Multicolored cupcakes obviously do not occur naturally; they require many ingredients to shape them into the eye-catching desserts they are. Unfortunately, education for low-income students is not a natural occurence either. On November 1st, 2015, the Bates College chapter of the national organization ‘She’s the First’ launched its first fundraiser of the year: a colorful cupcake sale designed to raise awareness for the group dedicated to providing scholarships for girls from low-income countries, so they can graduate from secondary school. Organized by co-presidents Emily Jolkovsky ’18 and Alexandra Gwillim ’18, along with Treasurer Christopher Lee ’18, the event’s purpose was not only to make delicious tie-dye cupcakes, but also to alert people to a relatively new on-campus organization hoping to make a difference both globally and in the Lewiston community. “This is the first chapter of the organization in Maine,” Gwillim said. Although the Bates College chapter is currently in its second year, they have found an often overlooked, yet important cause to promote in the local community.
The mission of ‘She’s The First’ is to “break cycles of generational poverty” by educating girls who would not otherwise have easy access to higher education. This domestic organization strives to provide their sponsored international students with the necessary tools and resources to become key figures in the next generation of global leaders. These resources include tuition, school uniforms and food in cases where the student lives in a state of scarcity. With these tools, ‘She’s the First’ hopes to reduce the barriers to education. Depending on the location of the student, obstacles could include anything from civil unrest, to a need to provide for family, or the inability to afford school uniforms.
The organization uniquely focuses on the first girls in a family. “If the oldest in the family is fully educated,” Jolkovsky said, “she can help her less educated family, as well as become a stronger role model for younger siblings.” By adding this specific emphasis in terms of where the proceeds are delivered, the organization becomes more than a broad group proving general help: it is pinpointing specific members of global society to which they can provide direct assistance, tailoring each donation to the particular student in need.
According to Jolkovsky, this cupcake sale is the first of many future events. An event on the horizon is a screening of the film “He Named Me Malala,” a recently released documentary outlining the story of the 18-year old Pakistani female activist and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai. Another event includes a sponsored 5K run to raise awareness for not only girls struggling in third world countries, but also local students who are facing similar issues in Lewiston.
Meetings for ‘She’s the First’ take place Thursdays at 8pm in G56 in Pettengill Hall.