IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Nine special individuals or organizations whose exemplary products and
services improve the lives of the moms and families they touch.
Authors Of The Year
Business Of The Year
Celebrity Mom Of The Year
Founder's Choice Award
Magazine Of The Year
Mom Entrepreneur Of The Year
Product/Product Line Of The Year
Volunteer (or Volunteer Organization/Program) Of The Year
Website Of The Year
Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin
For Three Cups of Tea
In Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace . . . One School at a time, Greg Mortenson and journalist David Oliver Relin, recount the journey that led Mortenson from a failed 1993 attempt to climb Pakistan’s K2, the world’s second highest mountain, to successfully establish schools in some of the most remote regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan. By replacing guns with pencils, rhetoric with reading, Mortenson combines his unique background with his intimate knowledge of the third-world to promote peace with books, not bombs, and successfully bring education and hope to remote communities in central Asia. Three Cups of Tea is at once an unforgettable adventure and the inspiring true story of how one man really is changing the world—one school at a time.
In 1993 Mortenson was descending from his failed attempt to reach the peak of K2. Exhausted and disoriented, he wandered away from his group into the most desolate reaches of northern Pakistan. Alone, without food, water, or shelter he stumbled into an impoverished Pakistani village where he was nursed back to health.
While recovering he observed the village’s 84 children sitting outdoors, scratching their lessons in the dirt with sticks. The village was so poor that it could not afford the $1-a-day salary to hire a teacher. When he left the village, he promised that he would return to build them a school. From that rash, heartfelt promise grew one of the most incredible humanitarian campaigns of our time.
In an early effort to raise money he wrote letters to 580 celebrities, businessmen, and other prominent Americans. His only reply was a $100 check from NBC’s Tom Brokaw. Selling everything he owned, he still only raised $2,400. But his efforts changed when a group of elementary school children in River Falls, Wisconsin, donated $623.40 in pennies, who inspired adults to begin to take action. The 283 foot Braldu Bridge was completed in 1995 and the Korphe School was completed in 1996. Since then, he’s established 78 schools. In pursuit of his goal, Mortenson has survived an armed kidnapping, fatwas issued by enraged mullahs, repeated death threats, and wrenching separations from his wife and children. Yet his success speaks for itself.
Mom 4 Life
Mom4Life.com is an online boutique that caters to moms looking for unique products for themselves and their children. It was birthed in 2003 by Heather Ledeboer, an ambitious wife and mother wanting to combine her passion for helping moms with her desire to contribute to the family finances. She achieved this goal by creating a business that focuses exclusively on unique and useful products that are 100% mom invented. Often these products are what Heather calls, “fantastically fresh, brand new to the market and not available in any big-box stores.”
Believing firmly that when you are blessed, you should reach out to be a blessing to others, Mom 4 Life donates 10% of is proceeds to a local crisis pregnancy center. “Children are a gift from God,” says Heather, “but I understand that for many women, the news of their pregnancy can be very scary. It is my desire that no mother go down this road alone.”
Focusing on making the customer’s experience a great one, Mom 4 Life offers free shipping, free gift wrapping, gift registry and a free gift with purchase. There is also a weekly giveaway on the blog (blog.mom4life.com) allowing customers the chance to get something fun for free. Heather maintains a mission or practice of ‘Mother knows best’ - doing business like a wise mother would parent: intentionally, creatively, and with love. Her goal is to make the experience at Mom 4 Life “One you will want to tell your friends about.”
Since 2003, Mom 4 Life has grown from one product to more than 900, and from the walls of Heather’s home into a warehouse. Heather’s hard work has brought her numerous publicity opportunities and awards, including the 2008 Winner of the Pregnancy & Newborn Reader’s Choice Award for “Best Online Baby Store,” the 2006 “Mom Approved Award” by 5minutesformom.com, and most recently the 2009 Mom’s Choice Award for Business of the Year.
Alisyn Camerota is a host of FOX & Friends Weekend, the number one cable morning news show. As an anchor and national correspondent at FOX News Channel, Alisyn has covered the country’s most gripping breaking news stories. She anchored around the clock coverage for unfolding events such as the launch of the Iraq War, the crash of JFK Jr’s plane, the 2000 Presidential recount and the 2004 presidential election, and the crash of American Airlines flight 587. She was live on the air when the Space Shuttle Columbia exploded and stayed on the air providing non-stop coverage for several hours. When a Rhode Island nightclub went up in flames with hundreds trapped inside, Alisyn anchored the network's breaking news coverage for several consecutive hours. Following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Alisyn reported from Ground Zero, then spent five weeks at the Pentagon providing hourly live shots of the investigation and aftermath. Alisyn has interviewed some of the world’s most influential people from U.S. Presidents to top athletes and musicians. Some of her one-on-one interviews include President George Bush, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Dallas Cowboy Terrell Owens and rocker Jon Bon Jovi. Internationally, Alisyn has covered major stories in London, Rome, Canada and Mexico.
