Women of all ages, races and financial backgrounds are changing their communities and positively impacting the lives of others. These women do not seek recognition or celebrity, but choose to help others because they see a way that they can make a difference and have the passion to pursue it with all their might. As we head into the season of giving, I wanted to take a moment to help elevate the stories of inspiring women who are changing the world.
It is my pleasure and privilege as the President of L'Oréal Paris, to support such admirable women through The Women of Worth program. Celebrating its 10th anniversary, L'Oréal Paris Women of Worth honors women whose intrinsic worth and the beautiful things they do to make a difference. These women are champions of the underserved who do not back down in the face of adversity. They may not be household names, or have millions of social media followers, but they are empowered innovators and leaders fostering change in their communities.
The 100 beautiful and inspirational Women of Worth we have recognized over the past years are perfect examples of what women are capable of if they have a strong sense of self-worth. Fearless in their mission in tackling some of society's biggest issues, the Women of Worth have changed the lives of thousands of people, championing causes such as giving victims of sexual assault a voice, building self-worth in senior adults through aesthetic treatments, and giving at-risk teens a reason to live.
The Women of Worth are inspiring, empowering and their stories humbling. Meeting them has been truly transformative personally and professionally. We want to give them a platform to elevate their stories and share them with the world. Some of this year's 10 honoree stories include:
• Maria Rose Belding created the MEANS (Matching Excess And Need for Stability) Database, an interactive website allowing food pantries and soup kitchens to quickly coordinate exchanges of excess food items from local donors - getting them into the hands of homeless or hungry people in as little as 60 minutes. In just two years, the MEANS Database has expanded to 50 cities in 12 states representing more than 1,600 partner agencies.
• When Melaney Smith learned that many children in her community faced the challenge of not having books at home to read on school breaks, she created Books for Keeps, a program based on research that revealed a potential solution to the achievement gap is allowing children to self-select and keep 12 high-interest books at the end of each school year.
• Kathy Koenigsdorf learned firsthand about the devastating effects of drug addiction when her son, Jake, passed away from a heroin overdose. Today, Kathy works to raise money for substance abusers who want help but can't afford treatment centers. In just two years, the Jake Koenigsdorf Foundation, has raise $94,000, helped 105 people receive treatment and formed a support network for mothers and others trying to find strength, health and balance when a loved one has a substance abuse disorder.
Several of our spokespeople took to social media yesterday to share the stories of these inspiration women and shift the #WomanCrushWednesday conversation.
To learn about all 10 2015 Women of Worth honorees please visit WomenofWorth.com.
1 L'Oreal Paris' study on Self-Worth was conducted online by Ipsos. The study tapped 1,006 women ages 18-74 from all over the United States and was fielded in February 2014