Tag Archives: Alexis Teixeira

Caela McCann And Alexis Teixeira Own It!

Though both graduated from Staples High School — Caela McCann in 2011, Alexis Teixeira 2 years later — and now attend Boston College, they did not know each other. They finally met last year, at a meeting of BC Women in Business.

Caela McCann

Caela McCann

Caela was vice president. She loved Alexis’ enthusiasm, and became her mentor. The friendship grew as they worked together on major projects, including a leadership retreat and networking events. Caela became president. Alexis — who is also director of female and gender affairs for the BC’s undergraduate government — was secretary.

Both women had big plans. Over the summer, they hatched a huge one: a women’s summit, called Own It!

The idea — based on a similar event at Georgetown University — was to celebrate women’s leadership. They’d bring together students looking to gain knowledge and skills, while providing plenty of interaction between speakers and attendees. Twenty campus organizations quickly signed on to help.

It was an enormous undertaking. Alexis — the conference chair — built an organizing team of 34 students. She oversees everything from alumni and speakers to police, food and marketing.

Caela — the conference’s executive director — handles contracts, finances and university liaison.

Caela McCann and Alexis Teixeira, taking a rare break from planning.

Caela McCann and Alexis Teixeira, taking a rare break from planning.

On Sunday, March 29, the 8-hour “Own It!” summit will feature workshops, breakout sessions, lectures, interviews, and social events with BC alumni, students, faculty and guests. The “day of celebration, learning and empowerment” is highlighted by 2 keynote addresses, from Kate White (former editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan) and Carrie Rich (founder and CEO of the Global Good Fund).

Tickets sold out in 1 day. And yes. men are invited.

Alexis Teixeira

Alexis Teixeira

The 2 organizers have long been leaders. At Staples, Caela was president of the Teen Awareness Group. Alexis captained both the swimming and tennis teams, and was a co-founder and president of Teen Vital Voices, a club that empowers women leaders in developing nations.

Now, Caela is a Hispanic studies major, and management and leadership minor. Alexis is double majoring in finance, and management and leadership.

They lead busy lives. But whenever they’re home on breaks, the 2 women — who graduated from the same school, without knowing each other — hang out together.

And plan their next empowering moves.

Music To The Rescue

On Friday, November 9, human rights activist Andeisha Farid comes to Christ & Holy Trinity Church (7 p.m.). She’ll talk about the orphanages she runs in Afghanistan. She shelters and feeds children, provides them with an education — and introduces them to music.

That intrigued Teen Vital Voices, a Staples service club. Members wanted to help.

They came up with the idea of collecting new or “gently used” small musical instruments.

In Westport, says club president Alexis Teixeira, many children start out learning to play an instrument, but then stop.

An Afghan orphan learns to play music.

“There are probably many instruments sitting in basements or attics collecting dust,” she notes. “I thought, ‘Why not ask for them to be sent to Afghanistan, where our country is already trying to make a difference.'”

Alexis contacted Staples librarians and David Winer, music supervisor for the district. They thought it was a great idea.

The librarians have set up the Staples library as the collection center for students to drop small instruments. Winer contacted all the teachers in Westport elementary middle schools, to get them involved.

Though the drive officially takes place starting Monday (November 5-9), Alexis already has already received a few instruments.

New or gently used small musical instrument may be dropped off at any Westport school’s music department with the note: “Teen Vital Voices, SHS (Andeisha Farid).” To make other arrangements — or for more information — call Alexis Teixeira at 203-256-8684.

Teens’ Vital Voices

Many freshmen spend their 1st year at Staples figuring out the school:  what activities to get involved in, which clubs to join, that sort of thing.  Leadership comes later.

Alexis Teixeira is not “many freshmen.”

Just a few months into her high school career, she’s already started a club.  Already, the club has had an impact — locally and internationally.

Alexis Texeira and Rebecca Lolosoli, during the Kenyan's visit to Westport.

The club is Teen Vital Voices.  It’s the 1st high school branch anywhere of Vital Voices Global Partnership — a not-for-profit organization launched in 1999 by Hillary Clinton and Madeline Albright to identify, train and empower women leaders around the globe.

A Vital Voices volunteer, Alexis’s mom told stories of her work.  The 9th grader was intrigued by Kakenya Ntaiya, who started a school in Kenya.  When Kakenya came to Westport to talk, Alexis invited several friends.

Kakenya’s vision inspired Alexis to organize a club.  Teen Vital Voices aims to make a difference in Kenyan girls’ lives, through the Kakenya Center for Excellence.  They assist the school financially, while befriending its students through correspondence and other activities.

Teen Vital Voices hopes to inspire similar clubs, in high schools and colleges.

This year, Staples members have heard from a State Department intern from Turkey; a Fairfield University professor from India, and Rebecca Lolosoli, who founded a safe haven village for women in Kenya.

Alexis has learned much about Africa — including the dearth of opportunities for women there.  “They get married at my age,” she says.  “They drop out of school.  There are rapes and pregnancies, and the blame is put on the girls.  They get kicked out of their homes.”

She also learned that — despite all the obstacles, and little material wealth — the girls at Kakenya have plenty of hope.

“Nobody really knows about all that here,” Alexis says.  “You don’t get the connection until you hear about it, and meet people who know.”

If more Staples students knew about the Kakenya School, she says, more would help.  And it’s easy:  Just $27 builds one school wall.

Teen Vital Voices has held bake sales.  They’ve decorated t-shirts for the girls.  They’re getting the word out through email, and a Facebook page.

“It’s not easy being a group of freshmen,” Alexis admits.  “But we’re trying.”

She’s also trying to get more boys to join Teen Vital Voices.  “It’s not just women’s issues — it’s about people,” she explains.

In just a few months, Teen Vital Voices has made an impact on Kenyans’ lives.  And on Alexis’.

“I’ve met some amazing women,” she says.  “They inspire me, and give me hope.”

Which is exactly what she and her friends do, from Westport to Africa.

(For more information on Teen Vital Voices, contact Alexis:  lilswimmer1294@aol.com)