WE GIVE BAGS TO AMAZING WOMEN. NOMINATE SOMEONE TODAY! WE GIVE BAGS TO AMAZING WOMEN. NOMINATE SOMEONE TODAY!

WE GIVE BAGS TO AMAZING WOMEN. NOMINATE SOMEONE TODAY!

Through our It's Not About the Bag program, we’re on a mission to celebrate women who impact the world in positive ways through their service, strength, kindness, tenacity and love. With your nominations, we’ll gift women Consuela bags to both celebrate AND remind them of the good they bring to all of us as we journey through life.

Nominate someone who inspires you—maybe she’s strong and brave. Perhaps she’s creative and hilarious. Maybe she’s overcome difficult circumstances or has helped you through your own. Whoever the woman, whatever her story, we want to hear it!

We receive a lot of nominations (YAY!) so every month we honor a number of nominees with a fabulously curated gift package and feature them on our website and social channels.

Nominate Someone

Dr. Jaya

Shreveport, Louisiana
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She is a dream follower, inspiring us to pursue our passions, all the while starring in a multitude of real-life roles:

•Doctor
•Writer
•Content Creator
•Actress
•Cat Lover
•Mom and Wife

We’re rolling out the red carpet for Dr. Jaya, our newest ‘It’s Not About the Bag’ honoree!

Dr. Jaya is a Hospitalist working on the frontlines in a Shreveport, Louisiana, hospital and is pursuing her dreams to be an actress. She says, “I have loved acting and writing as long as I have been able to understand purpose and passion. It’s what sets my soul ablaze.” Her coworker, Patricia, nominated her with, “She encourages women to act toward their passions along with working a full-time job in the hospital. She goes above and beyond for everybody. She is loved by so many.”

Her dreams and inspirations are shared on her social networks with thousands of followers; She also uses these networks to provide candid, transparent, and relevant health and COVID-related information.

Together with her husband, Dr. Jaya founded a production company, and they have released two short films, both starring and written by Dr. Jaya. Our inspiration tank is filled and fueled with this quote on her website, “I still work as an MD but as of 2018 am FULL TIME following my dreams — dreams I once thought were too late to pursue. Turns out that’s crazy talk – for me and for everyone.”

When asked about her message of positivity, she says, “I think no matter what is happening in the world, if you focus on your blessings and lean on the people who love you, you can always find a moment of joy.”

Follow her inspiring pursuits, https://www.facebook.com/theja...

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Kristi H

Katy, Texas
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Kristi’s husband Dave nominated her, saying, “I am so fortunate to be married to Kristi. She is such a strong, inspirational woman with a great sense of humor to boot. In 2017, our home was flooded by Hurricane Harvey. Seeing similar situations on the news in the past, I always wondered how people got themselves in that situation. But after going through a natural disaster like that, I learned that mother nature can be cruel and unyielding. With the knowledge, we learned about Harvey, and rebuilding our home, Kristi has helped others numerous times after they've gone through similar situations.”

During the epic ‘Snowmagedden’ in Texas this past February, Kristi didn’t miss a beat; She quickly reached out to her neighbors, sharing the best way to prepare their homes by draining water lines, prepping pools, and landscaping, etc. Dave says, “Recently, severe storms rolled through Katy, TX. We were attending a cul-de-sac social with our neighbors, and one of our neighbors' houses had a severe roof leak. Kristi immediately jumped into action, working with the neighbors to save furniture and hardwood floors. She coordinated with other neighbors to bring in industrial fans to dry out the first floor and save the owners thousands of dollars. Kristi's take-charge attitude kicked in, and she was able to help our neighbors in a stressful situation. All the while keeping her sense of humor and uplifting our neighbors. This is what she does, who she is, willing to jump in and help those who need it and keeping a positive attitude throughout.” ⁠

Kristi says her most important words are "f" words , “faith, family, friends, and fun.” And, her favorite saying is, “Hard work pays off every single time.”

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Amanda C.

Branson, Missouri
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Amanda is a co-pastor at a church in Branson, Missouri, and was nominated by her friend, LaDonna. LaDonna says Amanda does a “wonderful job of creating content that grabs your attention! She is truly inspirational in that role and as a wholly gifted woman! The reason for her nomination is that Amanda and her husband, Mike, struggled with infertility for seven years. She continued believing she would have a family despite the heartbreaking disappointment and lack of understanding she dealt with for so long.”

They opened their hearts to adoption; Amanda and her husband had the opportunity to adopt triplets and welcomed Londyn, Major, and Kingston into their home. LaDonna says, “Amanda and Mike felt called to make them their children and did so soon after their birth.” They were born prematurely, and they have had health challenges as a result, but now they are thriving! She continues, “Amanda is a tremendous caregiver and a great mom! She wouldn’t trade her life for anyone else’s.”

Amanda shares what guides her, “The light shines in darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:5 

She says, “Every day, my hope is that I can be the hands and feet of Jesus, that I would make a difference in all I do, and that I would love people the way He does. I just want to be light!”

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Lorrie D.

Vernon, Texas
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Lorrie is a Respiratory Therapist and the Director of the Respiratory Department at a small rural hospital in North Texas and was nominated by her coworkers. Her team says, “A member of our Respiratory team was hospitalized with COVID with no family near and no loved ones by his side. His home was several hours away. His family was unable to make the trip to be with him. Lorrie and her team sat at his side when they weren’t working to take care of other patients; she and her team were his family.”

“Lorrie lead her team with compassion and more courage than anyone could imagine through the pandemic and this unthinkable event. She went above and beyond the call of duty,” her team says. Sadly, this team member passed away. “After his passing, due to financial constraints and the distance of the journey, his family was unable to come to pick up his ashes. Lorrie chose to take time off to drive across the state to deliver his remains to his wife and family personally. That’s more than leadership, that’s love.” ⁠

Her team says, “Lorrie is the reason they keep going and that she is always first to jump in the line of fire when needed. She inspires them to keep up the fight, and she leads them by example.”

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Jacquie H.

Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania
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Jacquie works full-time as the Operations Director in her busy family business in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, and was nominated by her mom, Judy. Their large used car dealership, large service station, and lube shop employ 26 people, and Jacquie oversees all day-to-day business operations. Judy says, “She is a female in a typically male-dominated industry. This alone is very challenging and hard. She supports other young girls and young women who want to join the industry by belonging to a national organization called Women in Auto Care. She serves on the executive committee of this organization with a focus on scholarships for young women in the industry.”
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Jacquie is a mom of two boys, ages 9 and 7. The eldest has autism, and the abrupt changes to daily routines with the pandemic have taken a toll, but Jacquie has made the best of it. Judy says, “Having an autistic child also brings challenges, explaining and supporting a child who doesn't understand why the world is so crazy, and he cannot just go out and play with his friends. She spent many hours holding him and just listening to his fears while dealing with her own fears of the virus. He has come through very well and has learned that change is not always bad. All this at the same time helping to keep an essential business moving forward every day through the pandemic. Jacquie is a hero in my eyes. She fought, scratched and supported her family and coworkers through a very scary, for all, time.“
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Jacquie shares her mantra…⁠⁠
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‘The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.’ ⁠⁠
-Pablo Picasso ⁠⁠
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She says, “Since the moment I heard this quote, I decided that this is exactly how I will live my life.”

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Jennifer D.

Indianapolis, Indiana
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Jennifer is a healthcare worker in Indianapolis, Indiana, and was nominated by her daughter Charlene. Charlene says, “She’s a natural caregiver, always putting others before her own needs. She’s worked for 15 years as a medical records specialist, helping patients, nurses, and doctors every day. In November 2020, she and my stepdad - a dialysis patient - were diagnosed with COVID and hospitalized. Mom came home after 3 separate hospitalizations, but my stepdad died December 14, 2020. She’s returned to work, continuing to help others, but I know some days are unbearable without her best friend.”⁠

Charlene’s dream was to go to Howard University after high school but understood the challenges due to the high costs of attendance. Charlene says, “To offset my student loans, Mom took a part-time job at a fast-food restaurant just to ensure I had access to my dreams. Almost 25 years later, I continue to make my dreams reality, but I’m also grateful to be in a position to take care of my mom. My mom is the most amazing person I know. She’s always supported me and my dreams, even when she didn’t quite understand them. I’m everything I am today, in large part due to my mom.” ⁠

You are an incredibly special Viva Babe, Jennifer! Thank you for your priceless gift of caregiving and your generous heart! 

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Laura R.

Austin, Texas
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Laura lives in Austin, Texas, and was nominated by her friend, Jennifer. Jennifer says, “Laura has always been a positive and fun person to be around, despite the hardships she has been and is going through the last 18 months. Laura lost her husband at a very early age and at the very beginning of their marriage on Christmas Day about 7 years ago. Despite losing the love of her life, Laura has continued to move forward by being involved in her local Junior League program, she founded a beauty & bridal business that's exploded, and she's also busting her butt in a male-dominated industry to break through those barriers (in her family business) all while her dad has been in and out of the hospital.”

2020 was especially challenging with Laura contracting COVID-19 and the devastating loss of her business partner and dear friend to a rare and sudden bacterial infection. Jennifer says, “Despite ALL of the aforementioned hardships, she continues to stay positive, she is always smiling, and she always tries to find the good in people or situations. She is an awesome human being, which is why I wanted to nominate her. She just really needs a win, AND she loves your bags! If you did choose her, I think it would be a fun surprise for her.”⁠

Laura, we are honored to salute you as one of our treasured Viva Babes. We celebrate you for triumphing over adversities and living life with optimism, hope, and joy!

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Natalie D.

Joshua, Texas
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Natalie is the definition of compassionate. She works a full-time job, is a mom and a wife, and “still makes time to do something she absolutely loves,” nominator Crystal says. She started ‘Birthday Blessings,’ a non-profit, volunteer-run organization that benefits the families and patients at the Ronald McDonald House Fort Worth & Cook Children’s Hospital, providing birthday goodies for their special day.

“While young patients are receiving treatment at these facilities, sometimes birthdays can be overwhelming or rather underwhelming. Birthday Blessings creates a ‘Birthday in a Box’ to help families bring a little joy into their lives for a moment. These boxes come with party supplies, goodies, cake, and anything else needed to help celebrate a special day,” Crystal says.

Plus, you can find Natalie organizing events and rounding up volunteers to cook meals for the families at the Ronald McDonald house. “I don't know how she does all of this with only so many hours in her day and a family to take care of. She truly inspires me every day, and I am so blessed and thankful to have her in my life,” Crystal says.

Natalie shares her mantra, “I am blessed, even on what I believe is my worst day(s), the Lord has blessed me. So, I believe that people need to be shown some love and be blessed as well. Spend some time spreading some love & compassion in this world.”

Thank you, Natalie, for spreading love and compassion! We celebrate you for your boundless generosity and dedication to making a difference in the lives of others.

Learn more,

 www.facebook.com/birthdayblessingsfw

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Samantha Z.

Houston, Texas
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Samantha has rescued hundreds of homeless dogs in Houston, Texas, since 2012 while holding down a full-time job as an accountant. She says, “I started rescuing dogs when I saw a dog on the euthanasia list that looked like my dog Taffi. After that, I started transporting dogs and then ultimately fostering dogs. I've always loved dogs growing up." Early on, she would foster one dog at a time, but now she fosters between 15 and 20 dogs at once.

“Samantha spends thousands of dollars of her own money to save these animals; She has an amazing set up at her home to get these dogs safe, vaccinated, fixed, chipped, trained if needed, and then adopted," Samantha’s nominator Lou says.

In advance of the epic freeze that hit Texas this past February, Samantha sought out strays to rescue to keep them safe. It was Boomer's lucky day! Boomer is a 2-year-old terrier mix who had likely never been indoors, and he was afraid to enter her home; Her viral TikTok story documented his apprehension and her sweet coaxing. https://www.tiktok.com/@streetlifetothesweetlife/video/6935134557339454725?lang=en

Samantha fosters for Lola's Lucky Day in Houston, and they transport all their pets to Wisconsin for adoption.

For more puppy love, https://www.tiktok.com/@streetlifetothesweetlife?lang=en⁠

Our hearts are full…we have so much gratitude for you, Samantha!

📸: @argphotography_houston⁠⠀

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Heather B.

Richardson, Texas
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Heather is a 2nd-grade teacher with 12 years of teaching experience and lives in Richardson, Texas. She was nominated by her mom, Cynthia, who shares an extraordinary way she positively impacted the life of one of her students.

A few years ago, Heather had a student with a facial congenital anomaly, and her parents didn’t have the money to pay for surgery. “Heather noticed other kids teasing her with the gap missing in her face. That year, Heather researched and found a plastic surgeon in California that did pro bono work,” Cynthia says.

The student’s parents did not speak English, so Heather printed all the information in Spanish and shared the steps to apply for this surgery. A few months later, the mom and kids showed up at Heather’s classroom crying; They were awarded an all-expense-paid trip for the mom and daughter to fly to California for the corrective surgery!

Heather’s generosity didn’t stop there…she organized a meal train with a group of teachers to support the family during this time.

Heather, we are grateful for you! Your acts of kindness and generosity made a ridiculously awesome difference in your student’s life.

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Danielle C.

Oxford, Alabama
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Danielle is a teacher in Oxford, Alabama, and was nominated by her friend, Dawn. Danielle heard about a student at her school who needed a kidney. She felt called to get tested and learned she was a perfect match, but the student was able to receive a kidney before Danielle completed the final details of the donation. Dawn says, “She decided to continue the process- she was a perfect match again for someone and they got a kidney before her donation could be finalized. Finally, she was matched with someone who had given up hope on a long and healthy life. Because of her selfless act and not giving up on organ donation, this person has been given a new hope on health and longevity of life. This is an accurate picture of who Danielle is as a person. She is one of the most selfless and giving people I have ever known.”

Danielle’s actions speak volumes of her character. Dawn says, “She volunteers at Children’s Hospital, gives financially to needs in our community and beyond, supports friends, and is an amazing encourager. She deserves to be recognized in a special way for the way she loves people she knows and those she does not know.”

Danielle’s incredible gift started a wonderful ripple effect; Her kidney recipient’s wife also donated a kidney. Danielle shares how her faith guides her, “Obedience to Jesus is the mantra I live by. Nothing I do is for self-recognition, but in hopes of reflecting His perfect will and for His glory alone. I don’t deserve anything, but by grace, Jesus has allowed me the gift of living this beautiful life.” ⁠

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Daniela H.

Guerneville, California
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Daniela is a Realtor in Guerneville, California, and was nominated by her friend, Shari. Shari says, “I met her through a Christian retreat I participated in a few years ago. She is flash and fire all mixed in one!She comes from a Latino family, and I believe she is a first-generation citizen. She is the most compassionate and funny person.” ⁠

Daniela tirelessly gives back and lifts the lives of the residents of her small Russian River community. She is President of the local Rotary Club, has a genuine concern for her fellow community members, and works hard to raise funds for important local causes. “Her community has seen fires in Northern California the past two years that almost wiped out the entire community. She and her family made sure the Latino community was represented and accounted for and made sure that they were not afraid to apply for programs even if they were undocumented”, Shari says. “She makes sure the underprivileged are always taken care of. She gives a voice to the voiceless.”

Daniela shares her inspiration, “To know that even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. That is to have succeeded."⁠
-Ralph Waldo Emerson⁠

Daniela, your impact is profound! Because of your influential leadership, drive, and compassion, voices are being heard, and lives are forever changed.

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Mary Beth P.

Seekonk, Massachusetts
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Mary Beth lives in Seekonk, Massachusetts, and was nominated by her friend, Tanya. Tanya says, “She oozes love and kindness, and that's what draws you to her. However, what makes her such an amazing person is her commitment to children with autism. Mary Beth is a champion for children with special needs. She has one son that is autistic (Mason 9 years old), but that does not deter Mary Beth from fighting for ALL children with special needs. She serves as a liaison for many families who do not know where to begin on their respective autism journeys. She fights for equality and inclusion for all children regardless of their abilities.”
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Mary Beth does ALL this while working full-time as a Special Education teacher’s aide, and she’s currently working on her Masters of Elementary Education in Mild to Moderate Disabilities. “She's gone before the state government to discuss kids with special needs and how to keep them safe, Tanya says, “She and her son Mason have also been featured in a fundraiser for one of the largest children's hospitals in Boston. She embraces all obstacles and faces them head-on with style and grace, and she personifies a woman that makes ‘the world ridiculously awesome!’”
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Mary Beth says she learned her advocacy from her grandmother, Babba, who was a “fierce leader and champion for all children with special needs” and modestly explains, “I am only doing what God put me on this Earth to do, and if that means I can help only 1 child by doing so, then my job is done. I love the children I work with, volunteer for, and hold in my heart...they are my true heroes!”

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Chelsea C.

Austin, Texas
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Chelsea owns Bonjour Belle Salon in Austin, Texas, and was nominated by her client, Sharon. Sharon says, “Although I found her due to personal and financial struggles, she quickly became a silver lining in my life. I am a pediatric occupational therapist and own my own small therapy practice. When my husband’s job was eliminated (due to COVID), I had to significantly increase my work hours and trim spending in any way possible.” Sharon had to find a salon en route to work, and “lucky for me, Chelsea’s salon was on my commute route,” Sharon says. ⁠

“I quickly recognized the drive in Chelsea, not just to keep her salon doors open during COVID, but to do so while lifting other women up, Sharon says. “She listened to my fears & anxiety. She shared her struggles, too, and we found strength in one another. Just as I would praise her for being a strong and resilient woman, she did the same for me. I looked forward to my appointments with her, and we each shared our latest tragedies and triumphs. She is powerful, unstoppable, and a ‘push through a pandemic’ business owner who helped me through my yearlong nightmare, and I’m sure she is doing the same for many more!”

Chelsea, thank you for radiating your best energy and reflecting positivity and hope on the world. 

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Mrs. Bennita S.

Hemphill, Texas
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“Mrs. Bennita is not well-known to social media, newspapers, or the local ‘in-crowd.’ She is a quiet and faithful servant of a not-so-glamorous population... the dying,” her nominator Chrystal says. “Mrs. Bennita grew up in a traveling circus, a lifestyle that yielded much hurt, pain, and invisible scars that those who don’t know her well would never dream existed. Instead of choosing a life of entitlement as a victim, Mrs. Bennita embraced love and the most fragile individuals in our society,” working as a Certified Hospice and Palliative Nurse in East Texas.⁠⁠
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“Mrs. Bennita is a Mother Theresa and with the purest heart comforts a dying person in their master bedroom in their beautiful estate, RV camper, or makeshift portable building living quarters containing nothing more than a hospital bed, box fan, and bucket... she comforts each one as if they are her one and only precious patient and center of her undivided attention”, Chrystal says. “Mrs. Bennita is an unsung hero of the human race, holding hands, massaging shoulders, brushing hair, praying, and offering quiet, gentle words of comfort laden with genuine uncomplicated wisdom. The most luxurious item she owns is a comfortable pair of tennis shoes that she works in daily, dusted with pollen or caked with mud from the unmanicured yards of her patients. Mrs. Bennita needs to hear how valuable she is to others outside of her small circle of co-workers. In an era of chaos and division, the world deserves to know that all hope is not lost, and there are beacons of light like Mrs. Bennita that lead the way with their hearts and gentle work of their hands.”⁠⁠

Here is a YouTube video of Mrs. Bennita's Consuelabration - https://youtu.be/9ELMyB_aa4Y

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Ebony J.

Miami, Florida
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Through her determination to lift the lives of others, Ebony has dedicated her life to teaching and providing guidance and resources for her community. She’s the founder and Executive Director of the Resource Room, a 20-year-strong non-profit community center in Miami, Florida. Lauretta is a colleague and friend and says, “She is a member of the do too much club and displays it by counseling, and morally and financially supporting those whom others have given up on. When her best friend from childhood was murdered, Ebony’s broken heart opened to embrace everyone who had sorrow. When the clouds cleared a loving, caring, sharing Ebony became ‘Champion’ for the literal underdogs who felt forsaken.”

Ebony is passionate about providing leadership and tools for success for local youth and families; She has an exceptional skill to empower others to see their potential. “She has a magical hypnotic personality that gives vibes of comfort, safety, and compatibility,” Lauretta says. “She has been an inspiration through her life journey of mischievous teenage mom, educator, youth advisor, community activist, and motivational speaker. I love and believe in Ebony because she is whatever you need her to be during your moments of trials and tribulations.”

