How is it possible to Champion over 1,200 years of girls education in a small portion of your lifetime? How do you cultivate the next generation of global leaders? It can be done the Tammy Tibbetts way. Part of the secret is Multi-Media Storytelling and Using Social Media. A vision, passion, optimism, a lot of hard work and long hours. Lots of energy and plenty of drive ...
A girl with an education is unstoppable.
Our second Celebrating Women feature spotlight honors Tammy Tibbetts. Tammy is the co-founder and President of the non-profit organization She’s the First which sponsors girls’ education in low-income countries.
She is a first generation college graduate of The College of New Jersey, Class of 2007. Tammy graduated with a BA in Journalism, Summa Cum Laude and loves using Multimedia as a storytelling platform.
Two years after graduating college at age 23, she had an idea for a social media-driven campaign. It would inspire Millennial women to fundraise for girls’ education in low-income countries, who will be the first in their families to graduate with a secondary education.
Tammy initially shared her idea for She’s the First with a Facebook friend, Christen Brandt. On November 1, 2009, they launched it in the form of a YouTube video. That one video became a movement that now reaches millions and has sponsored more than 1,200 years of girls’ education.
The non-profit has over 100 chapters in high schools and colleges across the US, with approximately 400,000 members. It’s based out of New York City supporting girls’ education in low-income countries, through creative and innovative means — particularly leveraging the leadership of students in the US and social media.
As of summer 2016, She’s the First will have sponsored more than 750 girls across eleven countries while supporting the efforts of 193 independent campus chapters.
In the process, She’s the First fosters leadership and self-awareness in young Americans by inspiring them to lead creative fundraisers and correspond with sponsored students.
Their efforts shape a rising generation of well-educated global leaders, future philanthropists and cross-cultural communicators.
She's the First launched November 1, 2009 as a YouTube video. It received a very good response and thus, inspired co-founders Tammy Tibbetts and Christen Brandt to create a bigger effort of outreach, with the hope of creating more tangible results of change.
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In July 2011, She’s the First became an official tax-exempt non-profit organization. It ran entirely on volunteer efforts up until May 2012, when co-founder Tammy Tibbetts was hired as its first employee.
She's the First has established college and high school chapters across the United States and several other countries recognized officially as She’s the First [Campus] chapters. The organization connects students with the girls and schools in need of sponsorship and provides leadership training.
To date, 176 independent campus chapters have been established in the United States, Canada, Nicaragua, China and New Zealand.
180 Graduated Scholars
216 Campus Chapters
200 Campus Alumni
Through their international scholarship program and their network of campus chapters in the U.S., She's the First is ultimately cultivating the next generation of global leaders.
She's the First hosts an online directory of NGOs with sponsorship programs which have been vetted and stay in year-round contact with the girls to track their progress. They connect donors with these programs to arrange the sponsorship.
"Students need more than textbooks to do well; they need the support programs that will help them to focus in class and teach them the skills they need to translate their learning outside of the classroom.”
“We achieve this by partnering with local, on-the-ground partners who provide the absolute best in education, including all of the wrap-around programs that we know girls need to find success."
Click on each link below to go to the respective site.
Given her non-profit achievements and the organization she has helped build, Tammy is undoubtedly an incredibly passionate, optimistic and energized person. She enjoys giving back to the world while taking advantage of and truly appreciating the opportunities that life has to offer.
Every one of us needs help and support in life. No one can do great things all by themselves. This also applies to Tammy. She credits her mother, Cheryl Tibbetts as her biggest supporter, loyally following her on Twitter and frequently commenting on She’s the First blog.
In an interview with Her Campus in 2010 Tibbetts says that she strongly believes in,
She also encourages other young women to,
Travel outside your comfort zone, see the world, never stop telling stories and when you have an idea, just take the first step and start it. It doesn't need to be perfect, just do something and the rest will fall into place!
On She’s the First and how she’s changing the world she states, “We inspire you to creatively fundraise and we collaborate with you on social media activism for girls worldwide.”
“We are using online, social media activism to power creative fundraisers for girls’ education sponsorships offline. Shesthefirst.org is quickly evolving into a digital storytelling platform that shows our creativity and the resulting impact on girls worldwide.”
