As we celebrate International Women’s Day, we’re thinking about how far women have come in some parts of the world, and how far we still have to go in other parts. We’re also thinking a lot about what it means to help all girls and women get to that metaphorical “there” point. Which reminds us of a wonderful interview we had a couple years ago with Olympic Gold Medalist and UNICEF Kid Power Champion Meryl Davis.
In a candid conversation, Meryl opened up about her motivation, how she worked to achieve her goals, and what it means to be a hero to others. While today is about supporting equality and opportunity for every girl and woman around the world, Meryl’s story is relevant to all students, especially as we look to empower them with the 21st century skills they need to thrive in today’s world.
UNICEF: Where did your drive come from to be an ice skater and dancer?
“Since my first time on the ice, I remember feeling a freedom unlike anywhere else. I always found great joy in seeing my own improvement. On the ice, there was always a clear connection between hard work and growth.”
UNICEF: Growing up, what kind of obstacles did you face?
“My greatest struggle has been with self-confidence. Like so many young girls, I struggled to have a positive outlook on my appearance. That, along with learning challenges (I have dyslexia), made me question my value. Finding my inner strength over time has inspired me to help young girls today to see their unique value.”
UNICEF: What qualities enabled you to stick with your goals?
“Resilience is a quality I think I always had, and worked to make stronger. When faced with challenges, I realized I had two options: give up or push through. Giving up wasn’t an option I ever wanted. The ability to keep trying is key to success in everything we do.”
UNICEF: Why did you become a UNICEF Kid Power Champion?
“When I heard about the unique way Kid Power inspires kids, I had to be part of it. By doing good for themselves, kids are also rewarded by doing good for others. They understand the beauty in a giving, global community.”
UNICEF: How can we be empowered to be a hero to others?
“There are two important things to remember: every little bit helps and we’re stronger together. We often feel that what we can do won’t make a difference. Kid Power teaches us that you can make a huge difference in someone’s life with just one food packet. With a little effort, we can all be someone’s hero.”