Congrats, Lindsay Brown! The 21-year-old Notre Dame student is Seventeen Magazine’s Pretty Amazing contest winner. Lindsay was chosen from over 35,000 nominees to grace the cover of Seventeen’s October issue after a series of votes and raising over $22,000 to sponsor the education of 48 Nepalese girls. And get this: she made it all selling cupcakes! Holy bake sale!
Lindsay -- a former college soccer player -- is also passionate about empowering women around the world through the sport. She started The SEGway Project (Soccer Empowering Girls Worldwide and You) to help female athletes in the U.S. mentor young women in developing countries who have never been encouraged or allowed to play sports. We recently caught up with Lindsay to chat about what exactly makes her Pretty Amazing.
ACT: How does it feel to be on the cover of Seventeen Magazine?!
LINDSAY: It’s really weird. Whenever my friends go to the airport, they send me pictures of the magazine cover. And just the other day, I was at 7-eleven, and there I was -- just sitting by the check-stand! It’s so awesome and so surreal.
ACT: You also won a $20,000 scholarship. What are you gonna do with it?
LINDSAY: I quit playing soccer at Notre Dame to focus on The SEGway Project and lost my scholarship, so I’m using the money to pay for my tuition.
ACT: You mean you’re not gonna get 20,000 ones and make it rain?!
LINDSAY: If only I didn’t have to pay for school!
ACT: Def a great move -- school first! Tell us more about the massive bake-sale you coordinated.
LINDSAY: Originally, my soccer team partnered with She’s The First -- an organization that sponsors girls’ educations in the developing world -- and raised enough money to send 3 girls to Kopila Valley School in Nepal…but when we realized the magnitude of what we were doing, we wanted to do something bigger. We used Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr to tell people about our bake sale, and eventually over 100 teams of people signed up in 35 different states! With their help, we raised enough money to send 48 more girls to eight other schools in Uganda, Tanzania, and Nepal.
ACT: How did it feel to know you had a hand in changing those girls’ lives?
LINDSAY: At first, it was hard to wrap my head around, but once I went to Nepal and walked home from school with the girls, I realized the enormity of what we had just done. To think of what those girls might go on to do, and what that might lead to for their children and their children’s children is really amazing.
ACT: What inspired you to start The SEGway Project?
LINDSAY: I’ve been playing soccer since I was 5, but in Nepal, many families don’t let their daughters play sports. When I first visited Kopila, I personally spoke to many of the girls’ families, and eventually convinced them to let me start a soccer team. The girls changed so much. They became more confident and engaged, and even did better in school. Before, the boys always talked over them in class, but after playing soccer, they began to raise their hands and demand the attention they deserved. When I realized the gravity of what I had just done, I quit playing college soccer to start The SEGway Project and focus on helping more girls.
ACT: Living in the U.S., it’s easy to forget that there are places in the world where many women can’t go to school or play sports. How did you become so globally minded, and how do you think more young people can learn to think and care like you do?
LINDSAY: My grandma is from Puerto Rico and grew up on less than $2 a day. Because of her, I have always been aware of the fact that there are people in the world with so much less than I have. But nowadays, even if you don’t have friends or family like mine, the Internet makes it so easy to be global. Even if you’re thousands of miles away from someone, you can still connect with and help them.
ACT: How can people get involved with your causes?
LINDSAY: She’s The First is doing their second cupcake campaign in November, and teams can sign up for that on their website. Right now, The SEGway project is sponsoring girls at the Kibera Girls’ Soccer Academy in Kenya. There are tons of ways to help us, and the best way to figure out which way is best for you is to email me.
Take action below to sign yourself or your team up for She's The First's second annual bake sale or to learn more about how you can help empower girls through soccer.