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She’s the First: Empowering Women and Fighting for Education
The Troy High School branch of She’s the First fundraises and fights for women’s rights in education.
March 21, 2023
When She’s the First started in 2009, it was just a YouTube video. Now, the nonprofit organization has chapters in communities around the world.
One such chapter runs here at Troy High School. The club meets on alternating Fridays after school in room 141.
Junior Rebecca Austin, a club member, spoke on the focus of the larger organization, “She’s the First focuses on raising money so that they can invest it back in community-based organizations to support girls in their lives so that they can get a better education, get better sex education and have a better life.”
Each branch of She’s the First is affiliated with this larger organization. Junior Grace Cueny, a club member, spoke on the goal of Troy High School’s branch of She’s the First, “It’s empowering girls. It’s inspiring a conversation. It’s about fundraising and giving people opportunities.”
Both the smaller branches and the larger organization focus on raising money. When asked how they raise funds, Austin said, “The biggest way is bake sales. We always have a spring and winter bake sale and candy grams, which also ties into bake sales. That’s the biggest way we raise money.”
Cueny added on, saying, “We also raise money through working with local companies to donate some of their profits.”
Over the course of the 2021-2022 school year, Troy High School’s chapter of She’s the First raised $2,039, and $1,979 over the 2020-2021 school year. These earnings went to the global organization, which put the funds towards helping over 148,000 girls in developing countries have a strong education.
Fundraising isn’t the only thing that happens at their biweekly meetings; the club also hosts discussions on women’s equality and women’s rights. Recently, a club board member’s mother came in to speak at a meeting. She shared her experiences as a black woman in STEM. “[She] came in and talked to us about her life, her career and her recommendations,” said Cueny. “It was really informational.”
While Troy High School’s She’s the First branch doesn’t currently have anything planned for Women’s History Month, the members still recognize its prominence. Austin spoke on the importance of Women’s History Month, “I think it’s super important because [women] have contributed so much to literally everything. They were really ignored for a lot of history, so it’s important to remember them and give back.”
Cueny said that Women’s History Month is a time to “reflect, learn and educate yourself” on gender inequalities as a whole. “In general, gender inequality is a big thing. A lot of the time, people think that gender inequality just affects women, but I think that it affects everyone. We see this with gender roles, toxic masculinity and people feeling that they need to conform to femininity. I think it affects everyone and that it hinders everyone’s lives.”
She’s the First has come a long way from the YouTube video it started as in 2009. Now it’s a worldwide organization. Over the course of the past 10 years, they’ve reached over 226,500 girls in 42 countries. Every dollar raised by each chapter across the world, including the one at Troy High School, helps reach more girls and further the impact of their efforts.
To support She’s the First, attend club meetings and support their fundraising efforts. Visit shesthefirst.org, https://thsstf.wixsite.com/thsstf, and https://www.instagram.com/stf_troyhigh/ for more information.