We’re piloting a new travel series called She’s the First 360 in August! Are you ready to join us on a journey to Peru?!
The purpose of the series: Voluntourism meets digital storytelling. Visit the partners in the She’s the First directory and capture the stories of their girls and community in video and photography.
The assignment: Ask questions and listen to the answers. Have girls tell us their own stories of struggles and triumphs with education. Show what the local community is doing to support them and where they need help. How can we help girls break barriers together?
Why do we call this 360? As much as we focus on creative grassroots fundraising here in the US, we want to take the advocacy of girls’ education worldwide full circle. We want to travel to the places we’re helping and open a dialogue that brings both sides together — introduce the global fundraisers to the local community leaders, by leveraging social media.
How can I be a part of She’s the First 360? You can start by following our blog posts and tweets, leaving comments, and sending thoughts and feedback. Use hash tag #STF360 on Twitter. Then, next time you want to take an international trip with some volunteer work mixed in, consider visiting one of the She’s the First partners in our directory.
Why Peru? We discovered an outstanding organization called Peruvian Hearts, founded by 18-year-old Ana Dodson, that we wanted to add to the She’s the First network. Ana, who was adopted from Peru, and her brother, Peruvian Hearts director Danny Dodson, invited us to shadow their work with girls in Cuzco, Peru. Cynthia, a native Peruvian herself, then found other nonprofits in the capital city of Lima for us meet.
How often will we hear from you? Almost every day! Tammy will be blogging and Tweeting every time we have Internet access. Expect as many photos and videos as Internet speeds will allow us to post!
Tell us a little more about the travel team!
Lizbeth Aguilar, @lizbeth_lorena, born in Trujillo, Peru with Spaniard ancestry, is a Latina businesswoman, medical student, and photographer. She holds a BS from Fairleigh Dickinson in Biology, Chemistry, Advertising, and is pursuing a Medical Degree for Surgery in New York City. At 21, she assumed role as VP of Marketing at A Professional Group, her family’s conglomerate business. Before that, she worked in the medical field and customer service for five years. This past summer, she joined forces with her oldest sister Cynthia Hellen as Volunteer Coordinator for GIRLS WHO ROCK. Lizbeth is passionate in photography, youth development, education, animal rights, health care, and human rights. In addition to English, Lizbeth is fluent in Spanish and ASL (she is proficient in Portuguese and is determined to learn French).
Cynthia Hellen, @cynthiahellen, is a business leader, social innovator, entrepreneur, and scholar based in New York City and New Jersey. She is Vice President of Development for the AP Group, a family-owned conglomerate of real estate development, beauty/cosmetic salon, restaurant and consulting companies. At age 15, she opened her own Latin restaurant with her younger sister, doing everything from filing permits, creating the menu, and serving, all while attending high school. When she was 18, she sold the business for a real estate property and attended Kean University for a Bachelor’s in Visual Arts, Communication, and Performance Arts. After college, Cynthia interned with CW11, then ventured into new media and became a writer/producer at T7Live, a website of news, fashion, music, and technology, most notably co-producing coverage of President Obama’s election night and Fashion Week. By the age of 25, she decided to use her experience to give back and create sustainable, socially conscious entities. She co-founded GIRLS WHO ROCK, a benefit concert for She’s the First, for which she serves on the Board of Directors. Cynthia also volunteers with charity : water and Project Sunshine. She produced our entire trip itinerary and built the relationships with the nonprofits we will meet!
Manny Rodriguez, @mannyarod, was born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Manny’s early schooling took place in San Jose De Las Matas, Santiago. At the age of nine, he arrived to Elizabeth, NJ with his younger brother, Osvaldo. He attended Union High School where he excelled at Science and History while working at his parents Spanish Restaurant in Newark, NJ at the age of 14. He studied business administration the first two years of college, while continuing his work in the restaurant business, pharmaceutical industry, and customer service part-time. At 23, he became CEO of his family’s restaurant and has been an restaurateur ever since. In addition to English, Manny is fluent in Spanish and ASL. Manny is passionate about business, youth development, energy conservation, wellness, racial equality, and sports. He resides in Union, NJ, recently volunteered and catered the GIRLS WHO ROCK benefit concert, and is interested in the non-profit sector, especially the efforts of She’s the First leaders and volunteers for girls’ education.
Tammy Tibbetts, @tammytibbetts, is the Founder/President of She’s the First, launched Nov. 1, 2009, just before she took off on her last trip — to Monrovia, Liberia in West Africa with the MacDella Cooper Foundation. There she managed a sponsorship program that sent orphaned and abandoned children to local schools, met with the principals, evaluated report cards, and set up a lunchtime feeding program. She is a 2007 graduate of The College of New Jersey with a journalism major/Spanish minor, and her goal is to be the group’s reporter — taking lots of notes, asking lots of questions, and blogging for you at each Internet access opportunity.
Have any messages for the team? Post them in the comments. We’ll share our itinerary before we leave!