Thank you, Ebony, for leading with light and love and inspiring others to see their possibilities.

To learn more, https://theresourceroom.org/⁠

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Leah S.

Kearney, Nebraska
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Leah is an Occupational Therapist in Kearney, Nebraska, and was nominated by her longtime friend and colleague, Lisa. Lisa says, “Leah knew what her dream was from the get-go and did not let anything stand in her way of getting there. I met her in OT school, but we lost contact for some years when she graduated before me. I recently moved to where she lived, and we rekindled our friendship and colleague relationship.”
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Leah’s goal was to secure a career in academia, and she’s worked hard to make this happen. Lisa says, “Over the course of her 15-year career, she has completed a lot of the leg work to get there. I am so proud that she has her dream job in academia and will be able now to provide education to the future of the profession.”
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Outside her career, Leah is a mother and is “raising kind, responsible and grounded sons as well as being a farm wife, and she finds the time to be the sounding board for me, Lisa says. “She is a loyal confidant and an unbiased, professional advocate.”
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With humility, Leah gives credit to her tribe. She says she surrounds herself “with uplifting, forward-thinking, positive people who choose to do good things in the world. I guess they rub off on me!”

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Trish S.

Odenton, Maryland
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Trish is a personal trainer in Odenton, Maryland.  She lifts others from an authentic and vulnerable standpoint, sharing her truths without sugarcoating her fitness journey, and motivating her tribe to keep going! She had a life-changing moment that catapulted her into fitness and her new journey over 11 years ago.  From Trish’s website, “I remember waking up one Sunday morning, totally fed-up w/ myself ...done.  I got on the scale, and I was the heaviest I'd ever been.  THAT WAS MY DEFINING MOMENT.  GAME ON. That fire in my belly returned!!  I began educating myself on how to become healthy - what I needed to eat, portion size, exercise, all the vital things for a healthy lifestyle. I joined a gym.”🤸‍♀️

 “She decided then and there to get her life back,” her brother/nominator Lee says. “She didn't realize how her life would change, how she would change, and how she would change and INSPIRE so many.”

 Bam! Gym Gurl training was born. Here, Trish offers training, advice, and shares relatable struggles, yet motivating others to harness their power and get moving.

 Trish, thank you for showing up to spark the fire in our bellies and being totally transparent and authentic about the struggles, and always finding a way to see the light.

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Paige E.

Elkin, North Carolina
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Paige is a counselor at a small elementary school in Elkin, North Carolina.  Paige’s dedication to her students is immeasurable. ✨ Her nominator and coworker, Randee, says, “She is a second mother to over 600 students. She provides food when they are hungry, clothes when they are cold, support when they are down, and a huge smile to show she is proud of them. Paige volunteers for programs at school to help better the community which includes family literacy, after-school tutoring, and anything else going on.”

 She doesn’t simply “clock in” during school hours but is there for her students around the clock. When a student’s house caught fire, Paige was there. Randee says, “The mom ran out to save her kids and was barefoot in the yard when Paige arrived. She literally gave that mom the shoes off her feet. Also, I have also personally witnessed her spend the night in an emergency room waiting area because we had a student under their care......she was told you can go home and she said, “you’re crazy I am not leaving him!” She sat there all night to make sure he was getting the best care possible."

Paige sacrifices so much for her students and is deserving of all the accolades.  Randee says, “There is no more shining example of humility, grace, and persistence than this woman. She’s a kick-ass single mom doing life on her own terms!”

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Katie N.

Austin, Texas
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Katie lives in Austin, Texas, and was nominated by her friend, Alisa. Alisa says, “She was the most incredible teacher and my mentor during my graduate year at Trinity University. Sadly, she lost her mother, as did I. Instead of wallowing in all that was lost, she decided to take a tour of every major league baseball stadium in the country AND write a book about it. ‘It's called "A Season with Mom: Love, Loss, and the Ultimate Baseball Adventure.’ How can I not be inspired by someone who was determined to do all of these things like a life checklist and then actually fulfill them all?”

Not only did cancer impact Katie’s mom, but Katie is a cancer survivor, and Alisa is currently fighting her own battle. “Reading page by page of her book, you can hear her, you can easily get inspired, and cry a few tears of both sadness and joy! Katie deserves to be recognized just for existing in our world,” Alisa says.

Alisa was truly inspired by her mentor Katie and was moved to nominate her even though they haven’t seen each other in over 20 years.

Katie says, “This honor is a reminder to me about how your actions today can impact people for years to come. Choose kindness and love. It endures.”

https://www.katierussellnewland.com/⁠

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Hillary T.

Raleigh, North Carolina
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Hillary is a pharmacist in Raleigh, North Carolina, and was nominated by a fellow local pharmacist, Alysha.  The pharmacy world has had more than its fair share of obstacles and challenges this past year with the pandemic, but Hillary stepped up as a guiding light for her colleagues and her community.  Alysha says Hillary is a peer of mine and always encouraging me to be the best version of myself. She has helped with all things covid; with pharmacy-from drive-thru testing sites to getting the vaccine into the community.”

Not only is she committed to her pharmacy work, she is also dedicated to volunteering and making a difference in her town.  Alysha says, “While we know she puts in more than just the 40-hour work week-the work doesn’t stop at her regular job. She is volunteering in the community to keep Raleigh safe while taking care of twin girls at home! She is also an advocate and ally for the LGBTQ community-providing these patients with healthcare in an environment where they know they are safe and receiving exceptional care.”

Hillary strives to put forth her best efforts each day and encourages her kids with her mantra, “Be the best 'You' you can be today. That is enough.” 

Thank you, Hillary, for doing your best every day and positively impacting the world.

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Jennifer H.

Brunswick, Maryland
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Jennifer lives in Brunswick, Maryland, and was nominated by her gal pal, Echo. Echo says, “Jenny is the person that comes to mind when someone says selfless. She is the epitome of giving.”

Jennifer is a stay-at-home mom and part-time ASL interpreter. Echo shares the makeup of Jenny’s beautiful family. “Hailey is the youngest. A spitfire, spirited, opinionated, brave 4-year-old who reminds me so much of her mama. She is deaf and uses both sign language and vocal language. Elijah is next. He was a baby when he was adopted, along with his brother Andrew, from Ukraine. Both Elijah and Andrew have Downs Syndrome. Elijah loves going for rides in whatever vehicle you’ve got. Andrew loves Disney, sports, and friends. Faith is next in the lineup. She is fully deaf and uses ASL. She is an accomplished artist, using many mediums to express herself. Grace is the oldest. She is a published photographer and loves world travel.“

Echo says, “As you can see, Jenny’s family is different from most. But that’s not what amazes me about her. What amazes me is that she wakes up every single day with enthusiasm, kindness, and patience. She doesn’t sugarcoat anything, but she offers such a beautiful view of what adoption, raising children with special needs, and love looks like. It’s not always neat and tidy. But she shows authentic love every day.”

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Rachel C.

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
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Rachel is a wife, mom, actress, entrepreneur, champion of women, and so much more; She is blazing her way to creating an entertainment mecca in Oklahoma City. Along with her partner, Rachel created Prairie Surf Media (PSM) and transformed a former convention center into a major tv and film studio. Actress Rachel (Fresh Off the Boat) has been starring in TV roles over the last 20 years. After becoming a mom, she and her husband moved back to her home state of Oklahoma to raise their son near family and dive headfirst into this dream project to bring opportunities and shed light on her community.

Additionally, Rachel is a mentor to countless women, empowering them to follow their passions and guiding them through entrepreneurship. Rachel’s nominator Amber says, “She is absolutely a champion of women! She is always willing to help and reach out to make things happen.”

From the PSM website, Rachel says, “Everyone needs the courage to dream without boundaries.” And she hopes to “inspire people to do the things that scare them most, to live their best lives.”

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Genette B.

Cape Coral, Florida
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Genette lives in Cape Coral, Florida, and was nominated by her husband, Daniel. Daniel says, “She has given up her education, job, and everything to be my full-time caregiver. I was seriously injured in Afghanistan after stepping on an IED back in 2012. She took on the role of full-time mom to our girls and caregiver for me. She helped me learn to walk and is a positive force to keep me driving forward.” ☄

Genette radiates compassion and love. “She makes time for everything and everyone else. She has helped many others make it through this process of recovery, and she’s still doing it today,” Daniel says.

Daniel, a purple heart veteran, also said military wives are often overlooked, so he was thankful for the opportunity to remind her of her steadfast dedication and support.

Today, we’re here to proclaim, Genette, you too are a hero. Thank you for your sacrifice, courage, and commitment to your family, community, and country.

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Lisa M.

Jonesville, Texas
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Lisa lives in Jonesville, Texas, and was nominated by her friend Sherry. Lisa had debilitating migraine headaches for years and could not find answers. Lisa says the headaches “were the driving force in my life, and they incapacitated me,” and they caused other neurological issues. Randomly, her oncologist husband was given a piece of literature about a headache center. Upon visiting the center and failing all the neurological exams, she learned she had a Chiari malformation and required brain surgery. While terrified of the prospect of the procedure, the brain surgery incredibly provided the relief she was seeking. This seemingly insignificant gesture of a representative leaving a brochure was life-changing for Lisa.⚡️⁠⁠
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Through this experience, Lisa has discovered a need and a new purpose. Lisa steps up and assists all kinds of folks as they navigate their healthcare journey. Sherry says. “Lisa has helped hundreds of people by helping them get appointments with the right doctor. She has taken them to the hospital, which is a 3.5-hour drive away. She has taken care of their meds when they couldn’t. She has arranged oxygen and an ambulance for patients that could not take the drive. She does all this as a labor of love. She uses her own resources and never expects anything in return.”
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Lisa says, “It takes a small amount of effort to change someone’s life.”
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Lisa, thank you for showing up and making a profoundly positive impact on others and the world! 

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Sonia G.

Los Angeles, California
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Sonia lives in Los Angeles, California, and was nominated by longtime friend, Monique. Sonia created an inclusive, uplifting community of diverse mamas on Facebook called ‘VIP Mamas.’ She formed the group in 2018 to be a supportive, welcoming environment for moms and kids where they can foster new friendships, and it has grown to over 800 members. Monique says, “The last few years, Sonia has flourished in her service to the community of mothers in general. She engages us always and is very open and transparent about her personal life and struggles. She gives so much of her time to this group of amazing women, and it's so inspiring. She truly enjoys connecting with people and giving them space to be themselves.”
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As the pandemic changed our norms, Sonia was not deterred. She pivoted and was able to continue engagements following the new guidelines. Monique says, “Even during COVID, she's managed to continue to hold the community together and adjust to the social distancing protocols and still create events to connect.”
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Monique says she feels so fortunate to be part of this group of “women that are so fun and real, and I owe it to Sonia and her commitment to always look inward to heal and to continue to reach outward for support. It takes a special kind of human being to be this amazing, and I'm proud to call her my friend.”

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Kenzie H.

Mount Olive, North Carolina
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Kenzie is 16, and at age 10 she started the Make a Difference (MAD) Food Pantry in Mount Olive, North Carolina. Kenzie operates the food pantry with support from her parents and volunteers, as well as generous donations. The pantry has provided over 5 million meals since its beginning, and operations have expanded to include a mobile disaster feeding program that has responded to natural disasters in North Carolina, Texas, Georgia, and Tennessee, and a kid’s mobile pantry, providing meals to kids when they are out of school, and several other outreach programs. ⁠⁠
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Kenzie’s mom, Paige, nominated her saying, “Kenzie is an inspiration to EVERYONE she meets and brings joy to so many people’s lives…an old soul in a child’s body. At 16 years old, she has provided hope to so many people and shown what love can do. She works 50 plus hours in her pantry doing food pick-ups (loading and unloading trucks, box by box), packing fresh food for her clients and then coming home at 7 – 8 pm to do schoolwork. This fall she will begin college a year early.” ⁠⁠
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We love the mission and motto of Kenzie’s MAD Food Panty, "We are stopping hunger one meal, one family at a time by providing nutritious food to those in need with compassion and love - because it's more than just food; it's about how you make people feel!"

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Rachel G.

Wiggins, Colorado
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Rachel is a former teacher turned writer, speaker, and author, lives in Wiggins, Colorado, and was nominated by her friend, Val. They met three years ago at a new job. Val says, “We hit it off and started a solid, fast friendship like we had known each other since grade school. The type of friends that would have the 80’s clear phones and talk under our blankets about nerd stuff...not boys.”

As their friendship deepened, Val learned she had connected with an extraordinary woman. Val says, “Rachel married young and had 2 great kids. The marriage was tumultuous and ended. Yet, even through all of this, Rachel continued to be a teacher, mother, editor, write articles for other publications, help with local cattle organizations, active in Colorado Farm Bureau, work on the ranch raising show goats and cattle, and interview local, regional and national people involved with agriculture, ranching, farming, and livestock.”

Rachel remarried, has her third child, and has added more feathers to her cap. Val says, “She now has her own website, podcast, and has written 2 children's books- the third will be released in the fall- about livestock, farming, and ranching. I am not sure if she sleeps. But I know she gives her best to her family, friends, co-workers, and animals she works with.”

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Dr. Alyssa R.

Fredericksburg, Texas
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Dr. Alyssa is an Oncologist and was nominated by her former Nurse Practitioner, Connie. As a cancer survivor, battling cancer as she entered medical school, Dr. Alyssa connects with her patients with empathy and understanding.

Dr. Alyssa worked in Houston’s largest cancer center’s county hospital serving the underserved and indigent community. Connie says, “Many times I witnessed her taking money out of her purse to help a patient pay their utility bills or buy groceries for their families. On one occasion when she was driving into work, she spotted one of her patients, who she knew was homeless, in his wheelchair taking himself to the hospital in the rain. She pulled over and loaded the patient and his wheelchair into her vehicle to drive him to the hospital. These are just a couple of examples of the selfless gestures she has been known to make for her patients to make her patients’ days incredibly awesome.”
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Plus, Dr. Alyssa learned to speak Spanish so she could communicate with her mostly only Spanish-speaking patients. Connie says, “Her patients love her, and oftentimes refuse to see other providers if she isn’t in clinic. Not only do her patients love her, every person with whom she comes in contact feels like she is their best friend.”
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Dr. Alyssa recently moved to Fredericksburg, Texas, to fulfill her dreams of practicing oncology in a small town. With her Certificate of Awesomeness in hand, she tells her kids she is now “certified awesome.” ⁠⁠
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You most definitely are, Viva Babe Alyssa! 

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Stacy M.

Austin, Texas
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A simple act of kindness can completely change the trajectory of the day! Stacy's nominator, Krista, says, “Bold. Honest. Caring. She started a Facebook group for our neighborhood – the Buzz Bandits, to give surprise gifts to each other to lift our spirits, spread happiness and goodness, and lift each other in difficult times.” Like other Facebook “Buzz” groups that started during the pandemic, Stacy created Buzz Bandits to add a little cheer and sunshine to her neighbors’ lives. June marks the first anniversary for the Austin-area neighborhood pick-me-up group that has now grown to over 850 women, who take turns gifting their neighbors with a Buzz Basket filled with gifts of booze and fun.

The ladies of Buzz Bandits have expanded its joyous mission, sprinkling kindness beyond the neighborhood streets to lift several other groups in the community. Krista says, “The group also does a community delivery every month where a group of community helpers, workers, or a business in need is aided by the group with donations, like the school custodians, teachers, first responders, etc. It’s all run and organized by the hundreds of ladies in the group. And it was all started by one fabulous lady, Stacy!”⁠

Stacy, we appreciate you and applaud your big-hearted buzzing!

As Stacy mentioned, and we genuinely agree, there is so much joy in the act of giving.

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CC4C Tribe 4 Moms

Austin, Texas
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Cheyanna's Champions 4 Children (CC4C) is a local Austin-area non-profit with the mission of enhancing the quality of life for children in Texas with rare and undiagnosed conditions.  Tribe 4 Moms is an extremely important program in the organization, allowing moms of the CC4C kids to connect, share resources, and have fun.  Nominator, Mikayla, who works for CC4C, says, “Our organization was founded by a strong woman through her own journey with a child with a rare medical condition. Many of our moms are full-time caretakers, as their children have very complex medical conditions, requiring full-time assistance and care. [The moms] say that the Tribe 4 Moms program is such a wonderful break to share stories with other women who understand their journey.” Last Saturday, the Tribe 4 Moms had a Tribe retreat, an opportunity to bond and reset.

Moms enjoyed a day of yoga, painting, a delicious lunch, and more.  The event's culmination was their joyful 'It’s Not About the Bag’ presentation, where each participant was recognized and celebrated with a Viva Babe Consuelabration gift package.

Moms, we see you. You are doing your best, and you are doing amazing! From our Certificate of Awesomeness gifted to each mom, “You are an inspiration to others, and yes, you are that awesome!

To learn more, https://www.cc4c.org/

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Cherrie M.

Brownwood, Texas
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Cherrie lives in Brownwood, Texas, and was nominated by her sister, M.C. For 25 years, Cherrie has been the Office Manager of a local family medical practice and pours her heart and soul into her role. M.C. says, “The pandemic has taken its toll on many frontline healthcare workers, and not only has Cherrie risen to the occasion but overcome it, as her own 24-year-old daughter, Shelby, passed away unexpectedly due to complications of pneumonia in October. As she has dealt with her own grief, she continues to lovingly care for the patients she has known for the last quarter of a century - even when they call her crying because a loved one is sick or dying of Covid. Cherrie treats each and every one of them with love, dignity, and respect.”

Cherrie seeks ways to honor her daughter, raising funds and supporting organizations that were special to Shelby. She hand made and sold t-shirts with Shelby's favorite motto ‘Veni. Vidi. Amavi.- We came. We saw. We loved.’ with all profits going to a local transitional housing program to help those who are homeless get back on their feet. Recently, Cherrie and family and friends painted murals that Cherrie designed in the girl’s bathroom at Shelby’s favorite camp. M.C. says, “This camp was so very special to Shelby and is special to all of us. It was quite an emotional weekend.”  One of the murals served as the backdrop to her Consuelabration, an extra special celebration to remind her that she is a light, she is an inspiration, and she is loved.

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Christine G.

Eagle River, Alaska
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Christine lives in Eagle River, Alaska, and leads the English as a second language program for the Anchorage School district where there are nearly 100 different languages spoken. For over 25 years, Christine has devoted herself to educating children, focusing particularly on children who are most vulnerable.  Her nominator Christie says, “She has worked passionately for those with limited English skills and difficult economic circumstances.”

 On November 30, 2018, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake hit just as the school day was starting.  Christine was the principal at the local elementary school.   Communications were cut off, bridges damaged, and cell service so overwhelmed that communicating with parents was not possible.  Thinking quickly, she commandeered all the school busses and used them to keep the kids warm and safe—it was below freezing. She led the evacuation of the damaged school and kept the students and staff safe.  Most of the kids had to wait on busses all day to stay warm until their parents could pick them up.  Her school was badly damaged and yet no one was injured.  She was a heroine that day!  

As she does in times of crisis, she once again stepped into action when the COVID-19 pandemic started. As most of the world shut down, she started sewing masks for friends and family.  She researched the best fabrics, designed and re-designed her masks making them more fun and colorful over time. During the year, Christine sewed and gave away over 5000 masks made by hand.

Christine, thank you for your commitment to helping others.  We celebrate you for your leadership and action in tumultuous times. What a Viva Babe!  

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Robin W.

Lee's Summit, Missouri
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Robin lives in Lee’s Summit, Missouri, and was nominated by her friend, Kristine.  Kristine says, “Robin is a high energy passionate woman who has been through a lot in her life, including surviving suicide. She has made it her mission to get her story out via her book she wrote, ‘My Morning Song Psalms 23; My Journey Back From Suicide’. She is incredibly brave to share her personal story with the world.” In addition to providing inspiration through her writings, she also started a non-profit, Choose 2 Live, with the mission to bring hope and encouragement to those struggling with mental illness, depression, suicide, or self-injury.  

Robin stands firm in her faith and her belief that her journey is part of a bigger plan.  She says, “We are all created for a purpose, and it took me many years to figure out what mine was. I am so blessed to have been given a chance to help others and to encourage and support them in the rough patches they face.” She reminds us that “It's okay to not be okay,” and she makes it a priority to help anyone who is struggling in any way she can.  

