In March 2016, in celebration of Women's History Month, we put out a call for nominees to our #GirlsWhoDoGood award. A girl who does good is a woman who demonstrates dedication to serving others, whether in her professional work, as a volunteer for a charitable organization, or simply as someone who makes it her personal mission to be kind to others, and to never treat anyone as 'less than'. In essence, she is a lady who demonstrates the #dogoodfeelgood spirit.
Thank you to everyone who submitted heartfelt and impassioned testimonials of the #GirlsWhoDoGood you know! Meet the ladies we've selected:
Nominated by both her mother and her husband, Melissa Sullivan has dedicated herself to helping underserved individuals in DC for nearly a decade. She has mentored first generation Latina-American college students, served homeless individuals at So Others Might Eat, and has passionately advocated for the spouses, caregivers and veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces through her work as a volunteer and fundraiser for Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), the Honor Flight Network, and the Armed Forces Retirement Home (AFRH). "Simply put," said her husband, "Melissa is selfless in her pursuit of service. Melissa is committed to going the extra mile, if it means she is able to assist someone in need."
Sharnikya Howard brings passion and drive to her work as a volunteer for Calvary Women's Services. "Many women at Calvary have lost their sense of confidence in the midst of the trauma of homelessness. When Sharnikya comes to Calvary, she greets women as equals, laughs with them, embraces them, and creates an environment where they can relax and feel more like themselves," wrote Amanda Griesser, communications associate at Calvary. By organizing activities such as a spa day and a Valentine's dinner hosted by some of DC's star chefs, Sharnikya shows the women at Calvary that they are worthy of feeling beautiful and special.
Kate Glantz is the founder of Heartful.ly, an online gift registry for good. Instead of registering for candlesticks and gravy boats, couples raise awareness and money for a cause or development project that's important to them. Celebrants gift the cost of specific items, such as $60 for a semester of health care for a student in Tanzania, where Kate served as a Peace Corps volunteer. She was inspired by witnessing how members of a poor community celebrate life, welcoming even strangers to wedding celebrations, according to the Heartful.ly website.
"Kate’s unwavering drive and genuine desire to do good and dedication to the cause sets her apart," said Kyle Freudenberg. "Her do good spirit is engulfing."
In 2010, accountant and businesswoman Veronica Eyenga founded My Girlfriend's House, a mentoring program designed to serve and empower underserved young ladies in the DC area. "The mentoring program has grown and is doing amazing things in the community," said nominator Marcelle Green. "I think what Ms. Veronica has done is phenomenal. Some of us talk about doing good, but Ms. Veronica embodies this each day as she selflessly continues to give of herself and her money." Amazing things include organizing a spring break college tour, renovating communal spaces in shelters, and helping girls develop self-confidence and leadership skills.
Stephanie Bailey, program coordination intern at Access Youth, describes Israela Brill-Cass as a "living embodiment of the power of following your dreams and encouraging others to do the same." A professor of conflict resolution at Emerson College in Boston, Israela has dedicated herself to following her passions and teaching others to advocate for themselves. She is the founder of fixeerrr, a platform that teaches people to navigate difficult conversations from salary negotiation to resolving workplace conflict. "She is the first person I go to when I need advice, and also the first person I go to when I have good news," Stephanie, a recent Emerson graduate and former student of Brill-Cass, said.