She wanted to rock her short skirt with no fear, so she joined them

All around the world, V-Girls are changing how people think about V-Day, or Valentine's Day.

V-Girls are a global network of 6,000 fearless young women from 26 different countries. They're empowering themselves and their friends to make change in the world.

One way they're doing that is by celebrating love of self and sisterhood.

What does that actually mean in real life?

Members host workshops on self-confidence so others can walk down the street without catcalls seeping into their consciousness. They write monologues that proclaim "I'm an Emotional Creature" and don't apologize for it. They teach other girls to speak up for themselves without feeling shame.


V-Girls all over the world are being proactive in their communities. They're tackling big issues and fighting them head-on.

Here's what's on their minds:

"I want a world not only of tolerance, but peace, and security, and love. I want to be able to walk down the street and rock my short skirt and love my fat thighs. I want more women to be empowered and know that through passion they can achieve so much."

"I believe that if every girl in the world today stood up against pleasing, whether it's pleasing friends and doing stuff you're not ready to do, or pleasing a boyfriend by not using a condom, if we just stop pleasing and began refusing and being our authentic selves and keeping our identity true to who we are, then I believe we can realize the change we want."

"Nobody is allowed to abuse my body, nobody is allowed to take control of my body, nobody is allowed to take control of my mind, my spirit, and my soul. I'm a refuser. I will refuse to let anybody abuse who I am."

"We have to allow ourselves to be who we really are, and let that come out. You have to believe you're worth it. You have to believe you deserve it and that you can do anything. And the minute girls allow themselves to be who they really are and believe in themselves and love themselves, the world will change."

V-Girls is connected to a larger effort called V-Day. Most folks associate V-Day with Valentine's Day, which is cool, but it's also the name of a group, millions strong, that is committed to ending violence against women. The "V" in V-Day stands for vagina, victory, and Valentine.

"Girls are the future of our movement. Women are the primary resource of our planet. It is imperative to educate and nurture future activists so we can see our vision of a world free from violence against women and girls come true." —V-Day

Now that says more to me than any store-bought Valentine ever could.

Check out the video below to hear from these brave girls.

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Courtesy of Macy's

In many ways, 18-year-old Idaho native, Hank Cazier, is like any other teenager you've met. He loves chocolate, pop music, and playing games with his family. He has lofty dreams of modeling for a major clothing company one day. But one thing that sets him apart may also jeopardize his future is his recent battle against a brain tumor.

Cazier was diagnosed in 2015. When he had surgery to remove the tumor, he received trauma to his brain and lost some of his motor functionality. He's been in physical, occupational, and speech therapy ever since. The experience impacted Cazier's confidence and self-esteem, so he's been looking for a way to build himself back up again.

"I wanted to do something that helped me look forward to the future," he says.

Enter Make-A-Wish, a nonprofit organization that grants wishes for children battling critical illnesses, providing them a chance to make the impossible possible. The organization partnered with Macy's to raise awareness and help make those wishes a reality. The hope is that the "wish effect" will improve their quality of life and empower them with the strength they need to overcome these illnesses and look towards the future. That was a particularly big deal for Cazier, who had been feeling like so many of his wishes weren't going to be possible because of his critical illness.

"In the beginning, it was hard to accept that it would be improbable for me to accomplish my previous goals because my illness took away so many of my physical abilities," says Cazier. His wish of becoming a model also seemed out of reach.

But Macy's and Make-A-Wish didn't see it like that. Once they learned about Cazier's wish, they knew he had to make it come true by inviting him to be part of the magical Macy's holiday shoot in New York.

Courtesy of Macy's

Make-A-Wish can't fulfill children's wishes without the generosity of donors and partners like Macy's. In fact, since 2003, Macy's has given more than $122 million to Make-A-Wish and impacted the lives of more than 2.9 million people.

Cazier's wish experience was beyond what he could've imagined, and it filled him with so much joy and confidence. "It is like waking up and discovering that you have super powers. It feels amazing!" he exclaims.

One of the best parts about the day for him was the kindness everyone who helped make it happen showed him.

"The employees of Macy's and Make-A-Wish made me feel welcome, warm, and cared for," he says. "I am truly grateful that even though they were busy doing their jobs, they were able to show kindness and compassion towards me in all of the little details."

He also got to spend part of the shoot outdoors, which, as someone who loves climbing, hiking, and scuba-diving but has trouble doing those activities now, was very welcome.

Courtesy of Macy's

Overall, Cazier feels he grew a lot during his modeling wish and is now emboldened to work towards a better quality of life. "I want to acquire skills that help me continue to improve in these circumstances," he says.

You can change the lives of more kids like Cazier just by writing a letter to Santa and dropping it in the big red letterbox at Macy's (you can also write and submit one online). For every letter received before Dec. 24, 2019, Macy's will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish, up to $1 million. By writing a letter to Santa, you can help a child replace fear with confidence, sadness with joy, and anxiety with hope.

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