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REAL GIRL: Write to Change

Picture sitting in class when your teacher asks you to take out a pencil for a quiz. If a pop quiz isn’t stressful enough, imagine that you didn’t bring any pencils because you couldn’t afford to buy them and when you ask your teacher to borrow one, the school doesn’t have any either!
That’s a similar sitch to the one that Ty’Sheoma Bethea found herself in at her middle school in Arkansas. So Ty decided to roll up her sleeves and write a letter to congress asking for some help. Little did she know her letter would make it way to President Obama and get the attention of the president of Walmart.
When Walmart heard about Ty’s story, they were inspired to start a program called Write to Change, giving schools in need the funds for supplies. Walmart asked teachers, parents and students to write to them about their supply needs. Then they got a panel of judges (including Bethea) who decided which schools would be recipients. Since, Walmart has awarded $8,000 to 20 schools. Pretty cool, huh?
Ty’Sheoma Bethea shows us why sometimes ya just gotta campaign for what you believe in!
Girl’s Life: When did you finally realize that you needed to take action for your school?
Ty’Sheoma Bethea: When my principal (Amanda Burnette) told the school that we needed help because it was old and falling apart. I thought to myself that something needed to be done.
GL: How did you get the attention of Walmart’s president?
TB: I got the attention of Walmart’s president when he saw me on TV with First Lady Michelle Obama during President Obama’s Address to Congress.
GL: How has your school benefited?
TB: My class has benefited by Walmart donating money to help the students at my school learn better. Now we don’t have to worry about having pencils and paper and other supplies.
GL: Did you ever think that all this positive change for multiple schools would come from your letter?
TB: Well, I didn’t expect all this change to happen, but I am very happy that it not only affected my school but also other schools across the country. This has changed my life in many ways; it has made me a more outgoing person and helped me speak out about the things I believe in.
GL: What would you say to other teen girls, like you, who think they are too young to make changes and take action?
TB: Don’t think that making a change as a young girl is impossible, because I am living proof that it can be accomplished. I would also say to always take action and speak what you believe, because it could really make a difference not only in your life, but in others’ lives too.
GL: How has this experience affected you?
TB: I feel more confident in myself now, because I took an extra step to speak about schools that were really in need of help, such as my school, but this also made me more confident about being a role model for other schools and kids that support me in my beliefs. I am inspired to tackle any other obstacles that head my way, so that I can do what is right and speak about things that should be noticed by the world.
For more info on the “Write to Change Program” visit
By: Megan Parker


9/20/2009 7:00:00 AM
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