How Your Vote Helps Women of Worth Make an Impactful Difference

11/01/2017 08:40 am ET

Powerful things can happen when women share their stories, wouldn’t you agree?

And when we stand together, united in diversity and strength, we have the power to make an impact that is impossible to ignore.

When L'Oréal Paris pioneered the Women of Worth program back in 2005, our idea was to celebrate women who were changing the world through inner beauty – giving back, making a difference and championing life-changing causes. At the time we did not realize that we were building what would soon become our signature philanthropic program, as well a powerful legacy of female leadership with a community built on their stories

Now, more than a decade later, I continue to be amazed by the individuals we meet, and consider Women of Worth to be one of the true joys of my career. Every year there are so many passionate women, championing so many wonderful causes.

Last year, for example, our Women of Worth Honorees included Carly Yoost, who protects and prevents children from abuse and predators through her work at the Child Rescue Coalition; Marian Hamilton, who established the Ken Hamilton Caregivers Center to provide support for caregivers; and Sandra Gunn, whose organization, LESLIE’S WEEK, donates vacation homes to the families of mothers diagnosed with Stage 4 Metastic Breast Cancer.

During my 12 years with Women of Worth, I have had the opportunity to meet countless women who are changing the world through hard work and tireless advocacy. And if there is one thing I have learned by this this point, it is that women are unstoppable. There are always more great stories on the horizon.

This year, I am honored to present a group of ten honorees who were carefully selected – from thousands of nominations – for their unwavering commitment, drive and desire to better the lives of those they serve.

While these honorees champion a wide range of causes, from supporting survivors of human sex trafficking to raising awareness about mass incarceration, they are united by a shared spirit of determination and a commitment to giving back.

These are their stories:

  • Rana Abdelhamid – Palo Alto, C.A.; Founder, the International Muslim Women’s Initiative for Self-Empowerment or WISE, a self-defense, social entrepreneurship and leadership development movement for young Muslim women.
  • Lulu Cerone– Encino, Calif.; Founder, LemonAID Warriors, a non-profit youth-activism organization that connects children to worthy causes and provides unique action plans to create tangible social good.
  • Theresa Flores – Worthington, Ohio: Founder, S.O.A.P. Project, which stands for “Save Our Adolescents from Prostitution” raises awareness and provides resources for victims of human trafficking by placing educational materials and bars of soap in hotels and motels across the country with information on how to seek help.
  • Leanne Huebner – Los Angeles, Calif.; Co-founder, Minds Matter National, an educational nonprofit that transforms the lives of accomplished high school students from low-income families by broadening their dreams and preparing them for college success.
  • Deborah Jiang-Stein – Minneapolis, Minn.; Founder, unPrison Project, an organization that works to build literacy, mentoring and life skills for women and girls in prisons and for their children to help cultivate critical thinking tools to plan, set goals and prepare for successful life after prison.
  • SreyRam Kuy– Missouri City, Texas; Partner, Dog Tag Bakery, a nonprofit organization that sells baked goods and trains veterans in business and the first female Cambodian refugee to work as a surgeon in the U.S.
  • Cassandra Lin – Westerly, R.I.; Creator, project Turn Grease Into Fuel (TGIF), a sustainable system that collects used cooking oil from residents and restaurants, coverts it to biodiesel, and distributes the biofuel to local families for emergency heating assistance, developed by Westerly Innovations Network.
  • Charlotte Tidwell – Fort Smith, Ark.; Founder, Antioch for Youth & Family, a nonprofit that provides supplemental food assistance to approximately 7,000 people in the community, in addition to youth development services and family assistance through a variety of personal enrichment programs.
  • Valerie Weisler – New York, N.Y.; Founder, The Validation Project, an international organization that works with more than 6,000 teenagers in 105 countries, providing them with the resources and guidance they need to develop confidence and gain self-worth.
  • Shandra Woworuntu – Corona, N.Y.; Founder, Mentari human trafficking survivor empowerment program that provides direct services, resources, advocacy, education and mentoring initiatives to help survivors as they reintegrate into society.

This is merely a preview. Visit WomenofWorth.com to read more about these inspirational women, share their stories, and cast your vote for the honoree whose mission resonates most with you.

Not only will your vote help shine a spotlight on their work, it will give the National Honoree the chance to receive up to $35,000 to support her cause and touch even more lives.

Take it from me. Speaking with more than a decade of experience, I can assure you that it has been an honor to help the Women of Worth expand their reach and create even more positive change in our world.

When you make it your mission to champion and empower women, you will be constantly reminded of what amazing things they can achieve.

I always am.

Voting for the 2017 Women of Worth program, executed in partnership with Points of Light, the world's largest volunteer service organization, is open today through November 29 at WomenofWorth.com

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