass along with her.
This month, we opened the “Be Your Best Self” Library in honor of Beatrice with support from the British Ambassador. And two weeks ago, we dewormed 124 students. It wasn’t beautiful watching our students struggling to pass the worms, but with every worm-free stomach comes the possibility of a healthier, longer life. We felt Beatrice’s spirit smiling down on us seeing that we are doing everything in our power to continue her fight that no student will have to lie in that hospital bed.

We will continue to grow our library and more and more books have been coming in. Thank you to everyone who has supported the “Be Your Best Self” Library thus far! If you’re interested in becoming a supporter, please email [email protected].

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Your App Questions Answered.

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What is the More Than Me App? The More Than Me App asks you to think more carefully about your daily purchases. Instead of buying a $2 coffee, you could #forgo that money and donate it to More Than Me. Did you know that $2 equals the price of one dose of malaria medication? Your daily decisions really can have a #BIGimpact.

Does the App use real money? Yes. When you decide to forgo an item, you choose the amount you would have paid for it, and that amount gets donated to More Than Me.

Why should I forgo? Besides the kudos you’ll get from all your friends, we have a special Valentine’s Day challenge for you. Forgo $25 this week and you’ll get a personalized valentine from the girls!

Why else should I forgo? Well, because it will make your heart smile. And that’s a promise.

Download the app at https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/more-than-me/id783497664?mt=8 and email [email protected] with any questions! #Forgo #forthegirls today. We know you want to!

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Princess Matters.

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Today is National Human Trafficking Awareness Day.

Here are some facts that shed light on the context our girls live in:

AllAfrica.com recently wrote an article about the FIRST person convicted of human trafficking in Liberia. Our founder, Katie, wanted YOU to hear her response:

Dear More Than Me Family,

I just read the “All Africa” story about child slavery in Liberia. I’m angry. It’s just not okay the way these young children are being treated. I don’t need to read about it in the news because I know these children. Many of them were our girls’ stories before they came to the Academy. Princess, who at 8, lived with her Grandma, but had a full-time job selling water in the pouring rain or under the beating hot sun. She had never gone to school, but now she’s enrolled in the MTM Academy.  Or Musu, who at age 6 sold peanuts from the top of her head in the slums wearing her broken flip flops. She followed me and hid every time I’d look back at her. Now Musu is also enrolled in the Academy. For our 120 girls, it’s not just school. The Academy is the only safe place they have and they don’t ever want to go home.

Every single day other children walk past and stare through our gates. They have buckets or wheelbarrows of used clothes and it breaks everything in me, I wonder what they think. I wonder how they feel. Sometimes I go out and talk to them and kiss them and play with them. Other times, I try as hard as I can to ignore them. The needs inside our gates are already overwhelming. I think of Mother Teresa. She couldn’t physically help all the time, but she loved. I try to too; I want to be that. 

No young child, Liberian, American, Pink, Green or Yellow should be hungry on the street working. I’m the first to admit I don’t have all the answers, but I would give my life for these children a million times over. I don’t get it, like Macintosh said when he was in America, “It’s just not fair.” I want to scream, but since that doesn’t really do anything, may our work with MTM scream to the world. There is something so much bigger than just ourselves, and may its impact echo throughout the world.

Princess Matters,

Katie

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#GetStreet with us.

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We are in awe of your support. Thank you for spreading the word and helping girls get off the street. Tomorrow is Match Day! Where will you be at noon ET, 9am PT? (Hint: https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/morethanme-girls-academy/)

Your #getstreet photos are taking Facebook by storm! (click on an image to make it larger):

How to #getstreet:

Invite your friends to join this event: https://www.facebook.com/events/547026155384944/

Tomorrow, Tuesday December 3rd, at noon ET (9am PT) give to get girls off the street – https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/morethanme-girls-academy/

Don’t see your photo up there? Post it to our Facebook page and we’ll add it!
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TIME TO GET STREET

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We have a challenge for you.

Tuesday, December 3rd is #GivingTuesday, a day to give back to charity after Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday. This year, Microsoft is matching donations up to $1000 at 100%. They have $250K to give away in matching funds! Matching starts at exactly 12pmEST, and we need your help to invite people to take a stand against girls living and working on the street.

Here’s the deal: What would happen if you and 5 friends changed your profile pictures to something like this:Except it’s you holding the sign. What if you invited 20 friends to pledge to donate to More Than Me so that girls in West Point won’t have to sell their bodies for clean water anymore?

What if taking action was as easy as snapping a selfie? Here’s what you can do:

  1. Download and print this sign (or make your own): 
  2. Take a photo of yourself holding the sign in your neighborhood, outside your school, or at your local shopping center.
  3. Change your profile picture to this new photo!
  4. Caption the photo with this: “For the holidays, I’m taking a stand against girls living on the street! Join me: https://www.facebook.com/events/547026155384944/
  5. Invite your friends to the facebook event.
  6. On December 3rd, at 12pm EST, 9am PST – Donate! (We’ll send you the link through Facebook) Or spread the word!
  7. And remember, it’s not about you.
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I could feel the love of family in the room

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By: Macintosh Johnson

I feel welcome into America. I’m meeting so many people, they are kind and want to help. This morning was my 1st time speaking in front of people in America. I was nervous, but it went okay.

This afternoon I visited a high school. I was surprised to see the students with buckets that had the faces of the girls in Liberia on them – the students were collecting money. There was so much energy, and I was happy to get to be there! The young man who led the event was so friendly. I hope to see him again.

Tonight was extra special. There were 40 or 50 people all together. Grown men and women. All of the families invited me to come to their houses. The whole place was full of love. I received so many hugs. I cried when I told my story tonight, especially when talking about my mom who passed away. I could feel the love of family in the room and it reminded me of her.