Robin, we are incredibly grateful for you.  Thank you for embracing vulnerability and sharing your hard journey so that others can find hope and peace.
 
https://www.choose2live.org/

https://www.facebook.com/choose2live.org

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Melissa C.

Pikesville, Maryland
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Melissa lives in Pikesville, Maryland, and is a high school Special Education teacher. Her nominator Kate says, “My son has special needs (deaf, autism, epilepsy) and previously had some terrible experiences/educators when he was in elementary school. In middle school he was in a semi-private setting so when it came to going to high school back in the public sector, I was nervous... would I have a supportive team, would teachers be my eyes and ears and help him as I would, or would it be a repeat of prior years? Well, Melissa was assigned as his head teacher and as his support leader, and from our first meeting, I knew we'd be OK. She's caring, always sharing, patient, and did I say an excellent teacher?”
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Melissa has assembled a team of SPED teachers that always have their students’ best interests at heart. Kate says, “She's picked a team of special educators that TRULY care about the whole child and that child's family- the way special education should be! We work together as a family and no matter what's on her plate, she's never too busy to help out.” ⁠⁠
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Melissa, thank you for your dedication to your students and their families and for being a genuinely kind and compassionate soul! You make the world a better place. Happy 1st Mother’s Day! 

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Nidya G.

Winder, Georgia
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Nidya lives in Winder, Georgia, is a mom of 6 children, 3 are hers, 2 stepchildren, and a niece she’s raised since a young age.  At 4 am every day, she wakes up to head to work as the Cafeteria Manager for a local elementary school.  In this role, she’s in charge of preparing breakfast and lunch daily for about 400 children.  Her husband, Max, says, “Despite the pandemic, she's been working non-stop to feed the children of our county in countless ways, breakfast in the classrooms, room service for lunch, weekly meal pick-up, and curbside pick-up.” 🏫 Plus, her diligence and dedication in her role have earned a leadership position. Max says, “She's one of the few Latinas in the management position in the state. And this year, she's the 9th District President of the Georgia School Nutrition Association. But it took years of hard work and sacrifice to earn the title.”

 “She knows that love is scarce these days, so she gives lots on a daily basis, and it feels good seeing her passion and having her positive attitude around. Nidya is a wonderful woman, she’s sincere and bold, and her kindness towards others makes her very special and unique,” Max says.

Nidya, thank you for your ongoing commitment to positively impacting the lives of others!  We applaud you and sincerely appreciate your dedication!

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Anya C.

New York, New York
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⁠Anya is the founder and designer of a luxury knitwear brand in New York City and was nominated by her daughter, Kasia. Anya’s mother instilled her love of knitting with, ‘If you need it, you make it.’ Anya emigrated from Poland in 1988, started her company in 2012, and now has more than 100 immigrant women across the five boroughs of New York who knit for her on a freelance basis. Kasia says, “These women have other full-time jobs cleaning homes or being caretakers, but they can use their knowledge of knitting to help supplement their incomes by knitting on their own schedule. It was her dedication to her knitters throughout the pandemic that makes her ridiculous awesome. Mom has not collected a penny from her profits, pumping everything back in to keep her knitters employed.” At the core of her company’s mission is a focus on empowering women to “ply a trade that they love and to celebrate the continuation of traditional crafts.”

Anya elevates the lives of New Yorkers in other incredible ways too, dedicating a percentage of her proceeds to two local charities, Debra of America and Let’s Get Ready, and through her repurposing program. Her repurposing program is part of a commitment to a circular design model and zero-waste future that allows customers to return items no longer wanted. These items are unraveled and the yarn is used to make hats donated to children’s and cancer charities in NYC.

Thank you, Anya, for your commitment to lifting the lives of those in your midst! We celebrate you for your passion to make each day ridiculously awesome for others!

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Melanie T.

Dripping Springs, Texas
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Melanie lives in Dripping Spring, Texas, and was nominated by her friend, Annie. Annie and Melanie met in church, and Annie says, “I had just finished cancer treatments (at the age of 26) that had left me not knowing if I would be able to have kids.” Annie and her husband froze embryos before her cancer treatment and had to wait 3 years to carry one. The pregnancy was high-risk, given that Annie had undergone radiation. She went into labor at 24 weeks, and tragically their beautiful baby boy lived only 13 hours. “The doctors told me not to try to carry another baby again. I tell you all of that so I can tell you that Melanie was there for me through everything after my treatments were done, the waiting, the hoping, the elation of being pregnant, and the devastation of losing a child. She was there the night I delivered. She sang at my son's funeral.”

“She also told me she wanted me to have a baby that I knew would be healthy,” Annie shared. “She offered to be a gestational carrier for me when I was ready. She offered, I didn't ask or hint. Melanie went through pelvic exams, blood tests, psychological testing, daily injections, and so much more. That was all just to see if she was a good candidate to carry. It worked, and she gave birth to my son, who is today almost 12 years old. Melanie and her husband are his godparents, and he calls them aunt and uncle.”

Melanie shared a couple of Bible verses that compelled her to help Annie and serve as a guide to living her life. One of them is:⁠

“Greater love has no one than this, that one lays down their life for their friend.” ⁠
John 15:13⁠

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Kairis C.

Elk Grove, California
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Kairis lives in Elk Grove, California. In addition to being a wife, a mother, a hair artist, caterer, doula, leader in ministry, mentor, advocate for women, Kairis has also hosted the My Sisters Only (MSO) Retreat for the past 22 years.  Her nominator Kenya shares, “To be clear, Kairis created this retreat which is a 3-day weekend that she hosts at her home free of charge, not just for her friends, but we are all free to invite any women that we feel could benefit from a time away from kiddos and husbands. This safe space provides networking, heartfelt conversations, encouragement, a new activity, new friendships, clothes swap (anything left, she takes to a women's shelter), spa night, a place to stay, and lots and lots of food that Kairis prepares herself. For 22 years, she has given herself unselfishly to any woman that steps into her home. I can't tell you how many women have been lifted through this retreat.”

Kairis was determined to keep the tradition alive even amid the pandemic. She shipped spa kits to participants out of state and prepared an outdoor picnic fit for a queen at a local park with individually wrapped lunches, even including a picnic blanket. “She thinks of everything. We social distanced in our own spaces, dressed like queens with a photographer capturing the special moments,” Kenya says.

Kairis, we hope you know the world is better because you are in it.  Thank you for your unending support of women.

Kairis shares what she’d like every woman to know, “Our value is inherent. It doesn’t have to be earned by doing everything for everyone else. It doesn’t come from anyone else’s approval. Destroying our bodies doesn’t save our souls. We don’t have to deny ourselves the good things or feel guilty when we have them. Our value just is. This means we can take our time deciding which things match that value and do those things from a place of joy and not obligation.”

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Janette R. and Kim A.

Huntsville & Fort Worth, Texas
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These high school gal pals span 30 years of friendship with their nominator, Kristi. The trio gathered for a reunion-style girl’s trip and a surprise Consuelabration, where emotions and joy ran free!⠀

Viva Babe Kim has successfully moved on from a difficult divorce and co-parenting experience and has now started a new chapter. Kristi says, “Kim has shown us the way to hold our heads high during difficult times. She has taught us to be positive and keep a smile when life keeps throwing curveballs. Kim has taught us to love unconditionally.” She’s just celebrated 15 years of marriage to the man of her dreams and recently started a new job as the Director of Mathematics at a multi-campus international school. Plus, she’s a doting and devoted Lollie to her grandbabies and a dedicated volunteer in her church. ⠀

Viva Babe Janette “embodies Consuela’s five tenants of an amazing life: service, strength, kindness, tenacity, and love,” Kristi says. “Janette’s son, Justin, was born with severe disabilities. Janette and her husband Mike loved Justin with their whole hearts and raised him to over 25 years of life.” Tragically, Justin passed away three years ago. “Justin outlived every life expectancy chart, flourishing under his mother’s abundant love and dedication. To bring more love and laughter into their home while balancing care and medical needs of Justin seemed insurmountable to some, but to Janette, it was her life and her strength,” Kristi says.Daughters Amanda and Kristin have grown into beautiful, caring, and smart young ladies, another testament to Janette. Plus, her positivity is unrivaled, and she shares her servant's heart wherever she is needed.

Thank you both for leading the way and lighting the path with tenacity and love!

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Tiffany B.

Jasper, Tennessee
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Five years ago, Tiffany’s life turned upside-down when she learned she had Lynch Syndrome, a hereditary genetic mutation that predisposes her to multiple types of cancer. She had to have a hysterectomy in her late 20’s, followed by a litany of doctor’s appointments. Tiffany said, “I got myself into a big, black hole and convinced myself that this was going to be the end.” One of her doctors shared life-changing advice with her…she said, you can learn to live with this, or you can live in fear the rest of your life because this isn’t going anywhere. Tiffany embraced this advice, flipped this new information as a positive, focused on using this knowledge as power, and committed to living a healthy lifestyle. ⠀
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Her sister, Bridgette, nominated her, saying, “This was something that could have crippled most people. It's frightening. Trust me. I was afraid to get the test for a long time. But she turned this into an opportunity to spread awareness. Lynch syndrome is fairly new, and there is not much awareness. Having this information saves lives. Tiffany became an advocate for Lynch Syndrome and a supporter of female empowerment. She's built such a large support group by showing people how to show up for themselves.” ⠀
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Today, Tiffany is the healthiest she’s ever been. She runs, eats clean, and works harder than ever before! Plus, she shares how much her faith and family’s bond has grown through this journey. ⁠⠀
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Thank you, Tiffany, for showing us that taking care of yourself and the power of positivity can change your trajectory and lead to incredible strength and joy!

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Allison B.

Austin, Texas
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Allison and her family have had a tremendous impact on the children of Austin, Texas, for more than a decade. ✨ Her friend, Alison S., nominated her, saying, “In 2008, she led her family to start a nonprofit organization called Cattlemen Care to help provide food to hungry children in the Austin area.” Cattlemen Care has donated food to numerous groups, including the Austin Children’s Shelter, Boys & Girls Club of Austin, Caritas, Austin’s homeless community, and so many more. “She has also organized over 1000 students, parents, and teacher volunteers to help serve them. Due to Allison’s efforts and the Cattlemen Care organization, over 92,000 meals have been served to underprivileged citizens in the Austin area.” ⠀
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What started as a mission to feed the hungry children of Austin blossomed even more. Viva Babe Allison says, “Our focus was to help get food to children who had insecure food sources. However, as we spent more time with the nonprofits we donated to, we realized that while the food donations were very important, often the volunteer time spent with the kids who needed the food was equally important. From there, my focus became not only getting the food, but the volunteers to spend time with the kids. And that part of what I do has been the most rewarding and fulfilling in so many ways.” ⁠⠀
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In January 2019, Viva Babe Allison was diagnosed with Stage 4b Ovarian cancer. Alison S. says, “Even though her days can be very difficult, she continues to smile, laugh, exercise, and bake “ridiculously awesome” sourdough bread gifts for her numerous friends!”
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Thank you, Allison, for all the joy and good you bring to the world! You are a beautiful, unstoppable difference-maker.

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Ronnie L. and Katie B.

Pearl River, NY
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Ronnie and Katie are college students who have formed an unbreakable bond with the people of Puerto Rico and Centro PASO, a catholic community center that provides counseling, food, after-school programs, clothing, and much more for their community. Ten months after Hurricane Maria, Ronnie and Katie went on a high school service trip to the poor, hurricane-ravaged community of Aibonito, Puerto Rico, to help clean up and repair damaged homes and they came back forever changed.
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Candece (Ronnie’s mom) nominated them both, saying, “Ronnie and Katie fell hard for people of Aibonito and Centro PASO. They dove in head-first and dug their heels in 24/7 for a straight month planning, resulting in a community market and outreach which brought in almost $10,000.” Soon after, they co-founded Fiesta4Hope, a non-profit with the mission to provide support for vulnerable communities through the promotion of sustainability.⠀
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Fiesta4Hope is currently working with PASO to raise funds for a permaculture edible community farm/garden to teach residents how to grow fresh food, plus create a space for locals to sell their produce, generate income for the community center, and promote self-sufficiency.
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From their website, “Our mission to help the people of Puerto Rico rebuild their beautiful island home and restore their lives is humbling. We know how fortunate we are to live the life that we do and how fulfilling it is to bring joy and hope to people in need.” ⁠⠀
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Learn more, https://www.fiesta4hope.org/⁠⠀

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Carley K.

Leander, Texas
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Carley is the Director of Operations at the YMCA in Cedar Park, Texas, working there for 14 years. Her husband, Travis, nominated her with, “She is the hardest worker I know. Don’t let the ‘title’ Director of Operations fool you. She is not sitting behind a desk. She is always out working hard with and for every staff and member. Through the COVID shut down, she never missed a day of work.” Travis continues, “She lifeguarded every day for the YMCA first responder camp. All part-time staff was furloughed, so there was no other staff to lifeguard. Carley even taught a little girl how to swim because she would have been the only one in her group to wear a life jacket, and she didn’t want the little girl to be embarrassed.”
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Like the energizer bunny, she keeps going and going! She zoomed fitness classes to keep members active during the shutdown, and her unstoppable energy carried on, even through her shoulder pain that ultimately resulted in a torn rotator cuff. The facility was short-staffed during COVID, but Carley filled in wherever needed. “Carley stepped in to run the Gymnastics program. She just hosted a gymnastics overnight camp with 80 very, very happy and excited gymnastics kiddos (of course, COVID protocols were in place)”, Travis says.⠀
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As she leaves home every day, she says with a big smile, “Gotta go change some lives!”
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And change lives, she undoubtedly does! Thank you, Carley!

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Jodi C.

Trinity, Florida
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Jodi is a momma to 4 adult/teen children, lives in Trinity, Florida, and was nominated by her friend, Jennifer. Jennifer says, “She is an accomplished cook, and everything she touches turns out better than you would expect. She is creative: sewing, crafting, digital art, organizing, and planning! She sees what is in your head and produces something better. Here is the twist - - she is almost completely deaf! This would be a setback for many - - BUT - - she has chosen to help set others up for success.” Jodi created a hearing loss badge that she wears stating that she is hard of hearing and to please speak slower or write things down. The badge has helped boost her self-confidence to go out into the world.

As you can imagine, the mask mandate has been challenging to those hard of hearing as voices are muffled, and lips can’t be read. So, Jodi has generously decided to send these badges FREE to anyone who needs one. She has also connected with local businesses that work with folks with hearing loss or deafness and offered to provide these badges to their clients for FREE! Jennifer says, “She is not rich, remember the 4 kids?!! She is, however, profoundly generous, kind, humble, and amazing! She is receiving responses from people around the globe, thanking her for saving them from isolation, depression, and fear. These people are using her badges and beginning to live again.”

Jodi shares the quote that motivates her, "Be kind to everyone always. You never know what they are going through."

Jodi, thank you for your benevolence! You give freely to help others, and for this, we celebrate you and remind you of your awesomeness! 

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Elisabeth (aka"Buff") K.

Mart, Texas
Read Story

Buff is a teacher in Mart, Texas, and was nominated by longtime friend Stacey. Buff and Stacey taught together at Buff’s former school in Axtell, Texas. Both communities are rural, with a significant population of low socioeconomic students. “That's not extraordinary at all because we know that there are schools like these scattered throughout the country,” Stacey says. “What is extraordinary, however, is that students in these schools can achieve and succeed because of the efforts of people like Buff. Whether she's teaching, helping, or raising funds for our educational non-profit organization, Buff makes a difference!” ⁠⠀
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Buff has been a quiet donor, giving students who didn’t have the means a chance to participate. “I've seen her pay deposits for senior trips, graduation gowns and invitations, clothing, hygiene supplies, food, and more for students whose parents couldn't afford to provide these things, and those students to this day don't know who their benefactor was,” Stacey says.
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Buff also achieves extraordinary success in the classroom. Stacey says, “She has extremely high standards for her students, and she pushes them to accomplish more than they imagine. Her students succeed at far greater rates than one might expect. This is because they know she cares.” She’s there for them, building homecoming floats, sponsoring clubs, and cheering them on at sporting events.⁠⠀
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You can also find her actively involved in her community, from little league to community meals, church, and alumni organizations.⁠⠀
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For all the ways you are lifting the lives of others, we commend you, and thank you, Buff! Bravo! 

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Maria W.

Pulaski, Tenneessee
Read Story

Maria is the Regional Director of Rehab and Wellness and Life Enrichment, overseeing physical therapy operations of numerous healthcare centers across the south, including Tennessee and Alabama. Maria was nominated by one of her team members, Keely. “Maria is from the Philippines and is a US citizen. Why is that important? It shows her determination to make the entire world a better place by the footprint she makes across the world,” Keely says. “Maria’s love for the patients we serve is unbelievable. She is one of the most uplifting and positive people I know. She not only challenges herself to learn and grow to better serve our patients but also pours growth and development into others.” She continually seeks opportunities to further her education and has earned numerous advanced certifications that benefit both her patients and her team.
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Maria’s drive to make the world a better place carries over into her personal life. She is involved in mission work and has been on multiple missions serving others. Keely says, “To know her makes you want to be a better person.”
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Maria shares a quote that motivates her, “A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others. He does not set out to be a leader, but becomes one by the quality of his actions and the integrity of his intent.” —Douglas MacArthur. ⁠⠀
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Yesss, Maria!! Your actions and your vision are positively shaping so many lives. Thank you!

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Shawna A.

Pearland, Texas
Read Story

Shawna works tirelessly as a Registered Nurse Manager for Houston’s busiest trauma unit at Memorial Hermann – Texas Medical Center, and she was nominated by her sister, Taresa. “In this first year that she has been in this role, she has orchestrated, with grace, the move of her entire unit into a new building, and she has taken the Covid pandemic in stride,” Taresa says. “She works countless hours each week, takes calls when she is not on call, and endlessly advocates for her staff and patients. She is both a teammate and a team leader. When her staff is expected to spend the night during inclement weather, she sleeps on her office floor. She believes strongly that her team is only as strong as their weakest link, and she strives to inspire and lift her staff up.”
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Her selflessness and compassion extend into her personal life, too! Shawna gives her time and energy to underserved communities, both internationally and locally. Taresa says, “She has been on several mission trips to Nicaragua to build strong, loving relationships and work alongside brothers and sisters in impoverished communities. From digging trenches to working in the free health clinic, Shawna makes helping others a priority.” Locally, Shawna has volunteered with the Houston Food Bank and served on her church’s medical team.
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Shawna, thank you for living to lift others! You’ve graciously and humbly earned all the jewels in your crown.

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Melissa G.

Los Angeles, California
Read Story

Melissa is the author of the just-released, Amazon best-selling book Widowish, A Memoir. She was nominated by her friend, Ellie. Ellie and Melissa are former business partners and have been friends for years. Ellie says, “I was there when Melissa's husband, Joel, was diagnosed with MS (Multiple Sclerosis). They were a happily married couple, they liked each other, and it showed. Joel’s MS was a matter of fact. Nothing to be bitter or sad about; they made adjustments as a family and continued to have a beautiful life.”
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In 2013, Joel and Melissa’s world turned upside down when Joel unexplainably became ‘gravely ill,’ and his health declined rapidly. After weeks in the hospital, tests revealed that Joel had West Nile Virus. It wreaked havoc on his central nervous system and caused paralysis, brain damage, and he ultimately succumbed to it. “Melissa was in shock when Joel passed away and obviously bereft,” said Ellie. “But through her grief, she was determined to make sure that their daughter would be okay. It was inspiring to watch as she found inner strength and resilience. She channeled her hurt and sadness, and confusion into her writing and even started a local young widows group where people could share their experiences. I was awed to see that not only was Melissa healing, but she provided healing for others.”
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Melissa, your vulnerability and strength inspire us. Your book is a page-turner and a heartfelt account of resilience and healing. Thank you for your powerful message.
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Melissa shares her message of positivity, "Be kind to yourself. You’re doing the best you can."

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Kim M.

Cairo, Georgia
Read Story

Kim is a 9th grade English teacher in Cairo, Georgia, and was nominated by a fellow teacher, Austin. Austin says, “Kim is the teacher that makes students want to come to school. I have seen her overwhelming enthusiasm for learning trickle into every student she meets. She goes above and beyond each day to reach the unreachable, the kids that everyone else has written off as a lost cause - she is their champion, and she makes connections with them that last a lifetime. When others shake their heads at a student’s behavior, she takes the time to get to know them and understand what they are going through. When others say, ‘they can’t be helped’, she rises up and helps them. When others ignore them, she shows them that they are worthy and that they are enough.”

