October 3, 2011 at 8:17 PM
Tie-dye cupcakes and determined young Americans are changing the scope of girls' education in the developing world, and Penn State is about to become part of it.
In November 2009, Tammy Tibbetts and Christen Brandt embarked on a journey to launch She's the First, a non-profit that sponsors girls in underprivileged countries to go to school.
The name of the organization comes from the idea that the young girls being aided by the program may be the first in their families to go to school, much like Tibbetts was the first in her family to graduate from college.
According to research compiled by She's the First, "of the 130 million uneducated youth, 70 percent of those out of school are girls"; "one in seven [girls] are wed before age 15 in the developing world"; and "the leading cause of death for girls 15 to 19 worldwide is pregnancy."
With this in mind, and Nicholas Kristof's book, "Half the Sky," in hand, they set out to change an issue that was now close to their hearts.
"I was inspired to start She's the First by my passion for education, especially in the developing world, where the majority of girls don't have the opportunity to graduate from high school, and my belief that my generation could be contributing to the cause by raising our voices, acting creatively and using social media," said Tibbetts.
Now, She's the First has sponsor schools in Africa, Latin America and Southeast Asia, with host branches in New York and Los Angeles, as well as 12 college branches, soon to include Penn State. To get involved, individuals can donate money through the site, visit sponsor schools, or plan a fundraiser.
According to the website, the most popular, and now "iconic," She's the First fundraiser is the tie-dye cupcake sale. It was started by Lindsay Brown, a student at Notre Dame, but this year it will be the company's national fundraising event from Nov. 1 through the 8, officially titled the National Tie-Dye Cupcake Bake-Off.
Tibbetts said this is an easy and successful fundraiser.
"Who's going to resist a cupcake? And you can tell them what it's for when they ask you why your cupcakes are tie-dye," she said.
Finally Tibbetts added, "She's the First is a wonderful platform for any college student, male or female...to really celebrate what they're the first to do" and "to pay it forward while...[giving] a girl the opportunity to go to school that otherwise, without our help, she might not have had."
The Penn State branch is hoping to be confirmed as an official club at the university by next week, said branch founder Jaclyn McKay (junior-graphic design). The group is planning to take part in the National Tie-Dye Cupcake Bake-Off and a date will be released when the event is confirmed. The group is also planning to partner up on the event with Her Campus Penn State, said the publication's president Kelsey Lester (senior-journalism).
For more information on getting involved in the National Tie-Dye Cupcake Bake-Off, please visit: http://www.shesthefirst.org/cupcakes/