Education is something I will forever be passionate about. My Nana was my greatest educational cheerleader because she wasn’t able to graduate from middle school, let alone high school or college. When I couldn’t bear the thought of studying for another exam or piecing together a paper during my final weeks of college, I changed my mindset. If I couldn’t push through for myself, I would keep going to honor her and her fierce dedication to me.
It’s that same kind of fierce dedication that caught my attention on Twitter a few weeks ago. I discovered She’s the First. Their mission to sponsor girls in developing countries, so they are able to graduate from secondary school blew me away. These are girls who are not only the first to graduate, but they are sometimes the first to learn how to read and use a computer too. A sponsored education allows girls in 10 developing countries, such as Nepal and Guatemala, to develop healthier habits and ultimately break through poverty barriers to live their best lives. Education is powerful, and quite honestly, it’s also a gift. Plus, the smiles on these girls’ faces as they talk about their education just makes you want to give to them.
If there was ever someone to be inspired by, it’s Tammy Tibbetts. Tammy is the Founder of She’s the First, and she’s the first college graduate in her family. As a senior Journalism major at The College of New Jersey, Tammy first became inspired to help girls receive an education. However, it wasn’t until she was working for Seventeen magazine as a social media editor that she launched She’s the First in 2009, which is charged by social media. I am honored to feature Tammy, and She’s the First today. I sincerely hope she inspires you to start something, love your education, and give back.
Let’s get to know you! Explain a little bit about your background. How did you get to where you are now?
Like anyone’s story, it’s a long and winding road — but here’s the abridged version.
What are your favorite ways to stay inspired? Who inspires you?
I am so inspired by the hard work of She’s the First Scholars (meet them here) and our campus chapters (join them here). If you have 11 minutes to spare, I would specifically love to introduce you to one of our constant inspirations, Maheshwari, a She’s the First Scholar who graduated from Shanti Bhavan, our partner school in India:
If you’re having a bad moment, how do you turn your day around?
How did you know you had made the right decision to follow your current path? Have you had a favorite moment?
I’ve always followed my gut and listened to the sound advice of mentors and advisors who guide me. I have so much validation that I’ve made the right decisions when I see that there are hundreds of people just as passionate about She’s the First as I am and when I see our students thriving. One of my favorite moments every year is the She’s the First Leadership Summit, when our campus chapter leaders convene in New York City for a weekend full of insightful speakers, thoughtful discussions, and collaborative brainstorms.
*all photos courtesy of Tammy Tibbetts
What’s next for you? What are you most excited about right now?
I am so excited about our Run the World fitness fundraising campaign for She’s the First! Personally, I am running a half marathon in Boston next month and the NYC Marathon in November to raise $10,000 to send girls to school in each of our partner countries. I’d be thrilled if you co-sponsored a girl with me.
Or, you can start your own page, setting a goal of any amount and signing up for a race, organizing a donation-based workout class, or just using a free app called CharityMiles on your phone (it donates a quarter for every mile your walk or run to She’s the First — this quickly adds up!)
Learn more at runtheworld.shesthefirst.org.
1. Song: “Chasing the Sun,” Sara Bareilles
2. Outfit: My Carrie Hammer dress – she customizes them to you!
3. Quote: I have MANY favorites — here is a recent one!
“It is a curious thing, Harry, but perhaps those who are best suited to power are those who have never sought it. Those who, like you, have leadership thrust upon them, and take up the mantle because they must, and find to their own surprise that they wear it well.” ~J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, 2007, spoken by the character Albus Dumbledore
4. Day of the year: November 1st – the birthday of She’s the First
5. Ideal way to spend your day:
Start with a run around Central Park
Tammy, I will forever be inspired by you and your dedication to the girls She’s the First supports. I am already working on my donation page through CharityMiles. Fellow runners, I hope you’ll join me! Make sure to keep up with She’s the First through their website, Facebook, and Twitter. And love your education…forever and ever. Let’s help these girls have the chance to loves theirs too.