Kim creates a safe, collaborative classroom environment for her students, where every student is treated like her own child. She says, “They’re free to make any choice they want as long as they can live with the consequences. She tells her students, “I’m mirroring your mood. Give me your best and you’ll get my best.” And, Kim explains it is her job to teach the way they learn.

Kim, we heard your Consuelabration was full of happy tears and sprinkled with former students. You are loved! Thank you for being extraordinary! 

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Dolores Z.

Brownsville, Texas
Read Story

Dolores is a mom, an attorney, and an advocate, living in Brownsville, Texas. Her nominator, Angie, says, “Dolores gave birth to her first-born child Zariah on the never forgotten September 11, 2001. Much to both her and her husband’s surprise, Zariah was born with severe Down syndrome. After navigating through research on their own and learning all they could about it, they realized they were not alone in this struggle. They began to reach out to other women and couples in the Lower Rio Grande Valley to share their story and help them, too, navigate through the road ahead.” ⁠⠀
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Dolores, along with her husband, formed Down by the Border with the mission to enhance the quality of life and provide support to persons with Down syndrome and their families. Through Down by the Border, Dolores has not only provided support for families, but she has also been pivotal in educating legislative leaders, promoting the passage of legislation, and advocating for inclusion in schools. Angie says, “Through all the heartache and pain, I told my friend Dolores that because of Zariah, they have been able to help sooo many other families in their community, and little did she believe she could be a mom, attorney, and advocate for children with special needs.”
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Dolores, thank you for your dedication and leadership and for being a light to so many. You inspire us!
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Learn more: https://www.facebook.com/dbtborder

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Angel P.

Vero Beach, Florida
Read Story

Angel is the Founder and Executive Director of Little Birthday Angels (LBA), a non-profit with the mission to provide a birthday celebration for homeless children living on the Treasure Coast of Florida. Can you imagine growing up without ever having a birthday party? Unfortunately, this is a reality for many homeless children and oftentimes in the Vero Beach area, the Little Birthday Angels birthday party is their very first.⠀
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Over six years ago, Angel and her family learned a local shelter didn’t have the funds for a birthday party for a little girl; This experience blossomed into a tremendous organization that provides birthday celebrations for 4 shelters and 30 public schools. LBA hosts birthday parties monthly at local shelters, full of fun and love and sprinkled with balloons, cake, games, and more. In the schools, children that are registered as homeless receive duffel bags (aka "Birthday Bags of Hope") on their birthday, filled with fun gifts and essential items like clothes and supplies. Fueled by Angel and an immense volunteer effort, this year they will serve twice as many schools and celebrate over 400 homeless kiddos on their birthday. ⠀
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Angel, thank you for showering love and positive attention on countless children. Because of you, these children know that they are seen and they matter. ⠀
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Learn more: https://www.littlebirthdayangels.org/⁠
Celebrating Homeless Children One Birthday at a Time ⁠⠀

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Dr. Julie

Austin, Texas
Read Story

Julie is a Pediatric Surgeon in Austin, Texas, and was nominated by her friend Carol. Julie was born in Mexico, grew up in Texas, and is one of the few Mexican-American Pediatric Surgeons in the country. Carol says, “Let me tell you how Julie is a light every day. She is a woman of faith who uses her faith every day, operating on very tiny and ill infants to make them well and survive under sometimes very dire situations. She cares so much about the babies she cares for that she developed a clothing line designed to allow all of the surgical tubing and lines attached to the baby to fit comfortably through the garment. It hides the tubes as well, making both the small patient comfortable.” ⁠⠀
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Julie’s company, Spoonie Threads, spun off in 2021 from her previous company, Abilitee Adaptive Wear, to meet young patients' needs (under 18). Spoonie Threads makes adaptive products for people with medical devices, chronic illnesses, or unique medical needs. And, here's the best part, she donates these specialty infant garments to mothers who can’t afford to purchase, with all the other medical expenses in tow.⠀
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“Julie is warm and caring and a Mom of a young boy, whom she is raising as a single mom after the sudden death of her loving husband. Julie continues to be strong every day for her son, her family, friends like me, and most importantly, for the little, tiny patients she operates on daily. She is an inspiration to everyone who has gotten to know her,” Carol says.
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And, she certainly inspires us! Viva Babe Julie, thank you for emanating love and light on so many! Shine on!
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Learn more: https://spooniethreads.com/
Adaptive. Accessible. Fashionable. Fun!⁠⠀

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Kris T.

Granbury, Texas
Read Story

Kris is the proud owner of BAKED!, a bread and pastry shop in Granbury, Texas, and is the “human embodiment of amazement and inspiration to all who meet her,” her nominator Kelly says. When her kids were grown, she went to culinary school to fulfill her dream of owning a bakery. She started in a renovated horse trailer, traveling to farmers’ markets, and eventually purchased a property, renovated it, and BAKED! was born! ⠀
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Amid renovations, a pandemic, and opening the retail-side of her shop, she learned she had cancer. Kelly says, “She kept baking and supporting her community. In the last post I saw, her husband was shaving her hair, and now she’s posting photos of herself with cute hats and earrings. She never lets anything stand in her way. She always has a massive smile on her face.”
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Not only is she a shining example of resilience, but she also has a passion for empowering women. Kris’ mission aligns with ours in such a serendipitous way. Since starting BAKED!, she’s shared her vision, it is “Not just about the dough”; It’s about connecting with community and elevating women. She has a full staff of women bakers and makes sure they know they are valued and loved. ⁠⠀
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Thank you, Kris, for lighting the way with beautiful energy and lifting the world around you. ⁠⠀
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To learn more, https://www.facebook.com/bakedbreadandpastryco/⁠⠀

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Chelsea M.

Austin, Texas
Read Story

Chelsea is one of the founders of Rō Fitness in Austin. “If you’ve never been on an indoor rowing machine, it’s no matter to Chelsea. She’ll enthusiastically share her energy and expertise - making you feel like no matter your fitness level, you have the ability to complete a tough workout AND want to come back. In fact, no matter your gender, your weight, your age, or your physical capabilities, Chelsea will show you your power and potential”, her nominator Denise says.  

She has overcome hurdles through this pandemic, making her clients' safety her priority, and working tirelessly to keep her doors open.  Chelsea gives her all every day,  motivating her clients to push their limits and achieve success, both mentally and physically.  Denise says, “It’s so much more than just exercise to her. It’s about challenging yourself to be the best that you can and discovering/believing your own strength and power. Chelsea is a game-changer. She’s a young woman that has channeled her skills and passion into a true, meaningful community here in Austin.”

Chelsea says she lives by Ghandi’s famous quote, ‘Be the change you wish to see in the world.’ To Chelsea, “that means to hold yourself accountable for your own actions to support things you feel passionate about -- and hope that that inspires others to do the same.”

It sure inspires us!  Thank you for your radiating positivity and lifting your community.  We're grateful for you, Chelsea!

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Beverly W.

Goldsboro, North Carolina
Read Story

Beverly is the CEO of Cry Freedom Missions in Goldsboro, North Carolina. Cry Freedom is a non-profit dedicated to rescuing and rehabilitating those enslaved in sex trafficking. Her nominator and former staff member Chretien says Beverly started Cry Freedom to “rescue survivors from human trafficking, place them in safe homes, provide rehab and trauma counseling for them, and employ survivors.” She is a boots-on-the-ground CEO who facilitates these rescues herself, looking for opportunities in local jails, hotels, and areas of prostitution to befriend the victims, often under extremely dangerous circumstances.⁠

As part of the victims’ transition to re-engage in the community, Beverly empowers the victims, employing them to make jewelry as part of a boutique she established to raise money for their mission. It gives them a sense of purpose, provides healing and job skills, and yields Cry Freedom revenue to continue its mission.

“Human trafficking is right now, a 150 billion dollar industry, second only to drugs. You can sell a bag of drugs one time, but you can sell humans many times over. At Cry Freedom Missions, it’s our passion and desire to work boldly and fiercely together with our local community as well as communities and authorities across the state and the nation to reach, rescue, and restore survivors of sex and human trafficking,” Beverly says. ⁠

Beverly, we are eternally grateful for your courage, dedication, and triumphs! Because of you, so many survivors (who could be our sisters, daughters, brothers, or sons) caught in this vicious and inhumane plight have a new lease on life.

To learn more, https://www.cryfreedommissions.com/

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Savannah F.

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Read Story

Savannah is a senior at Robert Morris University (RMU) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and was nominated by her boyfriend’s mom, Janeen. Janeen says, “She is an incredibly strong and driven young woman, and she has one of the strongest minds and biggest hearts I’ve ever known.” ⁠

She’s uber involved in campus organizations, making them stronger with her leadership. At RMU, she’s the VP of the National Council of Negro Women, President of the Organization of Latin American Students, and a Thrive counselor (mental health peer counselor). In addition, she started RMU’s first multicultural sorority when she was told she didn’t fit in with another.

Savannah is also committed to raising awareness and advocating for immigrants’ rights and has been involved with non-profit organizations with this goal. She is a criminal justice major with a political science minor. She is planning to go to law school upon graduation in May, where she will continue her education and her advocacy on her way to becoming an immigration attorney.

Savannah, thank you for being a champion for others! As Dr. Seuss says, “Kid, you’ll move mountains! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So…get on your way!”

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Jaime L.

Dallas, Texas
Read Story

Jaime works for a non-profit in Dallas called The Senior Source and was nominated by her co-worker, Julie. Julie says, “Jaime is quiet, thoughtful, giving, loving, and a connector. She works hard and is often under-recognized for her talent and contributions.” Jaime connects seniors to volunteer with children who have exceptional needs, providing one-on-one emotional support, mentoring, and tutoring to the children as a grandparent figure, as part of their Foster Grandparent program.

⁠⁠Jaime is a humble yet glorious light that quietly lifts the lives of those in her midst. Julie says she wants Jaime to get recognized for “the simple, extraordinary things she does to enrich the lives of older adults, children, and all those around her. Jaime endlessly gives, from little gifts to volunteering to help a teammate, to ensure every person she comes in contact with is taken care of and feels valued. She is a beautiful woman inside and out who does not know her worth, and she could use a confidence boost to remind herself of how special she is to all of us.”

Jaime, your sprinkles of joy and kindness do not go unnoticed. We are thankful for you and all you do to make the world a better place.

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Heather E.

Ocean Springs, Mississippi
Read Story

Heather works full-time, lives in Ocean Springs, Mississippi, is the President of the non-profit Comeback Coolers, and was nominated by Nancy, a fellow volunteer. Comeback Coolers is a volunteer organization that aims to deliver a much-needed break to those who have been in the path of a natural disaster, delivering ice-packed coolers with drinks, beer, oranges, and wet wipes to storm-ridden areas. Heather said when Hurricane Katrina hit their community, and they were without power for days, the one thing she longed for was ice-cold beer. Thus, Comeback Coolers was born!
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Nancy says, “The coolers are all decorated with inspirational messages from members of the community. In the last month (Sept.), this group has delivered over 100 coolers to flood victims in Iowa; 480 coolers were delivered to Louisiana after Hurricane Laura, and then last weekend 370 coolers were delivered to Alabama and Florida after Hurricane Sally. In addition to coolers, we also deliver buckets of goodies to linemen working in the area and small coolers designed especially for kids.”
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What’s even more ridiculously awesome is the ripple effect taking place, where one recipient of the Comeback Cooler then donates the cooler back, with added inspirational messages. In fact, one cooler has been to five different disasters, each of the owners donating it back, filled with goodies and inspiration!⁠⠀
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Heather, you are one incredible Viva Babe! Thank you!

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Kinsey R.

Columbus, Georgia
Read Story

Kinsey is a full-time mom in Columbus, Georgia, and was nominated by her mom, Pamela. Kinsey and her husband have three children, a boy and two girls, and both daughters have special needs. Her oldest daughter, Charlie Jane, is five and has multiple issues, including seizures and congenital heart defects. “When Charlie came home after ten weeks in a vent, Kinsey had to do around the clock tube feedings every three hours while also taking care of a two-year-old. She’s had multiple trips to Atlanta (over 100 miles away) and open-heart surgery. Kinsey NEVER once has complained or asks ‘why me?’”, Pamela says. ⠀
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Their youngest child, Ellie Ruth, was born with Spina Bifida and Chiari II malformation (a condition in which brain tissue extends into the spinal canal). Ellie, too, has spent time in the hospital, most recently undergoing a spinal cord surgery in November. In her nomination, Pamela says, “Ellie has to be cathed every six hours, has a shunt, and lower limb issues, but Kinsey has remained steadfast and diligent. Kinsey’s faith is unshakable, her energy is unwavering, and her smile is contagious. She has the patience of a saint.”
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Kinsey, you are remarkable and one awesome momma! We are thankful to call you a Viva Babe!
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For more inspiration, follow their journey here, https://www.facebook.com/prayforcharliejane/⁠⠀

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Bryttani C.

Odessa, Texas
Read Story

Bryttani is an ER nurse in Odessa, Texas, and was nominated by her stepmom, Maria. Maria shares, “Her compassion, selflessness, and strength are so inspiring.” Their community suffered a terrible tragedy on August 31, 2019, a spree shooting on a busy Labor Day weekend. Bryttani was working that day. “Without hesitation, she worked countless hours and cared for many patients, including a 17-month-old little girl, one who was close in age to her own daughter. In the midst of all the citywide confusion, Bryttani contacted her family to make sure they were all safe. It was a physically exhausting day for her, but on the day, she carried far more emotional pain. One that only nurses working that day can understand,” Maria says. ⁠

Months later, she is on the frontlines of COVID, wearing protective gear for 12 hours a day, still making time for her family and college. In fact, she graduated from the University of Texas – El Paso in December. Plus, when she’s not wearing scrubs, she’s running her online clothing boutique she started a few months ago.

“She is a go-getter and accomplishes anything she sets her mind to,” Maria shares.

Thank you, Bryttani, for your courage on that tragic day, and for showing us your incredible caring spirit and your drive to achieve your goals. You absolutely enrich the lives of others.

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Annie S.

St. Louis, Missouri
Read Story

Annie lives in St. Louis, Missouri, and was nominated by her daughter, Kat. Kat says, “In 2008, I became very sick with an eating disorder. [My mom] dropped everything to help me get well. My road to recovery is very intertwined with her dedication to being properly informed about this disease. By the time I had become stable, my mom was an expert on eating disorders and the insurance nuances surrounding them. She knew that many Missourians were not getting the care they deserved, and quite frankly, the care they needed to survive this disease. So, she became a full-time advocate for passing eating disorder legislation. As a citizen advocate, she worked to get the MO Missouri Eating Disorder Council (MO EDC) established into law in 2010. She has been chairing the MO EDC ever since as a volunteer.”


When Annie started this journey, there was very little awareness about eating disorders, so she went to the state capitol every week for eight years to educate and advocate and ultimately pass four bills. Kat continues, “Thanks to the MO EDC, today, Missouri leads the nation in eating disorders awareness and increasing access to treatment. The love that my mom has poured into her activism has affected the lives of many. She continues to be a strong force of healing and justice in our community. She is wildly deserving of having her story heard!”


Yesss!! Annie, we see you, and we are incredibly grateful for you! Thank you for your perseverance and selflessness, paving the way to a better life for others.

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Vicki S.

Austin, Texas
Read Story

Vicki lives in Austin and was nominated by her long-time friend, Amy.  Amy says, “I have known Vicki for 25 years- she is SO worthy of your company’s positive spirit. She has had a tumultuous life- but NEVER wavered from her ridiculously positive approach. She is the friend who makes a delicious and beautiful homemade cupcake tree for your birthday. Try to do something for her and she will make it about you.”

Vicki experienced devastating loss earlier this year.  The love of her life and husband of 20 years, Alex, was diagnosed with COVID in March. Vicki nursed him through while she too was battling the illness. He recovered and went back to work. Tragically, two months later he passed away suddenly due to complications.  

“She is the glue that keeps her family together, but nobody could hug or comfort her due to the risks to her at-risk family members. She received many condolences on Facebook, and true to her caring nature she turned around and comforted others,” Amy says. Amy continues, “Vicki has one daughter and one grandchild- as if life hadn’t dealt her more than she could bear- her beloved 9-year-old grandson began experiencing seizures and migraines only to require brain surgery for a tumor. Her grandson is healing, and I’m sure Vicki is healing, too.  I can’t think of a more deserving Viva Babe out there. Maintaining positivity, celebrating life, and caring for others above herself!”.

We wholeheartedly agree!  Vicki is remarkable and deserves the greatest ovation.  Vicki, we applaud your tenacity and your beautiful, bright light!

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Patrice P.

Farmington, Missouri
Read Story

Patrice is a mom of four, works two jobs, and lives in Farmington, Missouri. Patrice is a dedicated teacher for the local school district’s alternative program during the morning and early afternoon. Her nominator, Allison, says, “She teaches multiple grades with special needs students, and loves them as her own.” After she finishes her school day, she transitions to boutique owner and heads over to finish her day working at her boutique. “As soon as she gets off work at the school, she heads to her store, Ophelia, that she has built from the ground up for the past eight years.”, Allison says (Allison works for Patrice at Ophelia).

“Patrice works so hard to keep beautiful clothing, accessories, purses, and more in her store so that women of all sizes have stylish options. She takes the time to get to know her customers individually and always puts her customers first. She works countless hours every day helping others, and then wakes up the next morning to do it all again”, Allison says.

Patrice says, “My journey through education and owning a boutique has always been about helping others feel confident, supported, loved, and independent. At Ophelia, I have signs & doors throughout that say, “Opening the Doors To Fashion For All Women”! I believe this with all my heart! If YOU feel good about YOURSELF inside and out, you can do great things... I hope to be a small part of that journey! Watching my students succeed and my customers smile is just a wonderful feeling and so good for the soul!

Patrice, your energy, dedication, and positivity lifts those you connect with daily. Thank you for showing up each and every day to bring joy, support, and love to others.

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Jamali M.

Brooklyn, New York
Read Story

Jamali lives in Brooklyn, NY, and in addition to her roles as mom, daughter, and sister, she’s a mental health advocate who works two jobs. Jamali is a clinical social worker for the NYC Department of Education and provides therapy to fellow New Yorkers facing various trauma levels.


Justin, her boyfriend, nominated her, saying, “2020 has brought new levels of anxiety and fear for so many in our country, and while we recognize medical professionals such as doctors and nurses, therapists like Jamali go unnoticed as frontline workers. She is providing mental health counseling to people who have experienced various losses from COVID, from loved ones to jobs. I think it is difficult, yet extremely resilient, to help others find strength when so much loss and devastation is happening to so many of us.”

When Jamali is not providing therapy to New Yorkers, she works as a school social worker and restorative justice coordinator. Justin says, “This role and practice is used in schools to disrupt the school to prison pipeline by offering restorative outcomes instead of punitive practices to students. Since Jamali is a clinician, she’s observed that for many students, ‘acting out’ behavior is highly correlated to many factors outside the control of the student. As a result of this observation, she offers counseling in addition to the restorative outcomes to children most impacted by family and societal factors.”


Jamali, your work does not go unnoticed!! We see you, and we appreciate your dedication to lifting others, especially your courage and tenacity to give folks the tools to cope during a worldwide pandemic. Thank you! 

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Pamela D.

The Colony, Texas
Read Story

We are so moved when a young lady nominates her mom, inspired by her mom’s tenacity and determination to lift others. Such is the case with Elaina, Pamela’s daughter. Elaina says, “Many things define a hard worker, outgoing, disciplined, and persistent. My mom is all those and more. It takes someone willing to be told ‘no’ to their ideas over and over again, yet still powering through.”

Pamela is the founder and CEO of Next Steps, a non-profit in The Colony, Texas. Next Steps provides free coaching and resources to prevent life’s obstacles from becoming a crisis and help those already in crisis recover. Pamela says, “We work on neighbors helping neighbors philosophy. When we, as a community, lift up the ones who are struggling the most, we all become better!”⠀

Elaina continues, “She’s built it from the ground up (and during a worldwide pandemic? Crazy!) and in this short time, she has touched so many lives and made such a positive impact on the community. I want to be that strong, brave, wonderful woman I see my mom as. She inspires me daily.”

