She’s the First came into my life because of a prom dress, of all things.
In December of 2009, I found myself busier than ever planning Fierce & Fancy Formals, a prom dress sale and fashion show fundraiser for secondary school students in Haiti. At the time, I wanted nothing more than to get one big ticket item for our silent auction — Taylor Swift’s prom dress. To make a rather long story short, my search led me to a website called donatemydress.org. While this website wasn’t able to offer much help to Fierce & Fancy, its creator Tammy Tibbetts had something even bigger up her sleeve. Tammy connected the non-profit that was hosting the fashion show, the Haiti Outreach Program, with the amazing network of She’s the First. We found ourselves jumping on this bandwagon right in the middle of She’s the First’s holiday sponsorship campaign. Any questions I might have had about the impact of She’s the First were answered when eight of the Haiti Outreach Program’s students quickly received sponsorships.
Throughout the next two months I kept in close contact with everyone at She’s the First. My desire to help Haiti grew even greater with January’s devastating earthquake and it was exciting to see how sponsoring education could do that. Fierce & Fancy Formals came in February and ended up being a huge success. We never got Taylor to donate a dress (there’s always next year!), but we still managed to raise over $7,000 for students in Haiti.
Seeing how an earthquake changed Haiti — a country that I already cared so much about — over the last few months has given me a lot to be thankful for. The opportunity to have an education got me to where I am today. This is what made me decide that I could not let my connection to She’s the First go. I asked Tammy one day if she might need any interns for this summer and, as you can see, the answer was an enthusiastic yes!
So here I am, ready to begin an amazing summer in hopes of giving girls around the world the same opportunities I have been blessed with. Feel free to email me with your thoughts and ideas, or even just to say hello! I’ll be working on a few different projects over the next two months and updating every Thursday on how awesome it is to be a She’s the First intern.
So there you have it! I am Katie Riley: junior at the University of Tennessee, passionate Haiti Outreach Program volunteer, lover of cupcakes, and ecstatic to give another girl a chance to be the first.