Alisyn developed her specialty of crime reporting on the program America's Most Wanted, where she was responsible for jailhouse interviews with murderers, serial rapists and child molesters. She received honors and awards from the FBI, US Marshals and state police agencies for her reporting which lead to the capture of more than 30 fugitives. She was known around the newsroom as the correspondent who elicited surrenders and confessions from criminals.
Following AMW, Alisyn became a correspondent and substitute host for NBC's daytime magazine show REALlife. She traversed the country telling the odd or amusing stories of real people. After dodging a speeding bullet, jumping off a Navy Ship and surviving the pecking of wild ostriches, she earned a reputation for truly diving into her stories.
Alisyn got her start in journalism under the tutelage of Ted Koppel. She worked for Koppel's production company Koppel Communications, helping to research and produce his prime-time, award-winning specials called The Koppel Reports. Alisyn attended the American University in Washington, D.C. on a full academic scholarship and graduated cum laude with a major in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in Criminal Justice.
Alisyn is also the mother of three children--all under the age of four (two are twins).
Vanessa Van Petten brings the rants, complaints, joys and praises of kids to the ears of parents—finally balancing out the kid variable in the parenting equation. Van Petten wrote a parenting book when she was 17, called You're Grounded! and is now on a national speaking tour, reaching out to both parents and teenagers about how to cope and thrive as young people today. She is also working as a popular young parenting coach in California.
Van Petten’s daily blog, RadicalParenting.com, which she writes with 15 other teenage writers from ages 12 to 20, is read by thousands of teens and parents daily and includes webinars, videos and ebooks produced by teens. She was featured on CBS 4 Miami and Fox 5 New York and has been in the Wall Street Journal, Teen Vogue, Atlanta Insite Magazine and the World Journal. She has been an expert on Playboy Radio, KBUR, WCOJ Philadelphia and more for giving a young perspective on awesome parenting.
Van Petten is one of the nation's youngest experts on parenting and youth. As the first parenting blog from the kid’s perspective, RadicalParenting, has been featured on hundreds of other mom and dad blogs as “a groundbreaking view into the secret world of teens and kids,” says Van Petten. Van Petten writes regular columns for Epoch Times Newspaper New York, WhateverLife and Drug Free America Blog. She also appears regularly on numerous radio shows and podcasts including the Vic McCarty Show and the MomScoop podcast for truly bridging the gap between parents and kids.
For little over a year, Kiki magazine has been providing tween and teen girls an alternative to the often mature and sexually influenced content found in many fashion magazines. In Kiki, creativity and design are front and center. “You won’t find gossip, dating tips, celebrities, sex, or advertising,” says founder Jamie Gleich Bryant. “And we don’t push fashion on girls. Instead, Kiki presents fashion as a lens through which readers can explore their own creativity and develop a sense of self-confidence.”
The magazine’s staff and contributors are girls and successful women who respect Kiki readers and are committed to providing them with intelligent and fun coverage of a variety of topics—art, craft, design, science, business, and world culture are all fair game for Kiki.
Each issue features 7 departments: From the Studio showcases design, fashion history, designers, textiles, and shoes; Art Bin offers tips for using art tools, plus sewing techniques and how-to projects; World Beat profiles cultural trends and cities with design traditions; Biz Buzz covers the fashion industry, finance, and managing money; Kiki Care addresses grooming, health, and exercise; Your Style, on everyday life, such as summer camp, technology, and friends; and Kiki Fun is full of games, puzzles, and quizzes.
Kiki readers encounter fashion as a design student would and explore how fashion relates to their lives—how they use it, how they make it, how they change it, and how they feel about it. Interactivity is a critical part of the magazine. Readers can transform each issue into a personal creativity journal by writing and drawing directly on the pages. “Our goal,” says Bryant, “is to inspire girls to engage with the world around them and become creators rather than just viewers.”
Girls across the nation are getting excited at the prospect of becoming creators. Already, Kiki has subscribers from 48 states, Canada, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, and Japan. And the magazine’s message of being, “for girls with style and substance”, is resonating with readers outside Kiki’s original tween and teen markets: the youngest Kiki subscriber is 6; the oldest, 96.
Shari Criso is a Certified Nurse Midwife, International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, nationally recognized parenting educator, entrepreneur, and most importantly, loving wife & proud mother of two amazing daughters, Jade and Talia (ages 7 and 4).
Educating, empowering, and supporting couples throughout pregnancy and new parenthood has been Shari’s passion and focus since she started her professional career back in 1990. Shari began as a Labor and Delivery nurse caring for thousands of mothers and infants, but soon realized she wanted to provide more personal, one to one care for her patients, so she returned to school where she earned her Master’s Degree in Nursing and her Certification in Midwifery. Within one year, she established her own thriving medical practice, providing full obstetrical and gynecological care, and went on to deliver over 600 babies during her 7 years in private practice!
