Tweens will do almost anything to blend in. Bryce is 9 years old and into math. But math isn't popular, so she keeps quiet. Suzy, 11, loves to sing. But one day her friends laugh at her singing, so she gives it up. Lauren, 12, decides to start wearing makeup, because that's what the cool kids do. She wants to be a part of the group.
This behavior is called "camouflaging," a survival tactic employed by tween girls in which they hide themselves in order to blend in. Many adult women and child psychologists say it is the beginning of girls' surrendering their true, authentic voices. But it doesn't have to be that way.
The TIA Girl Club supports and encourages girls through positive words, mentors and community. This inclusive club uses a simple affirmative statement – “Today I Am” – to teach girls how to use words to strengthen their voices, value themselves, envision success and pursue their dreams. The empowering messaging also helps girls combat “camouflaging,” a process of hiding their true selves in order to fit in.
The TIA Girl Club introduces girls to positive role models who have worked tirelessly to fulfill their dreams and overcome obstacles. These TIA Trailblazers include international explorer Hillaree O'Neill, ballerina Ashley Bouder, award-winning filmmaker Sarah Moshman, NYT best-selling author/entrepreneur Amanda Hesser, fashion designer Amy Smilovic and race car driver Colette Davis.
As you know if you watched the video above, with the launch of this Kickstarter campaign, TIA Girl Club will begin a box subscription service. One box is a welcome kit. The other is a monthly box (called the TIA Treasure Box) that introduces our TIA girls to a new Trailblazer each month.
Girls ask us, "How do I become a member?" Anyone who follows us is a member. Again: any girl who wants to be in the TIA Girl Club just has to follow us. We want to include EVERYBODY – that’s why when you go on our Instagram, Twitter or Facebook, you can participate in community activities, receive daily inspiration and learn from TIA Girl Club about how to speak power into your life. All for free.
After sharing stories and listening daily to nearly 6,000 tween girls through TIA's Instagram, I realized our girls are craving more from TIA Girl Club, such as the traditional items included in an old-school membership kit -- membership card, club handbook, stickers, pen. And, like all tweens -- and grown ups -- tween girls love opening up their mailbox and finding something JUST FOR THEM.
So, here it is: a Kickstarter-only TIA Girl Club Welcome Kit! Again, we don’t call it a "membership kit," because membership to TIA Girl Club is free. But it does have a bunch of amazing items that’ll make you or your TIA Girl feel extra special and oh so official:
1. Personalized TIA Girl Club Membership Card - For Kickstarter backers only, each Membership Card will be personalized.
2. TIA Hummingbird Necklace – A hummingbird beats its wings in the symbol for infinity, which reminds us of the infinite power that lies within us. The Hummingbird also resonates with TIA Girl Club because it symbolizes playfulness, joy and resilience.
3. The TIA Girl Club Handbook – The TIA Handbook is a fun, colorful guide to being a TIA Girl. It is full of inspiration and empowerment for your TIA Girl.
4. Inspirational Card & Stand – The Welcome Kit comes with the first Inspirational Card and a TIA Stand to be used to display the Card in a special place, such as her bedroom or bathroom.
5. Trailblazer Trading Card – You can be it if you can see it! Each month TIA Girls will connect with and be inspired by a different TIA Trailblazer, a positive female role model on one of our Trailblazer Trading Cards. Each card features a Trailblazer’s bio and our "TIA 7 Q's" a 7-question interview with questions sourced from the TIA Girls themselves.
6. Magnetic TIA Picture Frame – This DIY fun item is a magnetic picture frame AND a bunch of small word magnets with TIA empowerment words.
7. TIA Postcard – Each month a TIA Girl will receive a special TIA Postcard that is all about spreading love to your personal community. We encourage our TIA Girls to send postcards to family, friends or anyone they believe may need encouragement or support!
8. TIA Pen – Your TIA Girl can fill in fun lists (the top five favorite things about yourself!) in the Handbook or write those TIA Postcards. Every TIA Girl will receive her own, TIA-branded multi-ink pen.
