My 3rd Birthday, 1988

My 3rd Birthday, 1988

On December 19th, I'll be 30 years old! I'm eager and optimistic for this new decade.  

My awkward teenage years were full of studying and minimal self-esteem because I was so shy...but always surrounded by love (because my mom and dad are wonderful). Then, in my 20s, amazing things started to happen. Looking back, I see how none of it would have been possible without graduating from high school, which is what She's the First helps girls around the world to do.

I'll remember my 20s most of all for these 7 reasons:

1) At 21, I was the first in my family to graduate from college (go TCNJ!).

2) At 23, I founded She's the First as a YouTube video, and little did I know it would explode into a non-profit that now supports 568 Scholars in 11 countries with 1600 scholarships, and 177 campus chapters at U.S. high schools and colleges. In our first few years, we raised over a million and a half dollars, caught the attention of Diane von Furstenberg, Chelsea Clinton, the TODAY Show, etc...and now we are so close to raising $1 MILLION in 2015 alone! I can't imagine my life without STF, my work wifey Christen, Katie, Perrie, and all the people behind our mission for universal quality secondary education.

3) I accomplished my dream of working in the magazine industry and spent 5 fantastic years at Hearst Digital Media and Seventeen. I became the first social media editor of Seventeen and got to connect with millions of teen girls across America, who I just wanted to make feel more confident than I was at their age.

4) I moved to NYC and got to be neighbors with Central Park and have the best roommates (and more recently that includes Poptart, the cuter than cute dog -- see my Instagram!).

5) I traveled all over the world--Liberia, Guatemala, Tanzania, and Nepal were the most memorable places--and to the mid-west and West Coast of the U.S. for the first time.

6) I discovered my passion for fitness, running my first marathon and becoming a certified Spinning instructor, despite being the worst kid in gym class at school.

7) I fell in love, had my heart broken, went on countless disappointing dates, but ultimately fell in love again when I was least expecting it with the most outstanding partner.  

So, what brings me here today is this: There's no other way I want to celebrate these 10 amazing years of my 20s than backing She's the First's campaign to sponsor the first 10 Scholars in Sierra Leone.  

Would you join me by contributing $10 or more? Our goal is to raise $10,000 for their scholarships this month. Please go here to support.

Education is the best gift any of us could ever ask for.

 Our soon-to-be STF Scholars in Sierra Leone, jumping for joy. Photo by Kate Lord

Our soon-to-be STF Scholars in Sierra Leone, jumping for joy. Photo by Kate Lord