Standing tall in front of my childhood home is a great pine tree. It has been there ever since I can remember and soars above most trees in the neighborhood. It has survived blizzards, hurricanes, and strong gusts of wind during our summer rain storms. As a child, I remember collecting the pinecones dropped by the tree every year. Each one was different in its own beautifully intricate way.

The new ALEX AND ANI Pinecone Charm Bangle represents potential and strength. Pinecones start off quite small and vulnerable in the vast forest, but once the sun shines down on them and they start to grow, they become strong and tall trees that can grow where most other trees cannot.

The Pinecone charm supports Plan International USA’s Because I am a Girl programs. As a member of Plan’s Youth Advisory Board, I have been passionate about Plan’s work with gender equality and girls’ rights for many years. Every day, millions of girls are deprived of an education, proper healthcare, sanitation, and other basic human rights simply because they are girls. Plan works with vulnerable children, especially girls, in communities around the world by empowering them to learn, lead, decide, and thrive.

Because I am a Girl is Plan’s movement that strives to ensure that every girl, no matter where she lives, can become a strong, educated member of her community. Plan believes in the potential and strength of every girl. I am passionate about our work because when girls are empowered, they can change their community, and ultimately the world. I am honored to be part of an organization that works with girls to reach their full potential.

Plan and ALEX AND ANI are both located in my own backyard – the state of Rhode Island. I am thrilled to be supporting both organizations, knowing the cause that it supports. Because of the current partnership with Plan and ALEX AND ANI, over 1,200 girls have been given the opportunity to go to school, which truly shows what can be accomplished when two organizations come together to make a difference. The Pinecone bangle is a symbol of strength and resilience – millions of girls face struggles every day just because they are a girl, but with Because I am a Girl programs, they are empowered and able to thrive. When wearing the bangle, it reminds me of girls around the world that continue to reach their full potential, against all odds, every day.

— Rachel, Plan International Youth Advisory Board Member

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