“At She’s the First, we are ensuring that as many girls as possible have a chance to graduate from school and become a ‘First’ – breaking barriers and reaching new heights in her family, community, nation and world.”
Tammy has been inspired by a variety of influences. Including, “The Girl Effect” PSA from the Nike Foundation, the humanitarian journalism of The New York Times’ Nicholas Kristof, her experience directing a foundation that funded education for Liberian orphans and launching DonateMyDress.org in her former corporate position.
She is a strong believer in the old Margaret Meade quote, “Never underestimate the ability of a small group of committed individuals to change the world. Indeed, they are the only ones who ever have.”
Tammy really felt that she started to make an impact when She’s the First sponsored three girls in AfricAid’s Kisa Project program in Tanzania, as a result of proceeds from GIRLS WHO ROCK, on June 10 in New York City.
For two years the girls received leadership and computer training, in addition to their academic studies. They were able to email them and posted their updates on She’s the First blog, so supporters could continue to communicate with them and also have a cultural exchange year-round.
Tammy added, “When the girls directly write us about what their hopes and dreams are and what they are now learning thanks to She’s the First and AfricAid, it really puts a face and heart on the mind-numbing statistics that there are 600 million adolescent girls in the developing world and the majority are not receiving the education they deserve.”
One of the challenges that Tammy has faced in starting She’s the First is time constraints, “We have a never-ending stream of brilliant, creative, and exciting ideas! It’s challenging to start a non-profit because you pour your passion into it and want to spend all your time on it, but at first, you don’t have the budget to earn a salary for your work.”
“So you also have to maintain a paying, full-time job and luckily, I’ve had ones that I truly enjoy and learn from … but you still have to grow your passion in the hours that most others are sleeping, very early in the morning and very late at night. So I run on the adrenalin that She’s the First naturally provides.”
Hard working, modest, driven Tammy gives credit to the numerous She’s the First community volunteers who are helping create a better world. In a Marie Claire 2014 article titled Meet the 20 Women Who Are Changing Your World, Tammy, at the time 28 insists, "It's not me changing the world," herself the first in her family to finish college.
"It's the thousands of members of the She's the First community who realize that even small contributions can have a huge impact and who are not afraid to be the ones to take the first step."
A most notable example, Tammy has shared one of her most affecting moments online and on her blog. She tells the incredibly inspirational, success story of a young Indian girl:
And here's another story about Keerthi from India. Hear it in her own words.
The following reveals Tammy's vision, "Hopefully in my lifetime, there won't be a need for She's the First because all girls will have access to education."
Presently Tammy oversees the strategic planning, communications & PR, campaign management and business development for She’s the First. She is a frequent public speaker and regularly keynotes events for corporate leaders, students and philanthropists.
Previously, Tammy worked for Hearst Magazines. She founded three digital properties for Seventeen.com and became the first social media editor of Seventeen, a position that earned her top industry honors.
Under Tammy's leadership, She’s the First revenues have increased dramatically. In 2015, She’s the First is tracking to have a million-dollar revenue year.
She’s attracted major support from the NoVo Foundation, Andrew & Ann Tisch Foundation, Diller-von Furstenberg Family Foundation, American Express Foundation, Microsoft, Dermalogica, Google, Scholastic and Nanette Lepore among many others.
Over the past seven years, Tammy and She’s the First individual staff and volunteer contributions have received some notable recognition, accolades and awards honoring their achievements.
She's the First uses peer-to-peer fundraising to support their scholarship fund for girls around the world, while fundraising separately for other programmatic and operational costs. In 2015, She's the First raised more than $1 million.
If you would like to fundraise for She's the First, click here.
If you would like to donate to She's the First, click here.
Some of this article has been sourced from Wikipedia. Contents have been compiled, edited and remixed. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/. Other sources include She’s the First website, Tammy Tibbetts blog, The College of New Jersey Alumni Association, The Huffington Post, Forbes, Time, Fast Company, Marie Claire, Glamour, Her Campus and You Tube. Feature Image Credit: http://www.tammytibbetts.com/
What are your thoughts on supporting girls education in low income countries?
Do you believe that girls with an education will eventually change the world we live in?
Do you believe in your life time there will be no need for organizations like She's The First?
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