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New V-Girls Blog: "DIV - Spark a Movement Through the Creative Spirit"


Originally published in:
V-Girls
07/04/2013

We celebrate independence by highlighting amazing girls who take it upon themselves to create change in the world through art. Do It V (DIV) is a weekly column featuring talented V-Girls around the globe who are inspired to make art, fashion, technology and other DIY projects in the name of activism and philanthropy. If you’re interested in featuring your creativity, submit a blog post

By Maya Penn, V-Girl


Hi! My name is Maya Penn. I’m a 13 year old artist, animator, designer, philanthropist, environmentalist, and girls rights activist. I am the CEO of Maya’s Ideas, a company I started in 2008 when I was just 8 years old. I create handmade artisan crafted eco-friendly accessories and clothing. 10-20% of my profits go to local and global charities and environmental organizations. My items are sold all over the world to Denmark, Italy, Australia, Canada, and more. A lot of people ask me, why is you’re business eco-friendly?  I did some research and found out about how some dyes in clothing or the process of even making the items was harmful to the people and the planet by generating a great amount of toxic waste. I thought: how can helping the environment tie into my business? I immediately knew Maya’s Ideas had to be eco-friendly.

Me and the beautiful Eve Ensler!

I’ve been drawing since I could hold a crayon and I’ve been making flip books since I was 3 years old. Animation has always been my first love. I love to use creativity to give back and encourage other girls to find their voice and what they’re passionate about. What I love about art whether it’s through painting, acting, dancing, or music is that you can tell a story and a spark a movement through the creative spirit that is art. Art comes in many forms and it’s a way we can express ourselves. When I went to V-DAY I brought my friends and family and it was a life-changing and empowering experience. I truly learned the power of art. All around me there was poetry, dance, and music. One Billion Rising is an artistic movement, it’s activism through art.

When I was about 4 years old my dad showed me how to take apart a computer and put it back together again and that really started my love for technology. I built my first website myself in HTML and I’m learning Python and JavaScript and I’m really hands on in all aspects of my business. I also love to write and post on my blog.

I was so honored to meet Nobel Peace Prize winner Professor Muhammad Yunus!

I work with lots of other cool organizations too. I’m part of the Ian Somerhalder Foundation’s Kids/Youth division, I’m also a member of The Pollination Project’s Youth Grantmaking Advisory Board. I was panelist at the economic empowerment summit that was being presented by the National Center for Civil and Human Rights for teen age girls. I’m a contributing writer for Live Thrive.org, and I’m a frequent speaker for Girls Inc. of Atlanta. I’ve also done a TEDx Talk about being a young entrepreneur with a sustainable business. I’m really passionate about V-Girls and I can’t wait to connect, grow, and unleash creativity with other awesome girls and women all over the world! :)

Some blueberries from my organic garden that I started about 4 years ago.