At our She's the First Gala on December 8th, 2012, our founding president Lorraine Magee gave a speech about our first semester on campus. Here is the full text:
My name is Lorraine Magee, and I am the current president of She’s the First of American University.
Last spring, I came back from spring break with a dream and a vision: to bring a chapter of She’s the First to campus, and in the process create a place where AU students could learn to become leaders and global citizens. I knew that this wasn’t going to be easy, and that I needed to be a part of a team in order to make this happen.
That’s when I found these amazing girls. Jasmine, Amanda, Noelle, and Lauren each embraced the blurry vision I had and made it a million times clearer. Through their support and incredible determination, our She’s the First chapter began.
On a beautiful fall day in September, we first discovered just how much the She’s the First mission resonates with AU students. At the Student Activities Fair, we had over 130 students sign up to receive more information about us, and over 50 of them showed up to an impromptu information meeting that night. We immediately had students coming up to our e-board, making suggestions and asking questions about what we can do to make She’s the First the best it can be. That’s when our chapter truly became a community.
On October 6th, we became a team. By participating in the Women & Politics Institute’s Race to Representation as volunteers and runners, we realized that we can all “be the first” in one way or another.
Just two days later, we showed the AU community just what it meant to think globally by hosting a screening of “Half the Sky.” With over 150 people in attendance, many AU students learned about the struggles of women worldwide, and also how we can solve some of those problems through education for all.
In early November, we brought our team back together to celebrate all we’ve accomplished as well as educate ourselves about some of the issues facing girls’ education today at our She’s the First Retreat. With some new faces joining us, we renewed our dedication towards making a difference for girls worldwide.
And two days later, all our hard work paid off. Thanks to a generous donation from Georgetown Cupcake, we proved that cupcakes can change the world by holding a cupcake sale on campus. In just three short hours, we sold out – bringing our fundraising total for the semester to seven hundred and twenty dollars – enough to send two girls to school at the Arlington Academy of Hope in Uganda!
The amazing thing is that these little successes are happening all across the country. Students at 40 other colleges were able to make the same magic and create the same communities – all for the betterment of girls’ education.
And tonight, the vision goes global. The national She’s the First organization could win up to $1,000,000 in the American Giving Awards, which will be airing live on NBC to millions of households tonight. She’s the First is one of five Education and Mentoring organizations that have the incredible opportunity to share their mission with the American public tonight – hopefully allowing us all to think about the impact we can make on an international scale.
The American Giving Awards has already paid off for She’s the First. This week, all the other nominated organizations voted for She’s the First to win a $5,000 grant. No matter what happens tonight, She’s the First is going home with at least $5,000 dollars to create an even larger impact across the world.
And while She’s the First chapters here in America are working hard to raise even more money, we need to remember that the girls who are sponsored by She’s the First are the ones making the real difference. Every day, they struggle against cultural norms and situational difficulties to get themselves to a safe and inviting place called school. There, they try to be the absolute best they can be by studying to be teachers, bankers, and doctors. They commit themselves to a dream that once seemed so out of reach, but now, it’s just a few school years away.
Tonight, just because you’ve attended this event, one more girl will be able to make her dreams come true. She will commit herself to a dream, think about the impact she can make on a global scale, and work to support her community in the process. Tonight, I urge you to realize that you and that girl are kindred spirits. You can both commit yourselves to a dream and make a global impact. If you choose your dream to be supporting education through She’s the First, you unlock a world of possibilities that she will do everything in her power to take advantage of. For every cupcake we sell and every dollar we raise, the girl we sponsor puts in hours of work to ensure that she is making the world proud. Maybe she doesn’t realize that all we are trying to do is make her proud: we are attempting to create a world that we can agree is a place for inspiration, dedication, and global connection. Thank you, so much, for being a part of that world.