Charity work empowers girls abroad
Jillian Barwick | Thursday, August 23, 2012
Saint Mary’s junior Mileva Brunson hoped to bring global education from the halls of the College to women in need around the world. As president of the Saint Mary’s College chapter of She’s the First, Brunson is now able to do just that.
She’s The First is a non-profit organization that sponsors girls’ education in the developing world through social media and student leadership so they can be the first in their families to graduate from secondary school, Brunson said.
“I found out about She’s the First through my women’s studies course last year,” Brunson said. “For my final paper I researched girls’ education in developing countries which is how I learned about She’s The First.”
After conducting research, Brunson said she wanted to get Saint Mary’s involved with the organization.
“Notre Dame already had a chapter so I knew it was possible for Saint Mary’s to create a chapter with She’s the First where students would be very interested,” she said. “While I was abroad in Rome last spring, I began the process of creating a chapter on campus.”
Speaking with the Student Involvement Office at Saint Mary’s led Brunson back to her women’s studies professor, she said.
Brunson said her professor helped her to find an advising faculty member for the club while Brunson worked on getting together a small team comprised of herself as the president with a vice president and secretary to assist her while she was abroad.
“I had sent out a school-wide email through the Student Government Office on campus and received such a great response from the students here,” Brunson said.
Every semester, the Saint Mary’s chapter of She’s the First will hold an event to raise funds for the girls they sponsor, Brunson said.
“Our first fundraiser will be a cupcake bake-off, much like the one that Notre Dame’s chapter holds, in October,” she said. “Lindsay Brown, the president of the chapter at Notre Dame, began the cupcake bake-off which has become a national campaign for She’s the First.”
Brunson said she and Brown have been in contact with hopes to combine efforts with She’s the First to create larger events between the two campuses.
Tammy Tibbetts, founder and president of She’s the First, said she was impressed by the work Brown and Brunson have done on their campuses.
“I’m so proud of the global impact students in Indiana are making through She’s the First. Both Saint Mary’s and Notre Dame, led by Mileva Brunson and Lindsay Brown, respectively, are using social media (and creative fundraising ideas, like cupcakes) to collectively change girls’ lives around the world,” Tibbetts said. “They are using their own access to higher education to pay it forward to girls who are simply striving to complete a basic education – an idea we hope continues to spread across their campuses and the state.”
Brunson said she wants to see her chapter succeed.
“With this being our first semester, I hope to have a good response from the girls so we can create a strong club foundation,” Brunson said. “My goal for She’s the First is to raise campus-wide awareness for our cause.”
If even one girl can receive a chance for education, the boundaries are limitless, Brunson said.
“Not only [is She’s the First a] great opportunity to reach out to global students, but to take the opportunity of our education at SMC and educate other girls around the world,” she said.
For more information on She’s the First, contact Mileva Brunson at [email protected]