Life-changing Summit for Girls in Peru

I started the organization, Advice to My Thirteen-Year-Old Self (The Advice Project), to support the empowerment and education of teen girls through a series of workshops and classes for teen girls at schools and community centers in New York City.

Workshops use letters from a book I’m developing written by women from around the world as teaching tools that not only start discussions about important topics pertaining to gender equality, but they inspire teens to write their own reflective essays on the issues they feel are important.

Now, for the first time, I’ve put together an international program for teen girls from around the world. The Advice Project Global Leadership and Empowerment Summit will take place for two weeks in the rainforest in the Peruvian Amazon River Basin, and will be an opportunity for participants to both learn how to address issues that affect girls and women and to also have their ideas voices be amplified by sharing videos and articles that they create.


Life-changing Summit for Girls in Peru

image courtesy of INOTAWA Lodge, the host of the 2015 Advice Project Summit


Through classes, trainings, writing, and adventures led by five strong university professors, teachers, mothers, and guides, and in partnership with conservation and education institutions in the region, teen participants will learn how to partner global problems affecting girls and women with solutions, and will become voices for their communities.

Daily writing, empowerment, global citizenship, music, art, and “her-story” classes will be integral components of the summit, as well as amazing hikes through the rainforest and adventures to nearby lakes to learn about medicinal plants, animals, and delicate rainforest ecosystems.


 Life-changing Summit for Girls in Peru


The summit not only will impassion teen girls, but it will be a culmination of all of my passions: writing, women’s issues, travel, and working with teen girls. To say I am excited about the trip is an understatement. So far, we have a handful of girls from the USA, a couple from Cameroon, one from New Zealand, and yet another from Canada signed up to attend – a truly global group of young people!


 Life-changing Summit for Girls in Peru


Applications to the 2015 Peru program are currently being reviewed and accepted. Space is limited, so I urge teens to apply today and join us on this life-changing summit!


Life-changing Summit for Girls in Peru

For more information about the program and to download an informational packet, please visit:



Melissa Banigan is the Founder and Managing Director of Advice to My Thirteen-Year-Old Self (The Advice Project), which empowers teen girls through writing and discussion. She is also a fiction writer, editor and marketer serving clients in the arts, finance and education such as Scholastic Inc. and NYU-Polytechnic School of Engineering. Melissa has spent many years developing and leading programs that have empowered teens in New York City inner-city schools, and has run workshops that have helped parents become more powerful partners in their children’s educations.

Melissa attended Columbia University for Art History and is a current faculty member of the Wandering Educators Youth Blogging Program. She is also a single mom of a pre-teen daughter. Believing that raising a daughter to be a strong, independent, world-changing girl is as simple as finding her powerful women mentors, Melissa travels the world for many months at a time with her daughter so that they can broaden their horizons and become better global citizens. You can find Melissa at:


All photos courtesy and copyright Melissa Banigan, except where noted