Many people think Americans are rich and greedy. And it does hurt me how much people spend on things they don’t need, like coffee, especially when I know so many people who are in real need. My mom died because our family didn’t have $250 to treat her, but I think Americans do care, they just don’t really understand or know.

I feel blessed to meet such loving people.

—////

People in America so far seem like they live comfortable, nice lives. My closest friend so far is Manny. He’s Katie’s 7-year-old nephew.

Surprises along the way:
My 1st time on a plane, I was surprised that there were bathrooms. We don’t even have bathrooms in our neighborhood. I’m shocked about the sizes of houses and how few people live in them and how far the houses are from each other. The most surprising thing I’ve seen is the dead deer on the side of the road. If that was Liberia, the animal would be taken in seconds to use for food.

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Do you know what this means??

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Macintosh arrives in NYC in t-4 days! We are beyond excited for his visit; excited for all of the places he’ll go, and all of the wonderful people he’ll meet! When I asked Katie and Mac to tell me how they were feeling about this monumental occasion, this is what they had to say:

Katie

I just got off the phone with Macintosh. We were both screaming in excitement. He’s leaving Liberia in 3 days. I don’t think people understand what this means! Macintosh was born and raised in one of the poorest places in the world. He was abducted to fight in Liberia’s civil war as a child and then again as a young adult.

When I met him he was charging cell phones for a living. He’s barely left the slum, let alone Liberia, and now he’ll be coming all the way to America. This is a dream come true for him and for me! I cannot believe this; I can’t wait to show him so many things like bowling and concerts and my hometown and all my friends and ice cream (they don’t really have ice cream in Liberia)!

The last seven years I’ve known him he’s showed me his home and invited me in and made me feel like family. Now it’s our turn to return the love! Oh my Godddddd. Mac is coming to AMERICA, holy cannoli! *tears of joy

Macintosh

You can never tell how happy I am, this will be my first time leaving my country to get in to another country, this going to be a history in my life. The first thing that makes me happy is that I am going to get in an air-plane, this will be my first time to enter a plane!

I am happy to meet you all, happy to tell all the Americans the wonderful work that the More Than Me family has done in Liberia for the past four years. I am so, so happy and grateful to all the beautiful things and wonderful sponsors that are helping the young Liberian women in school.

Emily, I am very excited. I mean very, VERY excited.

Macintosh, we are very VERY excited to have you! For anyone who hasn’t heard Mac’s amazing story yet, here’s another look. And stay tuned for a map of where in the USA Mac will be. In the mean time, contact [email protected] with any immediate inquiries regarding his visit. Happy travels Mac! We can’t wait to see you state side.

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Meet the More Than Me Marathon Team!

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Choosing to run a marathon is no small “feet.” All puns aside, each of our six runners has an amazing story to tell. Discover how they decided to run 26.2 miles for our girls and help them reach their fundraising goal of $15,000 as a group!

Matt Gallo says…“It’s always been a dream of mine to run in the New York City Marathon. I have run 26.2 miles before, but never anything like this. More Than Me is giving me this awesome opportunity. What’s great about this race is the millions of dollars raised for big charitable and non-profit organizations. However, it’s easy to overlook the little guys. I’ve decided to work with More than Me because I believe that working this group would allow me to contribute more directly and see how I’m helping. I’ll be running a short 26.2 miles across the 5 boroughs or New York City. Every step, every cramp, every bead of sweat and blister and smile will be making something happen. 100% of the funds raised will help give these girls the education and quality of life they deserve. I am proud to be serving as a role model and inspiration to people in need.” Help Matt make something BIG happen.

A father-daughter kind of story. Katelyn and Richard Ducote came all the way from Georgia to run the ING NYC Marathon. They ran the marathon because it was an opportunity to spend time together doing something they both enjoy.  Richard’s niece, Katie Borghese (one of our amazing board members), introduced them to More Than Me and how the foundation helps young women avoid a life of misery through education. “Running for MTM is a blessing,” Richard said. Katelyn and Richard finished the race together at 4:32:34. Now’s your chance to congratulate them! Help Katelyn and Richard make their race count even more.

This is Katherine Galloway. “I live in Bernardsville, NJ.  I am married and have two children, Mikey(8) and Gracie(4).  My family has been wonderfully supportive as I trained for this race.  I have not run a full marathon in 10 years!  I am super excited about running in NYC and so happy to be doing it for More Than Me.  I was a high school math teacher before I had Gracie and I miss being in the classroom.  Seeing the pictures of the girls in class at the More Than Me Academy makes me so happy.   I am proud to be helping this amazing organization!” Get Katherine to her fundraising finish line today!

When Allie Hoffman saw Katie post a call for runners on her Facebook page, Allie, a friend of Katie’s, knew she had to do it. “I thought this would be a really good motivation for pushing me over the edge and finally surpassing everything I thought was possible,” Allie said.  Allie also just turned 30 and is using her birthday as a way to fundraise for the marathon. Allie finished at 4:22:11 – way to go! Help Allie make her 30th birthday count.

Stefanie is a long-time supporter of MTM and was invited by MTM to run!  She is also an avid athlete. Just one week earlier, she ran the Marine Corps Marathon.  Stephanie’s passion goes deeper than the physical training she endures.  Her passion is centered on spreading awareness about girls like Agnes and Beatrice to as many people as possible. Stephanie dreams of coming to Liberia one day to teach the girls photography and make a book out of their photos.  The book’s proceeds would go back to More Than Me, the girls would have a new skill, and their photos would be seen around the world. Make Stephanie’s dreams a reality today!

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108

mtm girls in school

464,112

Global Supporters

106

countries represented