Meet our 2012 Women of Worth Honorees. This amazing group of women are working tirelessly to help make a difference in the lives of others.
Our 2012 Honorees are advocating for victims of childhood abuse, working to prevent millions of pounds of waste out of landfills, mentoring homeless youth, helping to break the cycle of poverty, and empowering teens with disabilities through inclusion programs. Discover their stories … and be inspired to create your own.
Furniture Sharehouse collects gently-used and new furniture from the general public and redistributes it free of charge to economically disadvantaged families, giving them the basic household furniture helping to rebuild their lives with dignity. Clients are referred by social service agencies, ensuring that the furniture goes directly to those who truly need it.
The Sparkle Effect is an innovative, student-run program that helps students across the country create cheerleading and dance teams that include students with disabilities. Sarah founded The Sparkle Effect in 2008, and it continues to profoundly change the lives and outlooks of participating students with and without disabilities, replacing insecurity with confidence and joy. Generally, athletes are taught to perfect their skills, to conquer, to win. Sparkle Effect teams are not about perfection, they are about connection.
Ida has committed over 40 years to helping inner city children stay out of trouble by providing after school mentoring and activities. Her once small community center has grown tremendously. United Neighbors is a community-based agency that provides services in housing, youth programs, literacy and health education. It is also a HUD-certified local housing counseling agency and helps to stabilize neighborhoods through a home ownership program.
NextStep Recycling works closely with local schools to help children and their parent, guardian, or sibling, learn how to use technology in a classroom-based setting. Lorraine applied her own experience with Asperger’s to others and discovered that for people who fall on the autism spectrum, the computer was very friendly and a great communication tool. She has turned a small, garage-based nonprofit into an internationally recognized organization that provides people with job and social skills training, refurbishes computers and recycles electronic waste.
School on Wheels strives to enhance educational opportunities for homeless children from kindergarten through twelfth grade. Catherine’s goal is to shrink the gaps in their education and provide them with the highest level of education possible. The School of Wheels program serves as a consistent support system to homeless students at a time of great stress and fear. School on Wheels brings the message to these students that they are cared about and important.
After Amy was diagnosed with Breast Cancer, she realized first-hand how difficult it was to organization child care for all of these critical care visits. Her experience led to the creation of My Little Waiting Room, a nonprofit offering drop in child care to the hospital. My Little Waiting Rooms mission is to promote the health and well-being of families by bringing drop-in child care to the hospital so that children can thrive as families heal. We figure since grocery stores, gyms, community centers and other locations offer this needed service, hospitals should too. Especially since families at the hospital are often in crisis and could really use the help.
Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep trains, educates, and mobilizes professional photographers to provide beautiful portraits to families facing the untimely death of an infant. Sandy knows that remembrance photography serve as an important step in the family’s healing process by honoring the child’s legacy. Photographs are one of the most precious and tangible mementos that a parent can have, showing the love and bond that was given and shared with their baby. These portraits will last for generations, and will honor and remember a tiny life that is forever loved and cherished.
In 2003, Susan Runsvold set out to ensure that no child would have to experience a Christmas without any exciting gifts, an experience that she feared herself when she was young. Since then, her vision has expanded, as she discovered that bicycles can have a more profound impact on children's lives than she first imagined. These bikes bring children independence, confidence and a fun way to exercise. Today, TurningWheels For Kids distributes bikes not only at the holiday but also year round.
PEN Pals Book Club & Support Group for Children of Incarcerated Parents ("PEN Pals Book Club") was the brainchild of Olivia Stinson at the age of 14 years old. Olivia saw the need to embrace a special population while bringing together a church, a community and a city. The mission PEN Pals is to combat illiteracy among children of incarcerated parents and to provide mentors who offer them both encouragement and support on a regular basis.
As her county's District Attorney, Risa saw how painful it was for child abuse victims to be continually interviewed by various law and police representatives. She founded Mission Kids in 2009, which provides comprehensive team response to allegations of child abuse in a dedicated, child-friendly setting to achieve justice for these young victims. Mission Kids is a child-friendly, Child Advocacy Center for the investigation of child abuse cases and a place of healing for abused children and their family members.