Mountain2Mountain’s long time advisor and Combat Apathy Ambassador, Heidi Volpe came to me with an idea.
She told me she had been sharing my TEDx talk about the Power of Voice. ”Your TEDx talk is the heartbeat of what Mountain2Mountain is all about. Its not about building a school, or literacy projects, or any myriad of things Mountain2Mountain does, its about the overarching theme of the power of voice. So let’s amplify the voices in support of women and girls around the world. How could children and communities use their voice and put that energy into action?”
How, indeed. That’s the hard part.
Yet the latest chapter in Mountain2Mountain’s vision is a domestic program, called Strength in Numbers that is all about voice. Finding it. Amplifying it. Using it to take a stand. Empowering others to use theirs. The theme of voice has always been there – we just didn’t hear it.
Heidi created a way for schools and communities to creatively use their voice, and make it heard, in a visual and stimulating way. The Penny For Your Voice Project is simple in its beauty.
Step One: Get a bucket or donation jar, some pens, a tree, download the hangtags, and get your creative hat on…. and you’re ready to launch your tree.
Step Two: Put a penny in the bucket, write down your biggest wish for the women and girls of the world, hang it on the tree.
Step Three: Document the process with video, photos, and share some of the wishes, and we’ll post them here so that every tree has a voice, every school and community involved is heard.
Get creative – use a tree, create a tree, paint a tree, this is perfect for schools and communities to rally around the power of voice and the belief that women and girls deserve to be heard! Traditionally, wishing trees were specific trees that people left their wishes on that they believed to have spiritual powers. Many trees had were specifically coin trees – and coins were left by or in the trees as an offering. Much like a wishing well is used today.
Heidi launched the first tree in Topanga, CA this December at her local nursery. We’ll be creating a tree with a group of artists in Kabul this spring. Our participants in the Strength in Numbers program will all be creating trees in their communities after the camps. I’ll be reaching out to schools I’ve spoken at previously to get involved and we’ll be sharing the stories and wishes and voices HERE in creative ways.
The pennies, quarters, and hopefully dollars raised will go towards Mountain2Mountain’s continued work to empower and create value with women and girls in conflict zones – ensuring that a ripple of change continues thanks to the power of voice!