Olivia Allen, 10, has already taken her first steps to becoming a philanthropist.
Allen, who lives in Louisville, Kentucky, hosted a free conference for her peers on Aug. 22 titled, “I Can Be: Girls Confidence Conference.”
“It’s important to give back,” Allen told The Huffington Post. “There are a lot of people in our community and if I help someone, they’ll help someone else… and it will be a cycle.”
About 50 girls ages 8 to 12, and their parents, attended the conference as Allen led her peers in a morning filled with workshops that touched on the physical, social and psychological challenges young girls face, mainly by tackling wavering self-esteem.
Allen said, this conference was necessary because she noticed a decline in morale among young girls in her community.
“I realize some girls’ confidence goes down when they start puberty,” Allen said, admitting that she even noticed a difference in her own at times. Because of this, she said, she wanted to do something to uplift others.
Allen spent this summer planning the conference mainly on her own and had financial assistance from her mother, Anitra Allen. She contacted speakers to help lead three separate workshops that focused on envisioning success, turning a passion into a business and personal health care. The conference also featured two keynote speakers (Barbara Sexton Smith and Ashley D. Miller) who addressed confidence and pursuing your dreams. Greg Fischer, mayor of Louisville, opened the conference and commended Allen for her work in the community.
According to her mom, Allen has always had a caring spirit. She said, her daughter once told her after seeing a panhandler one day after school, “Mommy, every time I see a homeless person, I just want to raise money to buy them a house.” She suggested her daughter do something more feasible to help out her community and Allen took her advice, she said, by holding a toy drive in March where she collected more than 100 toys for Kosair Charities. One month following the toy drive, Allen organized a food drive where she fed underprivileged children in her community.
The confidence conference was Allen’s most recent community outreach event, but she told HuffPost it wouldn’t be her last. She plans on continuing her work in the community and holding another conference for girls soon, she said.
“The importance of having a conference like this is to show girls what they can be,” her mom told HuffPost. “I never want to tell her she can’t do anything.”
Allen attributes much of her confidence to both her parents and her spiritual upbringing. Her career aspirations currently include everything from becoming a fashion designer, mathematician, news anchor, actress, singer and more.
“It was important to me because it was important to her,” her mom said. “Confidence is one of those things that can dictate what you decide to do and that will influence who you think you are.”