She inspires us, too! Thank you for persisting through the “no’s,” Pamela!

Pamela tells her clients, “Keep doing the next right thing, and the right things will happen.” Whoop!

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Margarita G.

San Antonio, Texas
Read Story

Margarita is a Corporate Pilot from San Antonio, TX, and was nominated by her friend, John. John says when he first chatted with Margarita, “I discovered an amazing story of trials and tribulations. This is a woman who came from a simple background and through hard work and perseverance, became one of the top female pilots in the US.”

Margarita was born in a small pueblo in Jalisco, Mexico. She moved to Kansas at the age of 16, married, and had two children by the age of 19. She worked the night shift at a packing plant to single-handedly raise her children, learn how to speak English, and worked hard to earn her US citizenship.

Margarita knew she was destined for more! She changed careers to work as a mechanic for an aircraft manufacturing company, she earned a bachelor’s degree and began taking flying lessons. After 20 years in Kansas, she moved to Texas, started flying small corporate jets to and from Mexico, and earned her master’s degree. Margarita sought even greater challenges and landed a job with a charter aircraft company. This current job requires exceptionally long hours, taking her away from home at least 14 days at a time. Although it’s hectic, Margarita thrives in this environment and now flies the fastest private passenger jet in the world.

Margarita’s tenacity and dedication remind us that we can achieve anything we set our minds to. John says, “Captain Margarita is an inspiration to girls everywhere. This woman is living proof that anyone can be whatever they want through hard work, determination, and believing in herself.”

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Stephanie K.

Bulverde, Texas
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Stephanie is the Principal Secretary at a large high school in South Central Texas and was nominated by her friend, Fern. For the last 8 years, she’s been an integral part of the high school's inner workings and goes beyond her role to truly nurture, reassure, encourage, and watch over the students. Fern says, “She is there for every game or activity to support the students. From her sincere care and compassion to her beautiful, natural smile, Stephanie is always someone you can turn to when you need help or answers to questions.” And there have been so many questions over the last few months, but she answers them with a cheerful smile.

Her generosity extends to her community, with leadership roles on a local board, as a cheer coach, as a team mom for Little League teams, as a chaperone for the band, and in multiple other ways. ⁠⠀

Regarding her outlook on life, Stephanie says, “The real phrase that has truly shaped my life and the way I live my life is that my Dad woke up and said every single day, ‘Today is a Great Day!’ Even when he was fighting cancer, he would still wake up and say, ‘Today is a Great Day!’ The phrase and positivity translate to her workday. Stephanie says, “And because I LOVE my job, and LOVE our students, our parents, and our community, I added Rangers (our mascot) to my phrase. So, my phrase every day at work is “Today is a Great Ranger Day!” ⠀

Thank you, Stephanie, for casting joy and kindness on so many! Your school and your community are brighter because of you!

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Jordana M.

Bastrop, Texas
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Jordana works for Austin Pets Alive (APA) and was nominated by her sister-in-law, Monette. In 2009, Jordana joined APA working as a medical technician under the organization’s executive director, Dr. Ellen Jefferson. “She managed the medical clinic, seeing and helping transform Austin into the largest ‘no-kill’ shelter in the country,” Monette says. During that time, APA developed groundbreaking programs such as the Parvo ICU, Ringworm Treatment Ward, and supported over 600 foster homes. Jordana was instrumental in all of these accomplishments.”

Fast forward to today, and Jordana is leading the charge in educating other shelters on how to increase their live release rates. APA was awarded a multimillion-dollar grant in 2017 by Maddie’s Fund to share methods with other shelters, and Jordana directs this mission as Maddie’s Medical Program Director. Monette says, “She has hosted hundreds of students in Austin and traveled to over 50 shelters across the U.S., helping them to increase their live release rates through progressive programming, effective protocols, and treating animals as individuals.”

Jordana says her goal is “to be as helpful as possible to everyone I come across. Our focus is to help animals in this work, but we have to always help people as well. If we can help people, we are helping animals, too.”

Jordana, thank you for saving countless furry companions and for positively impacting the world. We applaud you!

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Tracy S.

Katy, Texas
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Tracy lives in Katy, Texas, and was nominated by her long-time friend, Laura. Tracy works full-time as a Legal Assistant for a law firm and still finds the time to give back in a BIG way! She is involved with the local Big Sister youth mentoring program, and when her little sister moved away recently, she maintained contact with the local family still residing in town. When she learned the siblings were sleeping on the floor, she and her husband purchased beds for them, as well as ensured the fridge and pantry were well-stocked.

On the weekends, you can find Tracy volunteering at TMR (Texas Miracle Ranch), a rescue organization that cares for neglected and abused donkeys. She is the Volunteer Coordinator, recruiting and managing the myriad of volunteers. Tracy says her time working with the donkeys is therapeutic!

“She is tireless in her efforts to help in any way in her community. Her son works in law enforcement, and she frequently brings baked goods to the officers. Her commitment never falters,” Laura says.⁠

Tracy reminds us to “Do what you love!” When you pursue your passion, your heart is filled with joy, and you can make an incredible difference.

Yesss! Tracy, your passion and your commitment to lifting others is so refreshing. Thank you for your overflowing generosity!

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Carissa F.

Saint Peters, Missouri
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Carissa lives in Saint Peters, Missouri, and is the Executive Director of Community Strong St. Charles County. Her nominator, Karen, says, "Community Strong focuses on inspiring the underserved in our county to make choices that better their lifestyle and well-being.” ⠀

Before leading Community Strong, Carissa founded and directed a maternity home for teen mothers experiencing homelessness. She created a place of safety for these young moms and babies. Karen says, “Carissa started this home for single teen moms seven years ago and it is still affecting the lives of mamas and babies for the better every day. She was the Founder and Executive Director there for years and, when it was running well, she passed it on to other professionals to take it to the next level.”⠀

Carissa’s leadership, dedication, and compassion have lifted the lives of countless people in her community. “The impact Carissa has made on the lives of underserved women in our county cannot be understated. She is an inspiration to so many and deserves all of the accolades, even though her humility and quiet nature lead her to shy away from them,” Karen says.

Carissa, you lift the lives of so many, so today is your day to be lifted and celebrated! From all of us, thank you!

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Elisa A.

Parker, Colorado
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Elisa works as a Bilingual Early Childhood Special Education Teacher in a large public school district in Colorado. Additionally, she works with a local agency to provide bilingual special education services to preschoolers. She was nominated by her friend, Teresa, who says, “Elisa has made a positive and long-lasting change in the lives of so many students and their families.” In addition to her role as a bilingual SPED teacher, she also manages El Grupo Vida, a local parent support group for children with special needs. Teresa says, “El Group Vida has grown in its membership and community reputation and parents have greatly increased their skills and advocacy on behalf of their children as a result of Elisa’s efforts.”

Elisa jumps into action in a time of need. She spearheaded the collection of essential supplies when Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico in 2017. The storm wreaked havoc on the island and impacted Elisa’s parents and extended family; Elisa worked tirelessly to collect supplies and even secured a private jet to deliver them free of charge.⁠

Teresa says, “Elisa is selfless, always eager to lend a helping hand, and keen on developing her professional skills to better serve her students and their families. She is always so positive in her attitude, and resolute in making her part of the world a better place.”

Elisa thank you for your compassion and your dedication to going the extra mile for others. You are a shining star, and we applaud you for your infinite awesomeness!⁠

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Melinda A.

Petersburg, Virginia
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Melinda lives in Petersburg, Virginia, with her husband, Calvin, and their son, Sterling. Eight years ago, Melinda lost her oldest son, Grayson, in a tragic boating accident. Dawn, her sister and nominator, says, “Every day is a new emotional journey. Some days are good, and some are downright painful.” They lean on each other and their faith to move forward through their devastating loss.⁠⠀

“Though he is not here to laugh and to love, his memory remains very much alive in the hearts of those that were privileged to know him, love him, and to have been loved by him,” Dawn says. Melinda and her husband have kept his memory alive through a scholarship program entitled Dig Deep 12. Dawn says, “Grayson was an avid baseball player with a bright future in baseball. His jersey number was 12. As he would approach the batter’s box at his turn to bat, his Dad would always yell, ‘Dig Deep 12!’ Over the years, Dig Deep 12 has awarded thousands of dollars in scholarship funds to aid aspiring college baseball athletes to reach their educational goals.

Melinda shares how difficult this journey has been, but she knows Grayson’s memory will live on through this scholarship. She says, “I, myself, live by these words; as I try to ‘Dig Deep’ and push through each day to be my best self for my youngest son, husband, family, and friends.”

Melinda, you are a beautiful bright light. We are inspired by your tenacity and desire to 'Dig Deep’ for your loved ones and your community. Because of you and your generosity, Grayson’s memory will forever live on. 

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Sylvia W.

Atlanta, Georgia
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Sylvia is the founder and CEO of the non-profit, 40 Girls and Some Shoes, in Atlanta, Georgia. She is committed to helping the less fortunate take the first step into a new life by providing them with a new or gently-worn pair of shoes. Over the past 10 years, the non-profit has provided over 35,000 pairs of shoes to the homeless and underserved in her community. Her organization also partners with local schools, donating shoes to their supply closets, so that students can come to school ready to learn and thrive.

Sylvia makes instantaneous connections with her charisma and joy! Her nominator, Cynthia, says, “Sylvia is ALWAYS smiling, laughing, and hugging you when you see her. She’s a phenomenal inspiration, a go-getter, with endless energy. I just can’t say enough about Sylvia.”

We can’t either! Sylvia inspires us with her leadership and dedication to lifting the lives of others! Her motto motivates us, too - "When you move with a genuine heart, people never forget you." You will be long-remembered for your impact, Sylvia! Thank you.

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Lori E.

Bryan, Texas
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Lori is an Elementary Music Educator in Bryan, Texas, and was nominated by her sister, Lyndi. After several years of teaching kindergarten and 2nd grade, Lori found her passion and has spent the last nine years in music education. Lyndi says, “Lori wrote and gifted the school with its first school song and founded The Kemp Notables - an after-school glee club focused on building confidence and ability through local performance! This specific program was groundbreaking at her school, as it was the first of its kind.”

The glee club has transcended expectations! Lyndi says, “Enrollment for kids wanting to join far exceeded what anyone had planned, and its success can be read, not only in numbers from year to year, but in the smiles and joy emanating from each of her performers.”

Not only is Lori lifting the lives of her students at school, but she also is positively impacting youth involved in the local community theater. Lyndi says, “Lori has championed for childhood and youth community performance art, as well.” She’s involved in “set design/production/management, administrative duties and even mastering the lighting and soundboard controls to ensure quality productions for all the kids involved.”


Lori, thank you for boosting creativity and spreading love and positivity through music! Your dedication and passion for lifting the lives of our youth inspire us! 

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Rayne P.

Eagle Grove, Iowa
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Rayne is the Lab Director for two rural hospitals and seven clinics in Eagle Grove, Iowa. Her commitment to her community is unmatched. Her nominator, Ashley, says, “Rayne has dedicated all her time to ensuring we can run COVID tests to help keep our area businesses and hospitals going.”

Testing is crucial to the Coronavirus response, and she works incredibly long hours, giving up weekends and evenings off so that she can keep the COVID tests running. She’s missed out on birthdays and evening plans to make sure hospital staff and doctors are tested and ready for surgeries in the morning. Ashley continues, “She has helped coordinate hundreds of tests over the last few months, making sure our area can stay safe and keep businesses running.”⁠⠀

Rayne, we are blown away by your energy and commitment to keeping your community going. We applaud your tenacity and strength as you keep calm and carry on!

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Teri B.

Casa Grande, Arizona
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Teri lives in Casa Grande, Arizona, and was nominated by her husband, Aaron. Aaron says, “Several years ago, my wife began work in 3rd world nations, rescuing orphaned children from the worst injustices you can imagine, from abandonment, trafficking, child slavery, starvation, and death. Her efforts culminated in the development of a growing and thriving non-profit that now has rescue operations in 5 nations (Albania, India, Nepal, Philippines, and Mexico)".

Their non-profit, Expect Hope, delivers a hopeful future for these children by ending the cycle of poverty and providing the care and support they need. Aaron says, “She personally developed a sponsorship program that creates sustainable giving and therefore sustainable life for these children, and now the organization has rescued over 600 children and takes care of them daily.”

Teri, your passion for lifting the young lives of those less fortunate is truly inspiring. Thank you for bestowing hope and the promise of a better life on these shattered and innocent souls.

To learn more, https://expecthope.com/⁠

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Lisa M.

Fort Mill, South Carolina
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Lisa lives in Fort Mill, South Carolina, and was nominated by her husband, Jimmy.  She’s a wife, a mom, works full-time as a retail General Manager, and in her free time, she lifts the lives of others with her Art Bus.  Jimmy says, “She decided a few years ago that she would use her passion for art and helping people to form a one-woman art studio. She formed The Art Bus. Actually, it is a 2014 Ford Focus hatchback but someday it will be a bus.” Lisa says, “Art is good for your soul.” She knew others could use it, but she wasn’t sure where she wanted to go with it.

That changed when a friend of hers introduced her to the Next Step Clubhouse, a special clubhouse for adults with special needs. Jimmy says, “She went to uptown Charlotte and fell in love with the place, the people, and the program.”  She visits the Clubhouse every Wednesday morning for art with her friends there. Clubhouse members love painting with Lisa!“The participants are able to produce art for auction at the yearly gala and I think they raised $1000 the first year. The following year with planning, the art auction expanded and went online, and more money was raised. I’m sure next year will be even bigger. She does this while working 50-60 hours a week at her store and caring for our family,” Jimmy says.

Lisa, you are incredible!  We’re so grateful you choose to share your talents and your love. The world is a brighter and more colorful place thanks to you. 

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Lisa A.

Bremen, Alabama
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Lisa lives in Bremen, Alabama, and was nominated by her friend and running buddy, Natasha.Many years ago, Natasha was diagnosed with kidney disease, and she knew eventually she would reach the point when she was going to need a kidney transplant.⁠⠀

Natasha says, “We always joked that when the time came, Lisa would be tested. Well, the time came. Lisa and I made the trip to UAB Hospital in Birmingham, AL. Without hesitation, she went through a long day of testing. We were on our way home, and Lisa looked at me and said, I know in my heart that I'm going to be your match. From then on, we both had a peace that neither of us could explain.”

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Lisa was a perfect match. And she didn’t waver. They had kidney transplant surgery on May 28, 2020. The surgery went great, they both recovered well, and now Natasha feels better than ever! Selflessly, Lisa says, “Anybody would do that for a friend.”

All the kudos to Lisa for her amazing generosity, giving Natasha the greatest gift of all, the opportunity to live life to the fullest!

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Jeanette T.

Austin, Texas
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Imagine the surprise when the Consuela Crew shows up on your front doorstep during your lunch break from Zoom classes (and luckily for us, the whole family is in town)! Jeanette was astonished!

Jeanette is a Testing Coordinator at an Austin-area high school whose role is to administer tests to students with special accommodations/needs. Beyond her role, Jeanette goes the extra mile to lift the students' lives. Her nominator, Elizabeth, a fellow teacher and friend, says, “she provides food, clothes, school supplies, toiletries, and even furniture to newly arrived refugee families. She collects donations from many different sources and uses her personal money; Imagine the number of hours she puts into this!! She even created a Supply Closet in her classroom.”

Last year, to motivate failing students, she connected with a local hamburger restaurant to create free meal tickets for students to earn as they completed each unit. The program was wildly successful with hundreds of tickets handed out.

To top things off, she also fosters cats, caring for them until they are given a permanent home. Over the years, she’s saved hundreds of cats!
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She strives to live by her motto, “Do one good deed a day.”
Jeanette, you are living proof that kindness and compassion make a difference. We are thankful for your limitless good deeds!

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Deb G.

Mbale, Uganda
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Deb and her husband live over 80% of their time in a village in Mbale, Uganda, where they teach sustainable life change. Vonda, Deb’s nominator, says, “Deb experienced the most gut-wrenching loss of her 18-year-old son Sean to an accidental drug overdose in 2007. She and her husband used this loss to propel them to make a difference. In 2008, they sold all their possessions and moved to Uganda to start One City Ministries, with the goal to support Ugandans physically, mentally, and spiritually.”

Their home is in the Light Village, a 23-acre prototype sustainable village. Vonda says, “They are working to take this model to other parts of Africa, believing that by equipping people to break the generations of poverty, they can change their communities and their country.” ⁠

Deb and One City are making an incredible difference. In 2008, two children a week were dying from Malaria; Today, they haven’t had a death in over six years. They’ve established a weekly medical clinic, where they’ve treated over 7000 patients since 2018, and are in the process of breaking ground on the Sean Gilbert Memorial Medical Center. They provide agricultural training, and graduates receive a WaterCart, enabling better farming practices and water access. Plus, they employ over 150 people in their village.

We are in complete awe. Deb, your pure altruism, your faith, and your giving heart are the definition of ridiculously awesome. Thank you. ⁠

https://onecityministries.org/

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Danette H.

Windsor, Colorado
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Danette is a motivational speaker in Windsor, Colorado, and was nominated by Shalon. As a young child, Danette dreamed of being Miss America. This dream was shattered, devastatingly at 10 years old, when Danette, her brother, and their father were severely burned in a gas explosion in their home. Danette had 3rd-degree burns over 70% of her body. “It was that day that changed her life forever. She has had countless surgeries to help with her burns and scars”, Shalon says.⁠

In 2020, Danette summoned up the courage, pushed herself out of her comfort zone, and did something that the 10-year-old Danette would have never dreamed of; She competed in the Mrs. Colorado pageant, with Shalon as her coach. Danette says, “you have no idea how much your courage is affecting others. By believing in ourselves, you can totally inspire the people around you.”

And inspire, she does. “She now mentors and counsels burn victims and shares the hope she has found in living flawlessly beautiful with her scars,” Shalon says. And, through her motivational speaking program, ‘Flawless,’ she teaches women that we are enough, that we have to first love ourselves, and how to see our true beauty.

Danette fuels us with her mantra, “Be bold in Faith, Lead with Love, and NEVER be afraid to show your TRUE BEAUTY!"⁠

https://soulonfireforothers.com/⁠

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Amy L.

Boulder, Colorado
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Amy is the owner of the Nothing Bundt Cakes franchise in Boulder, CO., and was nominated by her friend Lari. Amy and her family immigrated to the US from Hong Kong in 1986. Her parents are long-time entrepreneurs, owning a local restaurant for many years, where Amy learned the ingredients of a successful business. Amy and her sister purchased the struggling Bundt cake franchise in 2018 and immersed themselves, “working intense, long days to make the franchise their own. Customers soon noticed the new energy in the store and spread the word, and they began to see progress.” Lari says.
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Then came COVID. Their business felt the financial strains. Amy pivoted her business strategy, reaching out to give away as many Bundt cakes as possible to non-profits, schools, hospitals, and first responders. “Rather than curtail her community involvement, Amy shifted her focus to meet the needs of those who tirelessly work to keep us safe and secure,” Lari says. She has given away thousands of Bundt cakes to Boulder community members.

“During a dark time, Amy is a beacon of inspiration and optimism,” Lari says, and we agree!
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Amy shares the ‘recipe for happiness and success.’ She says with the right mindset and surrounding yourself with positive people; you can achieve it!

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Lisle R.

Thornton, Colorado
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Lisle is the Whole Child Initiatives Coordinator in a Denver-area school district and is dedicated to making sure their most impacted students have the basic food, hygiene, and health supplies to be ready to learn.Shannon nominated her, saying, “Her job is to seek out students and families who are struggling so that the student can become learning ready. This means getting emergency assistance to the family, tapping them into local programs, providing a bag of groceries or some clothes, or even helping them locate a bed for a new home as they move out of homelessness. With the Covid-19 crisis, Lisle is personally going to their homes and reaching out to their families.”
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Lisle doesn’t stop when her weekday is done. “At night, she writes grants to try to get funds for this work. On the weekends, she's rallying her friends and neighbors to bring groceries and household supplies and even books and activities for families without television or internet, so that when she arrives at their houses, she can help them with what they need”, Shannon says.


