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  • Writer's pictureKara M. Zone

Real Women Making a Better World

Originally published July 13, 2020

It’s not often we hear about the average person achieving incredible things for the good of all. Many of these people are women—real women making a better world. These women’s circumstances played a role in recognizing a gap or lack of voices in society and creating a voice to close the gap. This is a glimpse into four of these women’s lives, their heartaches, ideas, and transformation into helping others.

Lisa Honig Buksbaum owned a marketing firm, Boxtree Communications, to manage and brand Fortune 500 companies. Lisa went through three tragedies in her life; her 35-year-old brother’s sudden death; her father’s cancer diagnosis; and her son’s struggle with a serious bout of rheumatic fever. These events prompted her to create Soaringwords, the only non-profit to inspire children, teens, and adults to become proactive in self-healing. This is done by getting them to “pay it forward.” It also invites communities to become involved in helping hospitalized children with chronic and serious illnesses.

It’s like a domino effect. We can’t change circumstances, but we can change our state of mind. A positive outlook and action have a positive influence. If you would like to read what SOAR stands for, check out the website. Hospitals, doctors, and medicines contribute to sustaining life, but the power of positive thinking sets the tone for the mind and body. This assists in closing an emotional gap.

This is also the case when people turn a tragic experience into a positive one. Kathryn Martin did just that after losing her two-year old son, mother-in-law, and grandmother-in-law to a tornado that hit Evansville, Indiana, in 2005. She wanted to help those in need when a tornado swept through Otwell in 2006 because she knew exactly what they were going through. She loaded her car with juice, snacks, and toys for children and drove to Otwell. She gave the items to the Red Cross, but before leaving, saw a couple collecting personal items from their destroyed home as their children sat nearby. With some of the toys she brought, she offered to keep the children occupied.

After this episode, she raised money for disaster relief through fundraisers, car washes, and walk/runs. In 2007, she came up with CJ’s Bus in honor of her son. Kathryn transformed a 35-foot school bus into a mobile playground. She travels to areas affected by tornado and floods.

The same year as the Otwell tornado, Kathryn returned home to finish her associate of science degree in human services, and then received the Above and Beyond Congressional Medal of Honor and the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Award the following year. She has received countless honors and has served as Trustee of Knight Township since 2010. This position’s main purpose is to provide aid for those in need, such as help with shelter, mortgage/rent, and burials to patch a short-term financial gap.

Financial support comes in all different forms, as Christy Connell has shown the world. During the 2007 California wildfires, residents were asked to evacuate the area. But a day later, Christy returned. As co-owner of Julian Bakery and Café, Christy decided to do what she does best: cook. With a freezer full of food, which would go bad, she set up a makeshift area in front of the café and informed hungry firefighters she was open for business. For four days, she cooked for firefighters, serving 1,100 meals at no cost.

Cost also comes in other forms. Internationally helping young women overcome violence and other struggles, which has cost them emotionally and physically, is Dr. Kristen Ali Eglinton’s mission. While working in the Yukon Territory, young women came to her asking if she could help them share their experiences. With a PhD in philosophy and trained as an educator and visual artist, Dr. Kristen Ali Eglinton realized young girls and women in vulnerable communities worldwide needed guidance, a lending ear, and support, so she created the Footage Foundation. Its focus is to assist young women’s mental, social, and emotional wellbeing through digital and creative means—to bring light to human rights and gender-based violence.

The foundation has several projects: 1) girl talk girl = at-risk young women experiencing gender-based violence (GBV) create and share their own experiences through mobile digital stories. 2) Her{connect}Her = narratives and connections of young refugees and migrant women by using narrative workshops through storytelling, digitally sharing, and helping them deal with present circumstances. 3) WebinHERS = offers educational interactive webinars on GBV. 4) mVoiceWorks = workshops and voice methodology. All of these projects give a voice to girls and women all over the world.

These are just a few examples of real women making a better world. Through them, we’re reminded of how important charity and kindness are to the human race, and in tough times, they provide a reprieve from sorrows, transpiring into hope.

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Denise Haschka is a native of the South Side of Chicago, Illinois, and currently resides in Germany with her husband and fur-baby, Shakespeare. She can be stubborn and downright finicky; the last one doesn’t apply to food, though. Perseverance is a trait she often associates with her college degree, but she’s still waiting for her Pulitzer Prize nomination. Denise is a blogger, poet, and multi-genre author of two published books: a dark, psychological suspense thriller Net Switch; and women’s fiction/romantic comedy adventure Fogged Up Fairy Tale.

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