Finding a Balance: Feature

Posted on Posted in Features

Meet Emily Whilhout.

Emily is currently a senior dawg, gearing up to take on the “real world.” She has a passion for helping others and bringing positive change to communities.

Read more about how Emily has worked to find her balance between school, friends, and involvement on UGA’s campus below.

What is Free The Girls?
Free The Girls is an international nonprofit that helps employ women who have been rescued from sex trafficking. They partner with local after-care facilities and help the women start their own business selling bras in their local communities. Currently, FTG has programs in Mozambique, Uganda, and El Salvador. FTG collects new and gently used bras from women and girls all around the world that they give to the survivors to use as inventory. Bras create a community of women helping women and allows the survivors to support themselves and their families during this transition into freedom!

Why did you want to bring FTG to UGA’s campus?
At first I just wanted to have a bra drive at UGA. Everyone has old bras and it’s such an easy way to fight human trafficking! During my bra drive people kept asking how they could get involved and the amount of people who wanted to help was so large I decided to get the ball rolling on creating a student organization.

What was the biggest challenge you faced bringing a new organization to campus?
I think the biggest challenge was the fact that the FTG UGA is the first college chapter of FTG. I had to create positions, define their roles, and also change these as the year progressed so they could be the most beneficial to FTG! Other than that just getting the word out was another challenge. I think we did a good job laying the foundation and I’m very excited to see what FTG UGA will do next year!

What has been your favorite moment?
I think my favorite moments have been a combination of exec. meetings and FTG events. We were really able to foster a community within our 11 person exec. board. I think it’s really special when people come together to work on something greater than themselves and that is what we did every Monday for the whole year. I also loved the events because everyone was just so willing to help each other and was so positive! Even if we didn’t have an amazing turn out or things didn’t go according to plan everyone was still encouraging and always willing to do whatever they needed to have a successful event.

How was balancing this endeavor and the other happenings of your life?
I loved having a team of people to work beside! The whole exec. board was great at volunteering to help and being flexible when some of my weeks were harder than others and I wasn’t as organized as I should have been. Never in my life have I lived so closely by my planner and emailed so many people!

What do you hope to see happen for FTG at UGA within the next ten years?
I hope FTG UGA is able to push other college to start up. I would also love to see it become a sorority’s philanthropy, that would be amazing! Something the current exec. board has been talking about is implementing high school programs where we can go educate people on the issue of human trafficking. Also just implementing bra drives everywhere we possibly can!

What advice do you have for anyone who is looking to be involved but also be successful academically?
My advice would to be definitely get involved and just manage your time well. Any extracurriculars are what you make them so just participate when you can! Every little bit counts.

How are you going to stay connected with FTG after graduation?
After starting Free The Girls UGA college chapter I wanted a way to stay involved in helping these women after graduation. At this time, all my friends were out of bras to donate and had started saying, “I wish I could donate my bras but I wear all of them now!” So after talking on the phone with my dad one day I had an idea. What if there was a way where people could continue donating bras but they didn’t have to give up any? What if someone else donated for them? And that’s where the idea for BoGo Bras came from – Buy One Give One Bras. For every BoGo product that is bought we donate a brand new bra to survivors of sex trafficking. I started this business back in November and have been working on it ever since!

If you had any words of advice for future dawgs what would it be?
JOIN FTG!!! There is no feeling like changing the world alongside your friends. Find something you’re passionate about and run with it.

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