Soon after experiencing the birth of her first daughter, Shari realized there was so much missing for new parents in the marketplace, she created a specialty store where her new and expectant patients could go to find all the products, services, and expert advice they needed under one roof. The Birth Boutique was born! Over the following six years, The Birth Boutique has grown into a 5,000 sq ft facility, including a full learning center supporting new parents through pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding and new parenting . It is extremely well known throughout the entire New Jersey and New York area, and is widely recognized as “the place to go if you are having a baby!"
With the addition of an eCommerce website BirthBoutique.com, the development of her own line of nursing loungewear (Nurturewear), and the creation of educational products under the brand name, My Baby Experts, Shari has quickly become a “go-to” expert for the media and has recently made appearances on FOX and NBC, as well as many leading websites like Breastfeeding.com. Her signature class, “Simply Breastfeeding: The Criso Breastfeeding Method” is now available on DVD at MyBabyExperts.com, making Shari’s unique style of parenting education available to everyone!
Baby Einstein - Celebrating 10 Years Of Discovery
Over a decade ago, Baby Einstein was founded by Julie Clark, a mom who wanted to share her love of humanities with her baby. Her intent was to create products that offered interactive experiences for her and her daughter to discover the world together. While Baby Einstein has grown over the years, this same philosophy is at the heart of the company's mission.. Baby Einstein products are designed to encourage discovery and inspire new ways for parents and little ones to interact.
Baby Einstein offers a wide range of developmentally appropriate products for babies and toddlers. What makes Baby Einstein products unlike any other is that they are created from a baby's point-of-view and incorporate a unique combination of real world objects, music, art, language, poetry and nature — providing parents an opportunity to introduce their baby to the world around them in playful and enriching ways. This simple principle is the foundation for The Baby Einstein Company and its products.
All Baby Einstein products, including its video line, are designed as interactive tools for parents to use with their babies. Since the debut of the very first title, Baby Einstein videos/DVDs were developed with the idea of creating a “digital board book,” allowing a parent to have two free hands while enjoying and experiencing the video with their little one – leaving their hands free to clap, point to objects and interact with their baby.
The Baby Einstein Company believes, along with the child development experts with whom they have consulted, that parent-child interaction is one of the most critical elements to the development of a healthy and happy baby during the first three years of life. Baby Einstein products are not designed to make babies smarter. Rather, Baby Einstein products are specifically designed to engage babies and provide parents with tools to help expose their little ones to the world around them in playful and engaging ways — inspiring a baby's natural curiosity.
“I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.” -- Albert Einstein
Pennies For Peace, a program of Central Asia Institute (CAI)
Pennies for Peace educates children about the world beyond their experience and shows them that they can make a positive impact on a global scale, one penny at a time.
The best hope for a peaceful and prosperous world lies in the education of all the world’s children. Through cross-cultural understanding and a solution-oriented approach, Pennies for Peace encourages children, ultimately our future leaders, to be active participants in the creation of global peace.
The penny, 1% of a dollar, is symbolic of the '1% of Gross Domestic Product' goal set by the United Nations. The goal was for wealthy countries to give foreign aid to impoverished nations each year.
Pennies for Peace teaches children the rewards of sharing and working together to bring hope and educational opportunities to children in Pakistan and Afghanistan. A penny in the United States is virtually worthless, but in Pakistan and Afghanistan a penny buys a pencil and opens the door to literacy.
The mission of Central Asia Institute (CAI) focuses on community-based education, especially for girls. A 5th grade education for girls improves not only the basic indices of health for her and her family, she will also spread the value of education of education within her community. Literacy, for both boys and girls, provides better economic opportunities in the future and neutralizes the power of despot mullahs and other extremist leaders.
Website Of The Year
Generation Cures is an innovative web-based philanthropic community designed for tweens (ages 8-12) and their parents to raise awareness and financial support for pediatric medical research. Created by Children's Hospital Boston, this first-of-its-kind website uses fun game-play and digital entertainment to inspire kids to care about others, understand the concept of giving and believe they can make a difference in the world.
Along the way, kids learn about science and
medicine and strengthen their skills of logic, reason, critical thinking and creativity.
The original online games, animated stories and kid-directed videos at Generation Cures
were created by award-winning educators and designers to spark kids’ natural curiosity
and compassion. While all of the game and story content was developed with tweens in
mind, the accompanying parent site offers suggestions and tools for sharing in the
experience with children.
“In an increasingly consumer-driven and cynical culture, parents are finding it tougher than ever to teach their kids important life lessons about caring, helping others and what it means to be a good member of a community,” said Jan Cady, chief philanthropy officer at Children’s Hospital Boston. “At the same time, it’s hard to drag kids away from the computer. Many parents worry about what kind of impact so much computer time has on their kids. With the launch of Generation Cures, parents can now turn to a safe online destination that kids will love, and they can feel great about supporting.”
Introducing Family-Based e-Philanthropy: Leveraging the power and reach of the Internet, Generation Cures represents a new e-Philanthropy approach that centers on families. The collective giving of the Generation Cures community will support doctors and scientists at Children’s Hospital Boston who are dedicated to discovering life-altering cures for childhood diseases around the globe.