Rocio Ortega is a girl with a vision. A 2013 HALO Awards honoree, Rocio is an advocate for women's empowerment through her involvement with an awesome organization called GlobalGirl Media (GGM). She's a Los Angeles native, but brings her passion for new media, education, and service to the international stage. We caught up with Rocio to learn more about GGM and hear about her HALO giveback experience with Chris Paul!
GlobalGirl Media is a non-profit organization dedicated to training new media skills to girls around the world. Rocio explained how there are a lot of negative representations of women in the media today, a truth which GGM aims to dissolve. In her own words, "We figured the best way to change media is by actually giving the camera to a young girl and letting her tell her own story." The organization holds month-long workshops to teach girls how to film, edit, and produce their own content, but also how to develop their own voice. Through training sessions and guest lectures by female industry professionals, young girls become their own journalists, reporters, and news anchors.
Rocio was a part of the 2010 class and returns every summer to train young girls. When we asked her about her experience on the teaching side, she made it clear that the training extends far beyond learning how to open up a tripod. They begin with technical skills, such as learning how to operate a camera or use editing software, but expand into larger concepts, such as the importance of media ethics and how women uniquely, and importantly, fit into the mix. Rocio explained, "We combine different values and along the way [the girls] realize how it's such a strong tool for change. For the first time they are being introduced to the word 'feminism' and [the concept of] women's rights. At the end of every workshop they're always empowered to do more than they were before."
This past summer, Rocio participated in GlobalGirl Media's first-ever global summit in Chicago. GlobalGirls from South Africa, Morocco, Chicago and Los Angeles came together for the first time to not only complete a one-week intensive digital media training program, but also build relationships with similarly motivated, passionate girls around the world. One of the most moving things Rocio learned from the experience was this: "At the end of the day we're still the same, even though we come from opposite sides of the world. GlobalGirl Media has given us a running start in our lives to make global connections."
For her HALO giveback experience, Rocio got to meet LA Clippers basketball player Chris Paul! A big basketball fan herself, Rocio said her time with Chris Paul was both fun and inspiring: "He gave me 101 courses on how to golf and bowl and that was really sweet. But he also took the time to mentor me and tell me 'thank you' and tell me to keep doing what I'm doing -- working for global female empowerment."
Rocio is currently a sophomore at Wellesley College, and when she's not studying working for female empowerment around the world, she loves listening to Big Sean, Lady Gaga, Paramore and watching Awkward.
Don't miss Rocio and the rest of the honorees at the 2013 HALO Awards this Sunday, November 17th at 8pm ET!