Shannon continues, “Her passion and energy are endless, and she makes me want to be better at my job and a better neighbor. She keeps fighting the good fight. We can’t do this without Lisle.” On the day of the surprise, Lisle was in the midst of her work, surrounded by diapers and other emergency supplies.

Lisle shares her mantra from Walt Whitman, O Me! O Life! (and also tattooed on her arm), “That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.”

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Colleen B.

San Antonio, Texas
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From one Viva Babe to another, Viva Babe Beverly nominated Colleen for her stellar career, her tenacity in hard times, and her ridiculously awesome perspective on life. In 2018, we celebrated Beverly through our It’s Not About the Bag program; She wanted to pay it forward by nominating Colleen, someone she truly admires. Beverly says, “In my 27 years of education, I have worked with many professionals. Last summer, I was given the opportunity to work for someone I had admired for so many years. Colleen is a 35-year Education veteran who has served as a teacher, principal, director, and Executive Director for Learning Support Services” in a San Antonio-area school district.

Colleen is resilient and a beacon of positivity even in the hardest situations. Beverly says, “Colleen has a huge heart, she sees the positive out of the most stressful times, and she knows exactly how to work and inspire each of us. A few years ago, Colleen suffered tragedy with the loss of her son in a car accident. Even at the most heartbreaking time in her life, she and her husband presented themselves in the most humbling, loving way to the standing room only church full of friends and family.”

She’s an empathetic leader who keeps the faith in times of uncertainty. Beverly says, “Even in times when things tend to get a little tough, Colleen is great at helping us think situations through and always providing us a possible solution. Colleen is always willing to take on more, and she will tell you, ‘that everything will always work out.’”⁠

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Cynthia J.

Fulshear, Texas
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Cynthia is the owner of Dash Blossoms, an inspirational new passion and business that grew from countless hours waiting in doctors' offices with her son, Dash. Soon after giving birth to twins, her son was having feeding difficulties and showing some abnormal behavior. After about a year of tests and numerous doctor visits, they learned Dash has a rare genetic disorder and neurodevelopmental delays that put him on the Autism Spectrum.⁠⠀
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So, doctor’s appointments became a regular occurrence, and Cynthia found herself passing her time in the waiting rooms, doodling pen art in a journal. Her nominator Jennifer says, “from the doodles in doctor's offices, Dash Blossoms was born. Cynthia always loved art but never took it seriously or even took art classes in school. The fact that she can now share this talent to express her journey and emotions is an obvious blessing. Cynthia is the epitome of talent, strength, and faith.”
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Cynthia, thank you for sharing your beautiful, inspirational artwork with the world. We love that you’ve discovered your incredible talent through an unforeseen journey with your son, Dash, and you are creating joy in the journey.
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https://www.dashblossoms.com/⁠⠀

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Dianne A.

Snow Hill, North Carolina
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She has unselfishly dedicated her life to her country and her county. Her daughter Tracey nominated her, sharing her longtime commitment to our country, working 26 years for Congress. She followed this with 12 years traveling the country, working for FEMA in disaster relief efforts, including Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina and in Boston after the marathon bombing. She recently moved back to Greene County, NC, after being gone for 20+ years and ran for and won the Town Commissioner position.

Dianne is currently the Executive Director of a Disaster Recovery Center that doubles as a Food Pantry in Snow Hill, NC. The food pantry feeds over 1000 people monthly in Greene County, including shut-ins, school programs, and county camps for children. Tracy says, “She loves with a passion and helps everyone. She once gave away a car because the lady didn’t have transportation. She’s beautiful inside and out.”

Tracey also shared her recent rash of heartbreaking personal family losses, including her father, mother, husband, and aunt in the last 18 months, yet Dianne still maintains an incredible giving light.


Thank you, Dianne, for your dedication to your neighbors and our country! We are eternally grateful and applaud your commitment to lifting the lives of others.

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Robin F.

Studio City, California
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Robin is the creator and founder of Heart. Soul. Pen. women’s writing program and a writer, teacher, creativity coach, and the mother of three spirited kids. Robin was nominated by her best friend, Lorelle, after Lorelle was a student in her class. Lorelle says, “Robin creates a safe and nurturing environment for women to share their stories and lets everyone know how important their story is. Her encouragement to write, without judgment or the need for perfectionism, allows us to be free to shake out the issues stored deep in our tissues.”

Robin started writing after her son was diagnosed with ADHD. Lorelle says, “Her son struggled with severe ADHD, so Robin, of course, became an advocate for him. She started writing about her experience and helping kids with ADHD and their parents. She talked about how much the writing had changed her life, and soon other women wanted to write with her. This led Robin to start writing workshops for women.”

Robin believes passionately in the importance of women’s stories. During quarantine, she finds new ways to share women’s writing with the world through online events and an online magazine she publishes to share her student’s work. Lorelle says, “Robin continues in her pursuit to inspire people and make a positive change in the lives of her students and all those who are fortunate enough to read her writing.” Robin believes that sharing her story of advocating for a son with ADHD helped her find her purpose. Her motto is, “Courage, creativity, and community will transform your life.”

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Sally A.

Richmond, Texas
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Sally is the Head Custodian at a Houston-area elementary school and was nominated by her co-worker, Brittney. Brittney says, “She works harder and longer hours than anyone I have ever known. In the 4 years, I have known her, she has NEVER complained, and ALWAYS has a smile on her face." She steps in without complaint when her one of her team members is out, and if you ever need something, she’s on it right away! ⁠⠀

She scatters kindness down the halls and her joyful spirit ripples throughout the school. “The children love her hugs and energetic laugh. You can hear her laughter from across the school. She also keeps all of us on the moral path”, Brittney says.
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Sally also works hard to provide for her two young adult daughter’s college educations. She’s a single mom who puts her family first.

There’s no question she’s making life ridiculously awesome for her fellow staff and students. Sally, you are the epitome of a Viva Babe, finding joy in the journey! Way to shine, Viva Babe Sally!

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Leslie T.

Vinegar Bend, Alabama
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Leslie is a labor and delivery RN in Vinegar Bend, AL, and was nominated by Charla, Taylor’s mom.  Leslie was driving home from the night shift on February 9, 2020, when she spotted a glimpse of smoke. She turned around, and she saw a truck overturned and crushed. Leslie called 911 as she ran to the vehicle and told them there was no way anyone survived.⁠


Charla’s son, Taylor, and his cousin were in that truck. Tragically, Taylor’s cousin did not survive. Taylor was trapped and called out when he heard Leslie talking. Authorities were able to get him out, and he was Life Flighted. For over 3 hours, Leslie held his hand and comforted him.⠀
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Leslie, Charla, and Taylor live in neighboring towns but had never met. ⁠⠀
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They met for the first time in early August, to surprise and celebrate Leslie as a Viva Babe for her selfless and heroic actions. Charla says, “She is a Blessing and a HERO to us.” 
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Leslie is a light. She’s a light for Taylor and all of us. Not only for her heroism that day but for her radiating positivity. She loves to smile, and her patients see it. She says, “It makes all the difference in the world. It could change the way someone’s day is going!” 

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Avissa

Montclair, New Jersey
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Avissa has dedicated her life to teaching and caring for youngsters, 42 years at the same childcare center, and 21 years as its Director.  As a young adult, Avissa started working part-time in the kitchen of Neighborhood Child Care Center (NCCC) in Montclair, NJ; then, she trained as a teacher assistant. Eventually, she was offered a scholarship for the training to become a teacher. Her nominator Gambi says, “Avissa has always loved working with children but never thought she would be running the childcare program that first took a chance and hired her as a kitchen assistant. NCCC also knew she was a special person and invested in her as she certainly couldn’t afford to pay for formal training.”
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Avissa regularly champions the center's needs and advocates for the children, families, and staff. She goes above and beyond her role as Director, providing baskets and goodies at Thanksgiving and other holidays for the families and staff, as many are disadvantaged. Plus, “during the COVID-19 pandemic, Avissa’s center was one of the few in the area designated as an emergency childcare site. She jumped in without concern for herself with her usual ‘the children and the families need us’ attitude to provide care to the essential workers in the community who had young children,” Gambi says. 
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Avissa, thank you for your tenacity and your lifelong commitment to your community. Your steadfast dedication does not go unnoticed. We celebrate you, Viva Babe Avissa!

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Olivia P.

Austin, Texas
Read Story

Fate and an instant connection grew into a fast friendship between Olivia and her nominator, DeeDee. Olivia is a florist at an Austin-area HEB, where she offers so much more than beautiful floral arrangements.  DeeDee says, “Shortly before Corona, I visited the floral department looking for flowers for my mother yet not realizing I’d meet a beautiful and vibrant woman who would encourage me through dark times that would come. Olivia has put more than a smile on my masked face; She’s lifted my soul and spirit.”

Olivia lives with joy in her heart and sprinkles it freely on those lucky enough to meet her. DeeDee says, “When I make my weekly grocery run, I always squeeze in time to see her because I know she’ll give me free joy and hope and maybe some wisdom and counseling with a listening ear.” Her customers are like family. DeeDee says, “I see them walk away with the same joy and hope she fills me with.” 

“She does incredible good by just being kind and selling more than flowers but an experience that makes you feel like a million dollars,” Deedee says.

Olivia affirms her joy-filled attitude with her mantra, “Any day on this side of the grass is a great day. Yesterday is in the past, tomorrow is uncertain, but today is a gift. Make the most of it and #BePresent in it.” 

Thank you, Olivia, for the important reminder! Every sunrise is an opportunity to stand on this side of the grass and appreciate what we have.

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Cindy B.

Siler City, North Carolina
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When a young student recognizes and proclaims how their teacher has positively shaped their life, the impact is profound. Such is the case when Cindy from Siler City, North Carolina, was nominated and recognized by her student, Damaris; It tugged at our heartstrings. Damaris says, Cindy “has pushed me and made me have the desire to strive and be the best version of myself that I can be. She has led me to many great things, one being a national writing contest that I was able to win because of her guidance.” With Cindy’s help, Damaris won an all-expense-paid trip to Las Vegas and was honored by the National Association of Bilingual Education.


Damaris graduated in May of this year and was compelled to nominate Cindy for her academic mentoring, leading by example, and laying the foundation for her success. Damaris says, “She’s an amazing teacher, mother, and all-around great person, who views every student that walks into her classroom with all the potential in the world. She is the definition of good people, and in a world like the one we are living in today, we could use the example that she sets for me and all the people she meets every day. Cindy is the type of person that leaves a mark in your life, and I will forever be grateful for her.” 

Cindy, your love, support, and encouragement of your students will lead to endless possibilities for their future successes. We are incredibly thankful for you, teaching with such passion and touching our hearts. Muchisimas gracias!!!

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Coach Taylor

Los Angeles, California
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She’s known as 𝐂𝐨𝐚𝐜𝐡.  Her mission is to help those incarcerated adjust their mindset and shift their actions to living positively to get out and stay out of prison.  

Coach Taylor is a Prison Psychologist in Los Angeles and founded ‘Getting Out by Going In’ (GOGI) with the mission to “empower all individuals with the tools needed for them to make the most positive decisions under any circumstance.”  Her friend Christine nominated her, saying, “This amazing human’s mission and purpose on the planet is to help people in prison change their way of thinking, evolve, and change their life so that they get out of jail and never go back.  She has influenced the lives of many people around the world- inmates, inmate’s families, prison officials and law enforcement officers, prison educators, and therapists.” 


This life-changing program gives prisoners the tools to make positive decisions and alter their course.  Christine says, “She is changing prison culture around the world and now her program alumni get out of prison and then go back as teachers, mentors, and coaches to help others change their lives.” 

Coach Taylor’s GOGI is positively impacting the world; Her students live life the GOGI way. She shares her message of positivity, “No matter how big the problem may seem, you have... you know... and you ARE the solution.”


Coach Taylor, you are a hero. Thank you.

To learn more, visit https://www.facebook.com/GettingOutbyGoingIn/

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Kim M.

Mansfield, Texas
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Kim lives in Mansfield, Texas, and was nominated by her friend, Beth. Beth says, “She develops multi-family properties, creates legacy projects to enhance communities, and is an expert in placemaking.” She has proven herself in an industry with few female role models. Not only that, but she’s also "a great mom, friend, and mentor. She brightens any room she walks into and she can hold an audience in any setting.” 


If that isn’t enough, she is also a MEGA-VOLUNTEER in her community. She…⁠

• is a founding board member of The LOT Downtown (Live Outdoor Theatre) in Historic Downtown Mansfield⁠

• serves on multiple advisory committees and boards including CREW, Mansfield Chamber of Commerce, Mansfield Methodist Hospital, and a task for Grand Prairie Economic Development⁠

• fundraises annually to send more than 35 young folks to a Fellowship of Christian Athletes camp.⁠

Kim’s successes have come through perseverance and grit. “Never give up!” is Kim’s go-to, dig-deep mantra.  She says, “I’ve enjoyed many successes in my career and my home life, as well as a good share of disappointments and start again’s. I guess that’s the thing… I just start again. COVID has been a great example of learning to perfect the pivot!”

Yessss! We love your positivity, Kim! And, a HUGE thank you for choosing the road less traveled, paving the way for other women in real estate development, and for your unending dedication to your community! Cheers to ‘perfecting the pivot’ and as we like to say at Consuela, just tuck and roll.

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Javacia

Birmingham, Alabama
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Javacia inspires folks from coast to coast through her award-winning online writing community of women called 'See Jane Write.' She is also a freelance journalist, has written for several national publications, and teaches English in a local Fine Arts High School in Birmingham, Alabama. 

Javacia was nominated by Denise, a member of the online 'See Jane Write' community. Only meeting in person once, Denise had a fervent desire to nominate her and celebrate her awesomeness. Denise says, "Javacia has many accomplishments to her name and serves as an inspiration to all women and writers, both male and female. But who she is - is what I admire most… she is an overcomer and resilient spirit." 

After conquering other setbacks, Javacia is now fighting her greatest foe, breast cancer. "She is a poster girl for survivor-hood," Denise says. Tapping writing's healing power, Javacia encourages her community to journal, saying, "I write my way through my worst nightmare (cancer) and write my way to the life of my dreams." When asked about her mantra, Javacia leans on this, "You're stronger than you think you are." 


You are STRONGER, Javacia! You've got this! Thank you for being authentic in your journey, motivating others to pursue their hopes and dreams, and always moving forward with love and light. 

Learn more about Javacia here: https://seejanewritebham.com/

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Ally P.

Lompoc, California
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Ally has a “no child left behind” outlook, and this is apparent in every faction of her life. She was a fantastic foster parent for many years. Her friend Alexandra nominated Ally, saying, “when kids were welcomed into her home, they became a part of her family. She would work on making it the best experience they could have under the circumstances.” She’s also a long-time Gymnastics coach at the local Air Force Base in Lompoc, California. All kids are welcome at her gym, even if they can’t afford the dues. 
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“Miss Ally became a crossing guard at a local elementary school,” Alexandra continues. “Like everything she does in life, she went big, every holiday dressing up for the kids and even going as a giant apple to welcome them back to school.” 


To top it off, she previously worked in a group home, where she was an incredible role model to teen girls. Alexandra says, “She made it her mission to teach them that there is more in life than they had been dealt.” 
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There’s no topping a perfect ten!  Viva Babe Ally, we can’t thank you enough for being a beautiful guiding light to so many. 

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Kelly D.

Elkhorn, Wisconsin
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As a principal of a small alternative high school in Elkhorn, Wisconsin, Kelly works tirelessly to give her students’ the tools to succeed.  She strives to offer a curriculum that will build the skill sets needed for a successful transition to post-secondary endeavors. Her husband Jason nominated her, sharing, “In one to two years, she takes kids who had no hope of graduating and makes it possible. She also gets them connected to technical college —almost all graduate with college credit. She also runs a small teen parent program helping new moms struggling with parenthood and fitting in school.” 


Committed to providing innovative opportunities, last year, Kelly added a construction class to the curriculum, where the students gain a trade-skill and build homes for low-income families in the community – A win-win!   She continually goes above and beyond for her school; Due to COVID restrictions, she was unable to see her students, so she finished the year delivering pizza-grams to check in and make sure they were doing all right.


Strike up the band and meet us in the gym for the Consuela Pep Rally; GOOOOO, Kelly! 

When we say Kelly, you say Go!   

“Kelly!”

”Go!” 

Kelly, we’re cheering you on to another great year, leading, inspiring, and making a difference in the lives of others! 

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Amanda N.

Cloverdale, California
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Massive fires are raging across California, and as a Fire Engineer, Amanda is on the frontlines, protecting people and property. She battled fires in Lake Hughes earlier this month and has now moved to fight the sea of flames near Healdsburg, CA, near her hometown. Amanda and her team are out fighting fires for days-on-end, with very little rest, but that doesn’t stop her. Her passion for firefighting was ignited at an early age after watching the events of 911 unfold at 13. Amanda has been actively engaged in firefighting ever since. 


Not only is she blazing trails as a female Fire Engineer, she’s driven to improve the wellbeing and happiness of her fellow firefighters. Her sister Tracy nominated Amanda and shares, “There are many qualities and skills that make my sister extraordinary; however, one of my favorites is her passion for mental health and wellness for first responders. Amanda has taken it upon herself to provide the most up-to-date and effective resources for her department, and she has become a leader to many of the other local stations as well. Her most recent accomplishment is a yoga certification so she can provide in-house yoga workshops for firefighters and first responders.”


Amanda, you inspire us! Thank you for saving lives and property and for being an incredible role model, “setting the example and paving the way for so many young women who may wish to pursue a career in Firefighting,” Tracy concludes, and we wholeheartedly agree! 

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Jill S.

New Smyrna Beach, Florida
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Jill, from New Smyrna Beach, Florida, overcame early family life adversities that most couldn’t imagine, woven with divorce, emotional abuse, and an overall unstable environment.  Despite her tumultuous upbringing, Jill actively pursued a journey to better circumstances, becoming the first in her family to earn a Bachelor’s degree. Her husband and nominator Ron shares, “From there, she found her love for working with kids and young adults who come from broken homes like she did. She wanted to support them to help them understand that there is a way out.” 

Then, tragically in 2011, Jill’s sister died in a car accident. Ron continues, “Jill got herself involved with therapy, started practicing yoga regularly, and putting more energies into her work. She is strong! Jill earned her Master’s degree in 2013, and made a move from Special Education Teacher to Regional Special Education Teacher Coach. She now works with six different schools and advocates for special education students’ needs. She takes much pride in her work because she believes that no matter what kids are exposed to, they have a chance to overcome with the right supports in place.” 

Viva Babe Jill is nothing short of amazing.  She mentions, “I hope my story will reach some others and inspire them; There’s always a way out of a bad situation, regardless of circumstances or age.” She shoos away the darkness on the path of light, remembering, “I am strong. I am resilient. I am loved.” 

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Vanessa A.

Austin, Texas
Read Story

Vanessa is committed to making a difference for others and she affirms this with her daily actions. Vanessa is a Speech and Language Pathologist (SLP) in Austin, Texas, and was nominated by her husband, Daniel. Not only does she continue to show up for her patients during the COVID-19 crisis, but she has been instrumental in leading the charge in helping her speech team diversify to meet local needs. Daniel says, "When she was hired in 2017, Vanessa was the first native Spanish-English speech-language pathologist at the company. Since then, she has overseen the hiring of three additional bilingual SLPs to meet the increasing needs of the Austin community. Patients and their parents depend on her to be able to explain difficult medical terms to them in their native language while administering effective intervention."


In addition, she goes above and beyond to lift others! Recently, when one of her colleagues was unable to travel to her wedding out of state, Vanessa and a teammate set out to throw her a wedding shower.

Her long days are spent helping the entire spectrum of ages, from babies to the elderly, with swallowing and speech issues, and in two languages. Daniel continues, "Vanessa's commitment to creating an inclusive workspace echoes Consuela's values. If she is not a 'Viva Babe,' I don't know who is." 

Yassss! We couldn't agree more! We feel so privileged to call you our Viva Babe, Vanessa!

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Allison D.

Alpharetta, Georgia
Read Story

Allison faces life’s challenges head-on and emerges stronger, with poise and grace. Her family has had a disproportionate share of medical issues. Allison’s only child has Aspergers and she has moved mountains to get him the assistance he needs. Her husband has debilitating circumstances that require him to stay home on disability. Allison has also had her share of lifelong health issues, suffering from a rare bone disorder. But when the going gets tough, Allison digs deep and rallies for her family! Allison’s sister, Darby, nominated sharing, “In the face of immense challenges, [she] is nothing short of inspirational.

