Christina Alario – 1851 Staff
Many students might not consider high school graduation a life-changing moment, but instead a rite of passage or one of the many milestones reached in life.
However, this is not the case for girls in developing countries and junior Danielle Fortin is taking steps to make a difference for them.
After meeting Tammy Tibbetts, President and Founder of She’s the First, a national organization that sponsors girls’ education in developing countries, Fortin knew she had to start a chapter on campus. “I need to start this club and I need to do it now,” said Fortin.
She’s the First was originally launched as a YouTube video, but by 2012 it turned into a growing and reputable non-profit organization. The goal is to break the cycle of poverty by sending young girls to secondary school, making them the first in their families to graduate high school.
The organization’s website explains by sponsoring these young girls and giving them the opportunity to finish their primary education doesn’t only educate them, but changes their lives. Some key changes include living healthier; delaying marriage and childbirth; resisting domestic violence; and securing a better job with better wages. It costs about $300 to sponsor one girl for an entire year at most schools. “Once you raise $300 and send it in to She’s the First, they send you back a packet of girls with all different backgrounds and you get to pick who you sponsor with that money,” Fortin said. “So you can choose sponsor the same girl for all four years, or pick someone different every time.”
She’s the First has over 80 campus chapters across the nation. Since Lasell’s chapter is new to campus this semester, it is still in its fundraising stages. With 10 members, Vice President Regina Sanyu, Secretary Erica Miller, and Treasurer Ashley Clary hope to raise enough money to sponsor a couple girls to start out. “I think first we’ll pick a girl from Uganda, then I’d like to sponsor someone in Ethiopia and we’ll go from there to hopefully keep sponsoring them,” said Fortin.
To kick off fundraising efforts, She’s the First is hosting a tie-dye cupcake bake sale the week of March 9th during lunch and dinner in the dining hall. In addition, Fortin and few of the chapter’s members will run a half marathon in May. Normally chapters sponsor their own 5k on campus as a part of the “Run the World” campaign, which Fortin hopes to take part in next year.
“I would love to see us sponsor as many girls as we can,” says Fortin, “I want to be able to follow them and continue supporting them throughout their education, stay connected to them, and see where that leads them.”