We are continuously inspired and blown away by every day women who recognize a need or a problem and set out to make a difference, fueled by their unwavering passion, compassion and an entrepreneurial spirit. Tammy Tibbetts is one of those women. The former prom website editor turned founder of the non-profit She’s the First, has made it her mission to support girls’ education in the developing world, helping them be THE FIRST in their families to graduate. This is the inspiring story of an incredible organization and the Woman You Should Know behind it.
Tammy founded She’s the First in 2009. The not-for-profit organization sponsors girls’ education in the developing world, helping them be the first in their families to graduate. 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.
Tammy was a prom website editor by day, and by night, she volunteered as director of a foundation that supported children’s basic needs and education in Liberia. When she launched DonateMyDress.org, a directory of organizations that collected and distributed prom dresses to girls in need, she wondered why there wasn’t a directory of school programs for girls in the developing world. If there was, awareness for education could be raised so girls all over the globe would have the chance to become the first woman presidents of their countries, the first doctors of their villages, or even the first in their families to graduate. It was this line of thought that inspired the name “She’s the First”. She wasn’t sure what the next steps would be, but she hurried to the computer to purchase the domain shesthefirst.org.
She’s the First stayed in the incubator until May of 2009, when Tammy read an article in an African newspaper that irked her: “Liberia: Teenage Motherhood Alarming.” The article praised a church campaign to deter teen pregnancy in Liberia. It was called “No Marriage, No Baby,” and while it had good intentions, it didn’t address the real reasons why young women often got pregnant: a lack of education and sometimes rape. She posted the link to her Facebook wall in frustration and, unexpectedly, received a message from college student Christen Brandt, whom she’d only met once, two years earlier, at an awards ceremony in New York City.
Christen expressed her own frustration at the article. So after countless Facebook messages, emails, and phone calls, Tammy hopped on a bus to DC to meet Christen, and they solidified their vision. In August, they assembled a group of friends, all under age 25, in Tammy’s sweltering hot New York City apartment, and over pizza and soda, hashed out the mission statement and plans for the PSA video that would launch shesthefirst.org.
Tammy is also the co-founder of GIRLS WHO ROCK, which is an annual concert in NYC that aims to bring together the strongest voices in technology, entertainment, and design to advocate and fundraise in support of She’s the First. This year’s concert will take place on Friday, May 18, 2012 at the Gramercy Theater. Click here for more information and tickets.
If you are or know a student who is interested in starting a STF group at a high school, college or university, e-mail [email protected].
Information provided by She’s The First