Darby continues, “After being a stay at home mom for several years after the birth of her son, [she] went back to university to get a Master’s in Mathematics to provide for her family. However, due to a routine fall at home, she suffered a severe fracture of her femur that, in the ensuing months, necessitated two surgeries and long-term rehabilitation. Yet, she did not quit. She continued going to school under immense pressure, never gave up, never lost her sense of humor, and never stopped being the pillar of her family.”

Today, Allison teaches at a school for disadvantaged teens. Darby goes on, she “without a doubt is a paragon of strength and a solid, decent human being in every sense of the word. She is an amazing woman!!”⁠

Allison, you are the epitome of grace under pressure. You stand steadfast with positive energy, shining like a field full of sunflowers, reaching and radiating toward the sun.

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Niki S.

Weslaco, Texas
Read Story

Niki chooses light and hope in the wake of tremendous grief and loss. On October 24, 2019, her husband Kevin was killed in a tragic car accident just days before their second wedding anniversary. Together, they had just planted a church in Kevin’s hometown, Weslaco, Texas, and also formed a non-profit, Project 83, where they provide free services to the community. ⁠⠀
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While Niki’s family including Kimberli, her sister and nominator, thought she would move back to her hometown to pick up the pieces, Niki said, "I can't leave this town, this community, these people who we serve daily, what about Project 83, what about the church we just planted, what about Kevin's vision, what about our church family?"⠀
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Kimberli continues, “As she comforts everyone else around her, she reminds them, ‘the Lord is faithful, nothing happens out of his jurisdiction, and [she] believes more lives will be saved through [Kevin's] death than his life, and that he is rejoicing now.’ Niki is a woman of great faith, courage, hope, and grace. We always knew that she was strong, yet the strength she displays and radiates now blows us away.” 
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Today, August 2, 2020, marks one year since Niki and Kevin planted their church and Niki continues to lead the church as Pastor.

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Riojas Special Education Team

Pflugerville, Texas
Read Story

Let’s set the Consuela-bration stage. Nicole, a Special Education Behavior Teacher at a Riojas Elementary school in Pflugerville, Texas, was elated as she walked into the music room surrounded by her fellow Special Education (SPED) teachers and our Consuela crew cheering her on as our next Viva Babe! Paula-Rae, the music teacher, nominated her saying, “Nicole has one of the hardest jobs in a school, behavior support, the kids that need the most love through difficult behavior. She is the one person in their life that shows up every day to prove to these students that someone is there for them and that they are worth everything.”

After Nicole’s joyous celebration, another BIG surprise followed; Every teacher on the SPED team was nominated, selected, and honored as one of our Viva Babes! So please also welcome Janelle, Taylor, Megan, and Jennifer to our amazing tribe of ridiculously awesome women! Each of these Viva Babes has their remarkable qualities that reflect the traits of an incredible SPED teacher, including calmness, nurturing, joyful, multi-tasking, dependable, and loving, to name a few.⁠⠀

So, without further ado, we launch the confetti cannon and cheer on this incredible team of women. Thank you for all you do to lift the lives of your students every day!

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Carol R.

Austin, Texas
Read Story

Carol coordinates the Harvest Blessing Food Pantry, an arm of Travis Heights Christian Outreach. Her nominator Kimberly shares, Carol “volunteers many hours a week ensuring the food pantry program runs smoothly and serves those in need.” The pantry is unique in that it provides fresh food, requiring extensive coordination in gathering produce, eggs, bread, milk, and cheese each week. Kimberly continues, Carol “places the order with the Central Texas Food Bank, arranges for an 18-wheeler to pick the orders up every week, and supervises people each day that are sacking and distributing the food to those in need. She does not miss any days, nor ever let anyone down. She is dedicated, tireless, and truly caring about those in need.” 
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Carol mentions that she’s been volunteering in this capacity for four years, and the food pantry has grown from feeding a couple of hundred folks to now feeding 1000 families/5000 people per week. Carol has a desire to serve and adds that Mother Teresa is near and dear to her heart, quoting, “If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.” ⠀
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Because of Carol, fewer families go hungry in Austin. And for this, we celebrate her as a ridiculously awesome Viva Babe!

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Cat C.

Cedar Rapids, Iowa
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Cat is a mom, a dance teacher, a confidence coach, and a women's empowerment leader in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Megan, Cat's friend and nominator, shares, "At the age of 40 she started a dance studio in the conservative Midwest for women to help build our self-confidence and as an outlet for us to reignite our inner spark (that spark that we had as young girls, but is often lost in the shuffle of being mom & wife). She now helps other women recognize and build on their worth through the art of dance, fitness, confidence classes, and her empowerment programs and free online groups." Regardless of the adversities (which most recently included closing her studio and moving her classes online due to Covid-19), she is a constant positive force.  Megan continues, "She knows the importance of self-investment, especially as a busy mom, and she encourages and empowers those around her to work hard for their goals, stand up for themselves, and advocate for others."
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Cat imparts her advice with her 'Cat-ism,' "As women, we get so caught up in the day to day operations of life. We forget who we are, and we place happiness in the hands of others. We owe it to ourselves to create the lives and happiness we deserve. Choose to live your BEST life every day. Remember, you are worthy of your own love, self-investment, happiness, and so much more. There will always be someone who can't see your worth.. don't let it be you."
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Yesss! Cat, you are the definition of a Viva Babe! Thank you for inspiring us! 

https://catcantrill.com/cat-meets-consuela/⁠

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Jen P.

Manvel, Texas
Read Story

Jen was nominated by her husband, Chris, and lives in Manvel, TX. They have experienced heartache like few couples can imagine, yet choose to focus on light and love. In 2013, after failed fertility treatments, they were thrilled when they learned they were pregnant with quadruplets. About halfway through the pregnancy and after six weeks on bed rest, the babies decided to make an entrance into the world. First, baby Serenity was born on 3-11-14 and devastatingly passed away two hours later. Chris shares, "So selfless, I would ask my wife if she wanted to hold her and she would lovingly tell me 'I have held her for over five months, now it's your turn!'" They had hope that the other three would survive, but tragically Jaxson, Gianna, and Gage passed away in Chris's arms within hours of being born two days later. With unwavering faith, Chris continues, "Through such a traumatic experience, my wife held strong to her faith and always said she knew God took our kids so that we could help other people."⠀

Jen rebounded with inspiration; She formed and chairs the Perinatal Patient/Parent Advisory Council for a local hospital to promote patient/family-centered care. She was also asked to share her story as part of UT Physicians Comfort Care. ⠀

Fast forward a few years, they never lost hope and are now proud parents to two beautiful children, Noah and Gia. Chris continues, "Today my wife is back at work full time, an amazing mother to our children, chair on a wonderful council and is a superhuman-being. She has made sure that our children didn't die in vain and lives every day of her life for their memory!"

Jen focuses her energy on positivity, sharing, "The things I try to keep in mind during hard times is 'I am stronger than this challenge, and this challenge is making me stronger!'"

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Dr. Doreen

Napa, California
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Dr. Doreen is a dentist in Napa, California, and is part of a team of volunteers at a drive-through testing center. She has generously volunteered six days a week since COVID-19 started. In fact, it’s a family-affair; Her husband and two sons are also volunteering at the testing site. Their team has tested over 12,000 people in the community. Her nominator, Cheryl, is a friend who works in the same dental practice and shares, “She is in protective gear for many hours a day, in the heat or in the early morning cold. It is a selfless thing she is doing, and I am very proud of her! She is a fashionista when she is not in Hazmat type attire!”⁠⠀
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Dr. Doreen says, “I am so proud of all of the volunteers in our community and beyond fighting this pandemic. One of my sayings is when the day is too much, I remember the day is brighter with my girlfriends beside me. Living with all males, I rely on my girlfriends.” ⠀
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Wow, Dr. Doreen! We are in awe of your unwavering dedication to others. And we couldn’t agree more…our girlfriends lift us, renew our spirits, and empower us. Life is best lived surrounded by our girl gang!

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Dr. Lori R.

San Antonio, Texas
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“Dr. Lori inspires me every day in that she proudly puts herself out there, on the line, risking it all because she knows who she is and she recognizes her power,” her nominator Patricia shares. They met when Dr. Lori actively advocated for stray dogs that were roaming the streets in San Antonio, Texas. She brought awareness to the problem and sought treatment through a spay/neuter and foster/adoption program.

“Later on, we were brought together for a more pressing and heartbreaking matter,” Patricia continues. She was hospitalized at the hands of a now ex-boyfriend. Dr. Lori is now a voice for victims of domestic violence, “public speaking about her experience just about anywhere and everywhere. She has created powerful tools to help convey her message that domestic violence is rampant in our city and county. She sees herself as a carrier of a message that can't be known or felt unless you've lived it. So, she's been one of our greatest teachers,” says Patricia.

Dr. Lori also a single mom and a professor at a local community college. Patricia reveals, “she gracefully conveys all about her struggles as a mom, a single woman that also educates her students in Mexican American Studies. Her students move, inspire, and motivate her on a daily basis.” 

Dr. Lori, you inspire us! Thank you for putting yourself out there and for being a voice for others. Your tenacity, determination, and courage are making a difference.

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Martina V.

Navasota, Texas
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Martina lives in Navasota, Texas, and was nominated by her step-daughter, Vanessa. Vanessa reveals that Martina is always stepping up to offer assistance, sharing, “If someone finds themselves in a bad situation, Martina is the first to ask how she can help. She is a woman of faith and action, who means what she says.” Not only is she generous with her time, but her love language is also gift-giving. She listens intently and pays great attention to all the little signals, searching and giving ‘the perfect gift.’ You can feel the joy in her gift-giving.⁠

In addition to her devotion to friends and family, her dedication is also obvious in her career. Martina has worked many years as a cashier and continued to work while the pandemic was at its peak. While most of us were working from home or staying in the safety and comfort of our home, Martina carried on working with the public, putting aside her uneasiness and forging ahead with life’s uncertainties. Vanessa continues, “She's a tough lady that's always pushed forward regardless of circumstances.” 

Martina, thank you for being a pillar of strength, a shoulder to lean on, and a kindhearted Viva Babe! You light up the world with your gifts of devotion and affection.

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Bertha C.

Floresville, Texas
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“Bertha is the most amazing caregiver,” shares her nominator and sister, Betty. Bertha lives in Floresville, Texas, and gave up her career to be a caregiver to her ailing parents. Betty shares, “she is the force that has kept my dad alive when doctors said he would not live.” She attends all appointments and advocates for them, so they receive the best care possible. 

Her selflessness and compassion are also crystal clear in her volunteer role as the President of Sutherland Springs Cemetery. Bertha took over this voluntary position when her dad retired. In 2017, the unimaginable happened in their sleepy, little town of 600 when an armed man entered the Baptist church and murdered 26 innocent victims. The cemetery typically handles 15 burials a year. Betty continues, “My sister, heartbroken, stepped in and dealt with the funerals of some of the 26 victims. Her only concern was comforting and taking care of the families and working with them to make sure the funerals were staggered so that they didn’t overlap. “This feels like a terrifying, crushing nightmare,” Bertha told the New York Times, “except that I’m somehow awake.”⁠

Bertha has courageously moved on, and with her incredible dedication to her community, she also spearheaded a raffle to raise money for the upkeep of the cemetery, which was a tremendous success. 

For all of the people you have lifted and cared for, thank you, Bertha! We appreciate you and want you to know your light shines brightly! 

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Kerry S.

Dallas, Texas
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Juggling life as a wife and a working mom, with three kids at three different schools, Kerry recognized the struggle, yet the importance of having family meals together. At the same time, Kerry was looking for a way to generate extra funds to cover her kids’ activities, so she started cooking for neighbors. The idea blossomed and Baller Mom Meals (BMM) was born, providing fresh, fully-prepared meals and delivering them to families around Dallas, twice a week. In just over a year, BMM now has a commercial kitchen and has evolved into an amazing philanthropic company, with an awesome company culture. ⠀

BMM is thriving and giving back to her community in a big way. Kerry's nominator Ilene says, “In addition to paid orders, every week customers nominate someone who needs some ‘Mom Love’ and Kerry picks as many as she can for free deliveries. Kerry also expanded her giving to include front line medical workers. To date, her team has delivered over 1100 free meals to hospital workers.” They have also made several free deliveries to Hope’s Door Women’s Shelter. Pre-pandemic, Hope’s Door had much of their food needs met by area restaurants. When those restaurants closed in mid-March, it left Hope’s Door with a food deficit. BMM was able to help with that pipeline.

As Ilene says, it’s difficult “to put her awesomeness into words.” And, the icing on the cake is Kerry’s mantra, “Love One Another - I just think it’s what we are all here to do.” ⠀

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Laisa M.

Harlingen, Texas
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Laisa is charmed with creativity and style and uses these gifts to generously contribute to her community.  She lives in Harlingen, Texas, and was nominated by her sister, Nadia, who says, "She found a way to bring a glimmer of hope into her local community by selflessly making and giving masks to pretty much anyone who needed them. From her own stock, and some donations, she made over 1600 masks for her local community. Though exhausted from the demand, she never complained because that's not her style, rather she allowed herself to feel fulfilled by what she was doing for others. She loves her people, where she's from, who she is because of them, and this was a small way of showing it." 
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To add to her amazingness, Laisa also shares her love of animals by supporting local animal shelters, giving back through sales of her products, fashion shows, and as a foster. She's a self-proclaimed 'foster failure'; She loves her fosters so much, she ends up adopting them all. 
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Laisa, you are the definition of ridiculously awesome. Thank you for always showing up for others, with an incredibly big heart and unending generosity!

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Michelle O.

Madison, Wisconsin
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Michelle is the CEO of Second Harvest Food Bank of Southern Wisconsin and was nominated by one of her team members, Danielle. Danielle shares, “Michelle recently became CEO of our food bank. She has brought us together, our staff of about 50 people, and inspires us every day to keep working on really hard things. Michelle makes sure that what we’re doing is always for the good of the people we serve, providing ‘quality and variety,’ as she likes to say, to ensure people who are struggling don’t have to feel ‘less than’ anyone else who wants to eat well and feed their family.” 

Michelle leads by example and is eager to jump in and assist her team with any task. Danielle continues, “She is a ‘doer’ if I ever saw one. She is hands-on, helping staff wherever it’s needed. Michelle has brought us a renewed sense of community and energy to our work.” 

Michelle, thank you for your dedication to others! You’ve illuminated your community, and you’ve inspired us to strive to follow your shining example. 

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Katie M.

Grapevine, Texas
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J - O - Y ⁠⠀
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This little three-letter word conveys a most beautiful feeling, one that flourishes in Viva Babe Katie and that she shares freely with those lucky enough to know her. In fact, the sun seems to shine a little brighter, and the rainbows are more vivid when she is present! You can see it in her smile, her beautiful grin from ear to ear that lights up the room.  ⁠⠀
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As if her JOY-giving nature isn’t enough, Katie is also a Rockstar in her career, kicking @ss in the industrial safety industry.  Tiffany, her friend, and nominator shares, “No challenge is too much for her to tackle, including her ongoing battle with a rare cancer diagnosis. She continues to keep her head up, keep a positive attitude, and give everything 110%. She has been through hell and back but doesn’t let it impact her spirit. She’s always cracking jokes and making sure everyone around her is happy instead of worrying with her own needs.” 
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Katie, thank you for showing us that JOY and happiness win every time! The light always shines through the darkness and you are a beautiful guide for all of us. 

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Angelique J.

Dallas, Texas
Read Story

Angelique is a Registered Nurse who resides in Dallas but assumed exceptional risk in raising her hand and accepting the call to assist the nurses in the overwhelmed New York healthcare system.  Within a couple of days of learning about the program, she volunteered to leave her comfort zone and fly to COVID-ravaged NYC to work in the Queens Hospital Emergency Room. Her colleague and friend Kourtnei nominated her saying, “Every day she puts herself at risk in order to help others heal. And the BEST part about it is, she does it with a smile! Angelique makes the world ridiculously awesome through her bravery, her knowledge, and her charisma. I can’t think of anyone else more deserving of this award!” ⠀
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After five weeks in New York, Angelique returned home to Dallas and is now approaching the end of her 14-day required isolation. 
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Angelique, we are in awe of your courage and your selflessness. You are a modern-day superhero, we are thankful for you, and we applaud your awesomeness!

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Devin P.

Little Rock, Arkansas
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Devin is a proud new momma to a beautiful baby girl born May 6, and was nominated by her girl gang, ‘CAB.’  Devin resides in Little Rock, AR, is a successful salon owner, and was “adopted” into this fun-spirited group of special friends who taught together years ago and range in age from late 40s to late 60s. The ‘CABs’ are super close, getting together for all the significant life milestones, holidays, girl-trips, and even Facetime COVID gatherings. Becky, a ‘CAB’ and the chief nominator, shares, “Devin came to our group in a devastating way. Devin’s mom, Candi, died from injuries due to a car wreck. After Candi’s death seven years ago, we invited Devin (in her early twenties) to one of our events. We wrapped our arms and hearts around Devin and adopted her into our group. But she adopted us as her friends, as well. We show up to her Friendsgiving, wedding showers, and all her fun stuff!” 

Becky continues, “Candi was such a colorful person, with a contagious laugh and a love for everyone without judgment. Devin is continuing to live her life with much zest, just like her mom had and continues to keep her mom’s memory alive.” 

Devin is a true Viva Babe, a diamond in the rough, and a shiny example of resilience and positivity! Her mantra during her whole pregnancy was, “My body is strong, my baby is strong! God is in control.” Not only did she give birth to her daughter during COVID and social distancing, but she also had to close her salon for six weeks. We’re thrilled to report that Devin and her husband have a healthy baby girl, and her salon re-opened this week. Hooray! ⠀

Cheers to you, Devin! We toast you for your unwavering positivity, your tenacity, and your zest for life! You inspire us. 

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Christine H.

Lubbock, Texas
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Christine is an RN at the Lubbock State Supported Living Center (LSSLC) in Texas, “home” to approximately two hundred precious individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, many who are medically fragile. Mitzi, her colleague and friend, nominated Christine for her beautiful unselfish spirit and unconditional love.  Many of the residents in LSSLC have no visitors. “That being said, WE become their family. Christine loves these kiddos just like she would her children. You will always see her sharing a smile, holding a hand, giving hugs, talking to them about their day (even if they are nonverbal and unable to speak back to her)”, Mitzi shares.
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Calling on courage and resilience through this uncertain time, the staff of LSSLC is taking every precaution and limiting interactions with the residents. Mitzi shares, “Anything to try to protect them. So many of them would not pull through this if they were to get it. Through it all, we are trying to stay as positive as we can and keep life as normal as possible, whatever that looks like.” Since the outbreak of COVID, Christine has been working from home, and her voice quivers as she mentions how much she “misses her patients.” 
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We value and appreciate you, Christine! Thank you for leading the way with your kindness, showering love, and compassion for everyone in your presence.

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Leola M.

Austin, Texas
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Leola works for the Downtown Austin Alliance Ambassador Program and was nominated by her manager, Nick. The Ambassadors are stewards for downtown Austin, the location of our flagship store, and are dedicated to the betterment of our community. Nick shares, “Leola had a career in banking but ran into some personal hardships. She rebounded her life,” and in 2016 started working for the Ambassadors. Leola earned the respect of her supervisors through her leadership and hard work, garnered promotions, and is currently the Operations Supervisor. 
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Nick continues, “There are over 50 Ambassadors downtown, and Leola is the most well-known. Several individuals experiencing homelessness call her their sister.” The Police Command downtown appreciates her ability to talk to people with strength and sensitivity. “Understanding where she was several years ago, it’s amazing to see her now. It is amazing to see how much she has overcome and I’m thankful to work with her,” Nick shares. 
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Leola, your light reflects on beautiful downtown Austin and beyond. Your pay-it-forward mantra screams volumes about you, and you’ve etched your name in our hearts. We are all the better for knowing you! 

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Jennifer B.

Austin, Texas
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Jennifer is a Physician Assistant (PA) in Austin and was nominated by her friend, Sarah. Jennifer works in neurology in a local hospital and is currently part of a COVID-19 response team, providing e-visit screening to patients and making recommendations based on first impressions. Sarah shares, “Her role is pivotal to ensure that those vulnerable in our community get the testing they need.”

