If you follow me on Twitter you may have seen me tweeting behind the scenes pics from a photo shoot for Glamour's September issue last Thursday (yes, they're already working on September shoots). I was honored to get a sneak peek at their "Best of You" feature, an annual article in partnership with Sally Hansen highlighting four inspirational and powerful women and their non-profit work. From adopting a neighborhood in Atlanta to making the elderly feel special in nursing homes, each of these women had stories to tell, with one goal in common: raising awareness. Here's what you'll find in Glamour's Sept. issue: Each September for the past 12 years, Glamour and Sally Hansen seek out women to highlight in the next years issue. After thousands of submissions, ten finalists are chosen and Glamour readers vote on the final four.
Keela Dates, Executive Director of Reason2Smile.org
Nominated by a board member, Keela only found out about "Best of You"when she was in the top ten. Her trip to Kenya at 22 years-old as a volunteer at a school for orphaned and at-risk children inspired her to create the non-profit. Currently, the school is K-11 with 45 children living in the orphanage. In the US, Keela speaks at local schools to educate them about life in developing countries and reminds students about how grateful they should be. She hopes "Best of You" will hope to raise awareness of Reason2Smile, help her get into more schools to continue the education path and raise funds for developing countries.
Rebecca Stanley, Founder of Blueprint 58
Rebecca was nominated by one of her blog readers and I got to meet her and her husband, perhaps to of the most generous people on the planet. Inspired by the phrase, "Love thy neighbor as thy self," Rebecca and her husband Adam grew up in Atlanta and realized after working at a summer camp with children who lived just a town over that poverty was just around the corner. Fast forward a few years after mentoring children from the intercity, with children of their own, they decided to pick up and move to the intercity so they could act as the positive role model in the neighborhood. Neighborhood children visit after school for games, dinners, homework help, attend Sunday mass with them and are taught about life lessons we take for granted. They're hoping the "Best of You" feature will help to raise awareness that poverty is right in our backyards. Here's her blog where you can see photos of her children playing with the neighborhood kids.
Rachel Doyle, Founder of GlamourGals
Meeting all of these inspiring women was such a pleasure, but Rachel's optimistic personality and beauty inspired mission instantly drew me to her. I have to work with her. When her grandma passed she began volunteering at senior homes by giving the ladies makeovers and manicures. Only, her volunteering stint turned into a country wide movement when she founded GlamourGals. Now, she inspires teen women to build chapters around the country and volunteer a few times a month at a local senior home. To date, she has 68 chapters in 14 states, but hopes the September issue of Glamour will help raise awareness and get more women involved.
Carrie Severson, Founder of Severson Sisters
Carrie had her mom on the shoot with her, who was as you can imagine so incredibly proud. After being bullied when she was younger, she found internal peace in her 20's and gives credit to her creative outlets such as cooking, writing and scrap booking. Today, she's committed to teaching younger girls how deal with self esteem issues and mentors bully victims, bullies and those who are bullied.