9. TIA Stickers – Every TIA Girls needs a handful of TIA Stickers to decorate her school notebooks, phone, locker, and computer.
I realized I could help girls stay true to their authentic selves and follow their dreams by introducing them to positive women who had done that very thing. Countless successful women point to female role models who inspired them, as Oprah Winfrey identifies Maya Angelou.
Our monthly TIA Treasure Box introduces a TIA Girl to a different TIA Trailblazer who will talk about:
- Her life's journey
- How she achieved her dreams
- Inspiring messages for the TIA Girls
Later in the month, TIA Girls will be invited to connect directly with our Trailblazers through a live Internet event. In addition, there will always be fun surprises in the box that will give our girls a taste of that Trailblazer's field or put a smile on a TIA Girl's face.
Each Treasure Box will contain these special items:
1. Letter from our Trailblazer – Each letter is written to inspire, empower, and motivate a TIA Girl to stay true to her authentic self, follow her dreams, and persevere in the face of challenges.
2. Trailblazer Trading Card – You can be it if you can see it! Each card features a Trailblazer’s bio and our "TIA 7 Q's," a 7-question interview with questions sourced from the TIA Girls themselves.
3. TIA Postcard – The postcard is all about spreading love to your personal community. We encourage our TIA Girls to send postcards to family, friends or anyone they believe may need encouragement or support.
4. TIA Inspirational Message – Words matter! The TIA Inspirational Message reminds the TIA Girl to think and speak what she wants to see in her life. Repeating a positive affirmation first thing in the morning is a great way for a TIA Girl to set a happy tone for her day.
5. TIA Charm – Each month a TIA Girl will receive a TIA Charm packaged in a beautiful organza drawstring bag with its own description card. We encourage a TIA Girl to add her charm to the TIA Hummingbird Necklace she received in the Welcome Kit. The Charm is our TIA Word of the Month, designed to inspire our girls to be intentional about their thoughts and words.
6. TIA Treasures – What's a Treasure Box without a few Treasures? Each Treasure Box will contain up to 3 TIA branded items such as shoelaces, keychains, lip balm, or headbands. Each item is specifically curated to inspire joy and support the spirit of our featured Trailblazer.
7. Trailblazer Box – We know girls love to collect things. Each month’s box is beautifully designed with collectability in mind.
(Everything in the TIA Treasure Box will meet standards required by the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act–CPSIA–of 2008.)
TIA Trailblazers are real-life miracles – women who have achieved their dreams and want to help other girls achieve theirs, too. They testify to the power of visualizing success and dreaming of what you can be. We believe that our TIA Girls, too, can be it if they can see it. So we’ve lined up successful women in many different fields to fuel their imaginations.
- January: NYC Ballet Principal Ballerina Ashley Bouder
- February: Red Bull Global Rallycar Driver Collete Davis
- March: Ski Mountaineer and Explorer Hilaree O'Neill
- April: Award-winning NYC Fashion Designer Amy Smilovic
- May: Bestselling Author and Entrepreneur Amanda Hesser
- June: Pilot Ali Wiley
- July: Award-winning Filmmaker Sarah Moshman
- August: Emmy Award-winning Casting Director Jennifer Euston
- September: Software Engineer/Coding Guru Rachel Thomas
- October: Technology Entrepreneur Jillian Darlington
- November: Veterinarian/Ironman Athlete Ingrid Kessler
- December: Olympic Heptathlete Chantae McMillan
I’m Vanessa Schenck, the mom of a tween girl named Julia. As a mother to a fifth grader, I see camouflaging first hand.
I’ve long believed that our thoughts and words determine the direction of our lives, and that the wisdom of the ages instructs us to concentrate on what we want in life, not what we DON'T want. Whatever we choose to dwell on, that's what we get more of. So when a girl says, "I am SO dreading going to school today -- I’m unpopular and bad at math,” she fosters that reality. However, when she says, "Today I am smart, beautiful, and talented -- and people like me!" she breathes energy and ability into herself.
These ideas are the foundation of TIA Girl Club, where we’ve created a community where all tween girls can come and learn the value of their true selves. I teach an empowerment language to tween girls, starting with the statement "Today I Am," so that they begin to understand that their words and thoughts can shape their world for the better.As I've raised my kids, especially Julia, I've incorporated these lessons to help her stay true to herself. I’ve also exposed her to stellar female role models, women who have conceived and achieved their own visions. We call these women TIA Trailblazers, and their example helps us support the dreams and aspirations of tween girls.
- In their 1992 book Meeting at the Crossroads, Lyn Mikel Brown and Carol Gilligan illuminated how strongly girls felt the need to maintain "perfect" relationships, implying that they felt they needed to change themselves and cater to the world around them.
- Rachel Simmons pointed out 20+ years later in The Curse of the Good Girl: Raising Authentic Girls with Courage and Confidence, little has changed.
- In a 2006 Girls, Inc. study, 74 percent of girls said they were told "not to brag" and that the "smartest girls aren't popular."
- Strategy One for the Dove Self-Esteem Fund concluded that 70% of girls do not believe that they are good enough, or do not measure up in some way and that 75% of girls with low self-esteem reported engaging in negative activities (cutting, eating disorders, bullying, smoking, and drinking)
- From 2006 to 2009, not one female character was depicted in G-rated family films in the field of medical science, as a business leader, in law, or politics
- 63% of California’s 400 largest public companies have no women among their highest-paid executives. Only 3% have a female CEO
- Of the nations 50 governors, only five are female. In other words, 90% are men despite women being 52% of the population
- The 113th Congress includes 20 women in the US Senate (out of 100) and 77 in the house of representatives (out of 453). Those are the highest numbers in history for both chambers, yet women only represent 20% of senators and 18% of representatives.
Although these findings and statistics are difficult to stomach, we can imagine what the world would be like if tween girls were taught a language of empowerment and ways to value their authentic selves and we want to teach girls that they have control of their reactions, thoughts and futures. That is why this campaign is so important to us, it is the catalyst to the change we want to see.
Please click above for a montage of our amazing TIA girls, and below for some "Mom love."
At this time TIA Girl Club has no revenue. We have spent our own time and money to build the community and attract Trailblazers. Now is the time to grow. Our Kickstarter is about more: more growth and empowerment, more TIA Girls and more Trailblazers. Right now we need to raise $30,000 to get the company started. This is literally kickstarting our company, and giving tween girls something that doesn't exist anywhere else in the market for tweens.
Please know: We are not taking profit here - all money raised goes to Treasure Boxes for tween girls and building our online community.
Once the Kickstarter campaign concludes, our boxes will be produced and shipped for the holidays. If the Kickstarter campaign is not successfully funded, the company will go on. As we stated above, we have a vibrant and growing community of TIA Girls. We will try to market the Treasure Box directly to those members and their parents. But the stakes right now are high. This is our best chance to start the Treasure Box service in a meaningful way and touch a large audience.
If you don't want to contribute, please just give us your good energy and please spread the word. That would be super valuable - your friends and your network are really important to achieving our goal. Thank you!
Risks and challenges
We have already produced prototypes of every item that will ship, and have negotiated pricing that allows us to give easy access to all Tia Girls who want Membership Kits and Treasure Boxes. However, shipping is a major cost and if the shipper increases prices, that will be a cost we will have to swallow. We do not anticipate that issue.
Scheduling challenges could cause changes in the Trailblazer lineup and could result in new Trailblazers being added. Please know that interesting, inspiring Trailblazers are always our first priority!
Our biggest challenge is that we need A LOT of people to hear about the TIA Treasure box, and buy them for the girls in their lives. The plan for the company is to grow to a community website, and eventually to real TIA clubhouses. But we are starting with the boxes because we see how much tweens respond to incredible women, and how much they love getting packages in the mail!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)