Sarah continues, “When she's not working her shifts, she spends her time sharing ways we can band together and help one another through these challenging times.” Jennifer aims to bridge the gap between healthcare and public health awareness with her social media posts. She shares the realities of our current situation in healthcare as well as advocates for local businesses. Jennifer reminds us that if we want to frequent our local establishments after this is over, we need to support them now. She puts this in practice by purchasing e-gift cards from local businesses and gifting them to friends to cheer them up, a win-win for all! 


Jennifer says her goal during this time “is to arm people with the emerging facts about COVID-19 and to empower them with tangible, accessible, at-home avenues for positive impact in both the health and economic crises at play.”

Sending all our love and virtual hugs to you, Jennifer!  Thank you for your dedication to lifting the world and your ridiculously awesome compassion for others!

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Brandi D.

Claremore, Oklahoma
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Brandi, a Registered Nurse in Claremore, Oklahoma, answered a call to leave the safety of her home and her family, to work in a New York City hospital and assist the with COVID-19 patients and overwhelmed staff.  She was assigned to Coney Island Hospital, where she splits her time between ICU and ER. Her dad, Allan, nominated her, sharing, “Working 12-hour shifts, she and the other heroes work tirelessly to comfort those afflicted with COVID -19. Even through all the sickness and pain of her patients, her attitude never waivers, and her compassion is boundless.”

Before her role in NYC, Brandi worked as a Hospice Nurse. Allan continues, “her loving and caring heart really shows through as she passionately and tirelessly comforts those that are terminally ill. She loves her patients, and you can see it in the patient’s eyes when they see her.”

Brandi shared on her Facebook page, “I’m truly NOT a hero. I’m a girl who loves people and nursing!”

Brandi, you most definitely are a hero! Thank you for what you do. You are a ridiculously awesome representative for nurses and healthcare workers everywhere. We can’t thank you enough for your courage and dedication.

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Cecilia M.

Los Angeles, California
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Cecilia is a Chaired Professor of Sociology at UCLA and was nominated by fellow Viva Babe, University of Texas Professor, Lori. They met at a professional conference where they “immediately connected as sisters, and her warmth, huge smile, classy dress, bold accessories, and her humble brilliance all poured out”, Lori shares.  Her work as a sociologist focuses on the effects of immigration laws and gender-based violence in Central America. Cecilia has authored/co-authored four groundbreaking books, holds leadership roles in several national organizations and is the recipient of numerous prestigious professional awards. Cecilia is a dedicated mentor and an inspiration to women in her midst, both students and faculty alike.
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While these amazing professional feats are worthy of all the praise and recognition, her beautiful positivity and contagious zest for life is the icing on the cake!  She radiates and shares her light with unmatched energy. So, for all of Cecilia’s awesomeness, we are throwing a virtual dance party, a Consuela-bration in her honor! 

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Cecily R.

Houston, Texas
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As the Service Admin for a Houston-area HEB supermarket, Cecily takes care of over 300 partners at her location, providing them the tools and resources to be successful in their jobs and running the front-end of the store. Cecily was nominated by her colleague, Lauren. Lauren shares, “She’s always giving 110%! She's a team player and is willing to work wherever the store's needs are. Whatever the task may be, she is always there for our partners and customers, especially in this incredibly insane time in our world.”  Cecily gladly takes on new tasks of stocking shelves or working curbside pickup, doing whatever it takes to keep her store running smoothly and her customers and partners happy. 

Always caring for others, Cecily was concerned about some of the store’s regular customers, elderly customers that lived next door in a senior citizen’s home.  She missed their smiling faces since they haven’t been able to shop as a result of the current situation. Lauren continues, “She wanted to reach out to them and see if we can bring them cupcakes and board games or something that we could provide to show them that we care.” 

Thank you for showing up and continuing to light the way with your positivity, Cecily! “Remember your why” motivates her to focus and prioritize what matters most, an awesome mantra to live by! 

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Allyson D.

Murchison, Texas
Read Story

Allyson, a successful medical malpractice attorney, was contacted by her local Humane Society in East Texas in 2009 to assist the District Attorney in rescuing 12 starving horses. Ten horses were rehomed by a children’s camp, but no organizations were equipped to handle two severely malnourished stallions. With that, Allyson filled a gap and found her life calling. She founded the Pegasus Project, a facility to rehabilitate, retrain, and rehome abandoned and neglected horses. 
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The Pegasus Project is now her full-time endeavor. Allyson’s husband, Mike, nominated her saying, she “developed The Pegasus Project into a nationally recognized non-profit horse rescue on 95 beautiful acres. Supported completely through donations, Allyson raises the $500,000 annual budget, manages a staff of 5 employees, and directs the rehabilitation and training of 51 horses! Allyson found a huge need and discovered her life’s passion.”


Allyson is pictured with her birthday present, Sundance. Rescued in 2011, she named him after Robert Redford for his golden locks and star-power, and he did star in a movie. Sundance was adopted out several times but eventually found his way back to Pegasus. This year, Mike officially adopted him for Allyson’s birthday, March 6.


Because of Allyson, the Pegasus horses gain wings and can soar through the rest of their life’s journey.

To learn more: http://www.mypegasusproject.org/

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Dale H.

Broomfield, Colorado
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Lifting the world with ridiculously awesome energy and a deep passion for volunteerism, Dale is a treasure, a gift to those in her midst, and a truly remarkable Viva Babe!

Nominated by her husband, Michael, here’s a glimpse of Viva Babe Dale’s beautiful gifts of giving:

• She was a volunteer video interviewer for Steven Spielberg’s Shoah Foundation, whose mission was to record the stories of survivors of the Holocaust and to place them in repositories around the world. The foundation is near and dear to Dale’s heart as her dad’s entire family was from Czechoslovakia and they perished in the Holocaust. She interviewed over 50 survivors, memorializing their stories, and shares this history with children through programs at local schools.

• For 23 years, Dale has volunteered with the victim’s advocate unit of the Boulder Police Dept and, more recently, she’s become a volunteer of the Colorado victim’s advocate unit. 

• For the last 7 years, she has been working with the ‘I Have A Dream Foundation’, whose mission is to help at-risk children graduate from high school and have the opportunity to get a college education with the help of a scholarship award. 

• During the war in Kosovo in 1998, Dale started the Boulder Bears project and collected 7000 teddy bears along with monetary donations and had them shipped to refugee camps in Macedonia. She also led the Broomfield Bears project and supported the children of Haiti with donations when the earthquake hit in 2010. 

Dale wholeheartedly believes in this message of positivity and it is a great reminder today, “It’s only temporary.”

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Lori H.

Austin, Texas
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Viva Babe Lori is pure joy and an unending light! She is the Associate Dean of the University of Texas Undergraduate Studies and a Distinguished Professor in the Steve Hicks School of Social Work and was nominated by Katie, a friend, and colleague. Katie shares, “Lori is insanely involved with UT’s Center for Students in Recovery, she’s a nationally renowned researcher on adolescent substance use, and recently started ‘SHIFT,’ as in ‘SHIFT’ the thinking of the use of drugs and alcohol at the university level.” She also started Austin’s only recovery high school, University High School. Katie says, “Over 13 years ago, I sat in her living room with a group of people, and she was pitching this idea. She saw the need and just knew she had to make it happen. I sat there and thought, is there any way this grassroots effort could really become a reality.  Lori did not give up, she made it happen, and she is saving lives daily by her work.” Woah!!
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Her amazing accomplishments in social work are just the tip of the iceberg! “She is the most genuine, loyal friend you can have. She is real and down to earth. She empowers those around her and will be your greatest champion,” Katie tells us. 


Keep dancing, Lori! We’re in awe of your unstoppable energy and your commitment to lifting others. Thank you for being ridiculously awesome! 

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Samantha P.

Corpus Christi, Texas
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A CATalyst for change, Samantha’s mission is to “make the world a better place for humans and animals alike,” as shared by Scott, her husband. Samantha is co-founder and Executive Director of The Cattery, a non-profit, cage-free, no-kill cat shelter in the coastal bend community of Corpus Christi, Texas.  Over the past 12 years, she’s assisted over 6000 families adopt a new feline friend.  She’s also served two terms on the city’s Animal Care Board, leading efforts to increase the shelter’s live release rates. Plus, she’s expanded the Cattery’s operations to include a high-quality, low-cost Spay/Neuter facility, which has performed over 30,000 surgeries over the last six years and has opened a mobile clinic to reach those with limited vet service access. ⠀

While all these feats are extraordinary, Samantha doesn’t stop there!  She also founded and directs a thrift store (Retail Therapy) and a local antique store (Vintage Vibe) as businesses within The Cattery organization with sales supporting the shelter and the Spay/Neuter Clinic. Plus, she’s a firm believer in women empowering women.  Over 90% of the staff at The Cattery are women and Samantha has provided the resources, mentorship, and dedication to the advancement of her staff through educational opportunities, leadership, and skills training so they are armed with tools for advanced careers upon leaving the clinic.

Wow! We are in awe and celebrate Samantha right ‘meow’ for her determination, compassion, and undeniable energy

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Rose Ann J.

Walnut Springs, Texas
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Rose Ann is a Professor at Tarleton State University and was nominated by her son, Jared. A Math Professor, she has a desire to share the joy of mathematics, finding innovative ways to educate future public school teachers. Jared explains, “She instills her deep-rooted passion for mathematics into students. Most importantly, she makes sure her students understand that Math is a struggle for many people and that these future teachers need to foster an environment where Math is fun and easy to understand for their students. She focuses on students who hate Math and helps break the barriers that cause this anxiety. In the end, these students usually put Math as their favorite subject to teach.” 

And as if her exemplary teachings aren’t enough, she goes above and beyond for her students, giving them all the tools for their future careers as teachers and personally caring about their wellbeing. Although Rose Ann has faced her share of challenges, she finds so much joy in the journey. Her love for educating is paramount and her dedication does not go unnoticed; She’s been the recipient of numerous prestigious awards! 

Yesssss, Rose Ann!! There’s no division here! We’re unified in welcoming you and your infinite passion as a fantastic addition to our Viva Babes! 

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Kimberly B.

Nicolaus, California
Read Story

Viva Babe Kimberly is Thelma to everyone’s Louise! She’s a Marine who is always faithful and always loyal, Semper Fi through and through!
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Kimberly is a manager for the California Department of Education, she resides in Nicolaus, CA and has been nominated by her ‘Louise,’ Cassie.  While in the Marines, she met her husband, and they and have built a beautiful family of six, which includes triplets! If that isn’t extraordinary enough, she put herself through school and earned a Ph.D. in education. Cassie tells us, “She is kind, compassionate and is the kind of friend we all wish we had. She is there for all of us (her girl's group), anytime, day or night. She is a shoulder to cry on, and a girl to giggle with.” 
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Cassie and Kimberly have future big plans to break from the kids and travel; we couldn’t be prouder to supply Kimberly for her selfless acts of kindness with a bag to get her started. Bon Voyage!  Keep your shoulders up for your girl gang, kids, and husband. We could all use a friend as faithful and loyal as you! 

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Lisa F.

Fort Worth, Texas
Read Story

Cancer Warrior? Yep!⁠
Hero? Yep!⁠
Viva Babe? Yep!⁠

Lisa lives in Ft. Worth, Texas and was nominated by her friend, Darla. A breast cancer survivor, Lisa started Warrior Caps to allow other women to retain most of their hair during chemo treatments.  Hair loss is devastating and one of the most feared side effects of chemotherapy, especially for women. Darla shares, “She and her brother, Jeff, tirelessly attend to every patient personally during their treatments - carrying the ice chests which hold the “cold caps,” switching the caps out during chemo sessions and providing invaluable support to cancer warriors. She is now providing caps all over the U.S. and has set up a family trust to provide them at no cost to women who cannot afford to pay.” 

Darla continues, “Lisa and her 90-year-old grandma sewed the warrior caps at home and traveled many miles to help others in need." Darla says she knows several women whom Lisa and Warrior Caps have impacted; She's lifted them through the journey; She's a hero. She says, “Lisa has helped many ladies of all ages keep their hair and face their cancer diagnosis with grace and confidence. A priceless gift.” 

What an incredible gift, Lisa. Thank you.

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Renata

Chicago, Illinois
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Renata lives in Chicago, Illinois, and was nominated by her husband, Edward. At 15, Renata was pregnant, kicked out of her house, and she fell into an abusive relationship with no one to help her escape. Edward met Renata as a single mom of 3, sacrificing it all for her kids. When they married, she became a mom of 7 children (2 from his former relationship, whom Renata loves as her own, and 2 are theirs). Edward shares, “She was determined to make a difference in the world, so she enrolled in community college, graduated with high honors, and earned a full scholarship to Loyola University, Chicago. She did all this while being a mother to all our kids and being a wonderful wife. Her mission in life is to help kids. In 2016, I proudly watched her cross the stage as she earned her Master’s degree in Social Work. She now devotes her life to helping middle schoolers overcome mental health issues while empowering them with self-esteem and human kindness.”


Beyond being a ridiculously awesome role model to her children, and a fantastic school social worker, she also gives selflessly to her community, often providing food, counseling, and tutoring to others on her own time. She radiates with love, kindness, and an appreciation for her experiences, sharing, “God never closes a door without opening a window. After everything I have gone through, I realize it serves a purpose. All the experiences sometimes feel like an end, when, in reality, it’s preparation for something greater.” 

The windows are open, the sun is shining, and the view is spectacular. Renata, thank you for reminding us that our obstacles are there to provide clarity and enlightenment. For without them, we may miss the greater good and potentially our life purpose.

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Dr. Kathleen S.

Houston, Texas
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Dr. Kathleen is a Professor and Gynecologic Oncologist at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, where she provides surgical care and chemotherapy to women with gynecologic malignancies, and she was nominated by her assistant, Jessica.  Jessica says, “Dr. Kathleen spends countless days and nights providing care, training, information, and time to medically underserved women in the U.S., Latin America, and Africa. Her mission in life is to provide the same services worldwide regardless of your economic status.” 
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Dr. Kathleen leads a myriad of programs that focus on cervical cancer prevention and treatment, particularly in developing countries, and for disadvantaged women in the U.S. Jessica continues, “Her goal is to provide greater equity in care delivery across the entire cancer spectrum. Frankly, I have never met a woman with so much passion and so much drive to help make this world cancer-free. Every day she motivates me and makes me reevaluate how can I contribute to this world? How can I leave my mark and a legacy behind?“ 
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Jessica says she’s a real-life superhero, and we concur! Dr. Kathleen uses her superpowers to heal, empower others, and knockout cancer. 
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Sharing her lifelong passion for learning and living in the moment, Dr. Kathleen follows the sage advice of Gandhi, “Live like you will die tomorrow but learn like you will live forever.”

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Amy S.

Grapevine, Texas
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Amy lives in Grapevine, Texas, and was nominated by her mom, Jill. During Amy's senior year in high school, she developed an eating disorder and was diagnosed with anorexia. She struggled with anorexia for over six years and is now recovered for three and a half years. 

Jill says, “Amy is using her story to change lives.” She visits treatment centers, sharing hope and optimism that the future is bright after recovery.  Amy also launched an initiative called JOY’d (Joy Over Your Destination), where she makes earrings, and for every set sold, another set along with an encouragement card is donated to an individual in treatment. Amy has given over 1200 pieces to those in recovery.  And, she’s also in graduate school, working toward her Master’s in Counseling so she can help others with eating disorders. 

Amy shares her message of positivity, “Never be afraid to ask for help, and never stop searching for your why.”  Amy, you beam with energy and optimism and your passion for giving back, spreading joy, and lifting the world around you inspires us! 

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Amy L.

Joliet, Illinois
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Amy is a children’s author, lives in Joliet, Illinois, and was nominated by her friend and fellow board member, Michelle. Amy has a “passion for kids, people, and the positive.” Amy’s ‘A Girl with a Cape’ series shares the message of kindness and reminds kids (young and young at heart) that #youmatter! She also visits local schools to engage her young readers to promote kindness in everything they do. 

Additionally, five years ago, Amy founded the Kindness Gala Foundation, a non-profit with the mission to give back to local charities that assist others in times of crisis. Michelle writes, “Amy lost her sister to breast cancer and was so inspired by all the smaller local charities that helped her sister with things like helping with monthly bills, providing gift cards and helping her daughter have a good Christmas, that she founded The Kindness Gala Foundation to help those charities that helped her sister.  The Kindness Gala Foundation has a gala each October to fundraise and help these smaller charities that maybe no one has heard of because they don't have big operating budgets.” ⁠


Amy, your giving heart fills us with so much hope and inspiration! The world is brighter and kinder because you are in it.  #youmatter

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Erin P.

Ada, Oklahoma
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Her mom Angela, nominated Erin, who at a very young age, found joy in helping others. In grade school in Oklahoma, Erin would arrive an hour early to help her deaf teacher, Miss Pat, set up her room. She learned sign language and got very attached to Miss Pat’s students. While in high school, she volunteered at a camp called 'Make Promises Happen,' assisting the campers with events and prom. As a young adult, Erin attended college to pursue a degree in Services to the Deaf and will graduate in May 2020.  She has also worked as a nanny to an amazing special needs teenager. 

Her heart for others and her philanthropy extends beyond our borders, as Erin raises her own money to fund her mission trips to Africa and has volunteered in Narok, Kenya, the last four years with Jeremiah’s Family Ministry.  Her mom shares the mission trips “are her calling. She just wants to help these kids.” Her impact is incredible. You can see it in the smiles! And, she’s literally saved the lives of more than one child.  Plus, during her last trip, she raised money for mattresses for the children living in an orphanage in Kenya.  Erin shares, "I took two years off college as I pursued my dreams in Kenya but I needed to finish my degree because I couldn’t encourage and persist that the kids in the orphanage finish school and get freedom through education if I hadn’t done so myself. But now, I can and will do that with no hypocrisy but in love and encouragement."

So. Much. Love. Erin, we are overwhelmed by your servant’s heart. Thank you for your infinite compassion and your abounding love! 

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Susan M.

Austin, Texas
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Susan lives in Austin, Texas, and was nominated by her husband, Michael.  She works full-time, runs her household, and still manages to find time to give selflessly to others.  Michael shares, “She has volunteered for the kids’ school PTA for the past five years serving on the Executive Board as the Vice President, Programs Coordinator, on the yearbook committee, Spelling Bee assistant, and as a UIL coach. She continues to assist with yearbook as a photographer, and over 1,200 children endearingly refer to her as ‘The Yearbook Lady.’  Over the last three years, she’s been an amazing role model to the 20 girls in our daughter’s Girl Scout Troop as a Co-Leader and Cookie Coordinator. Plus, she volunteered for our son’s Cub Scout Pack as the Advancement Chair and helped with Pinewood Derby for the five years he was in Cub Scouts.” Yessss! 

But that’s not all!  She also volunteers with Mobile Loaves and Fishes through her job. She makes meals and serves them at the Texas Baptist Children’s Home. She volunteers in her church Sunday School.  And, she even finds time to serve on the board of her alma mater’s business network, Baylor Business Network of Austin. 

Phew!  We’re exhausted just thinking about it!  In all seriousness, Susan, we are inspired by your drive to volunteerism.  Your ability to give and serve knows no boundaries, and your impact is profound.

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Sheri

Seattle, Washington
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Sheri is a Teen Life Coach in Seattle, Washington, and was nominated by her husband, Omri. Passionate about helping teen girls, Sheri founded ‘Teen Wise’ to guide teens to strength, happiness, and calm. Omri shares, “From the growing academic pressure imposed by rising standards and expectations, to friendship issues that weigh deeply on girls; from stress and anxiety due to social media to the relational aggression that teen girls face as they navigate the social challenges of growing up in our always-on present, Sheri has helped countless teens through her one-on-one coaching as well as the talks and events she has sponsored over the last decade, reaching thousands of teens in the Seattle area.” 

Helping girls find their joy and their smile again, Sheri guides teens to make positive changes to lead them down the path to happiness.  She emphasizes to the teen community that “grades do not define your worth” and “success without joy is not truly success.” Sheri also advocates for teen mental wellness through her appearances in local media outlets. 

Sheri, your passion to empower teen girls and give them the tools they need to find joy inspires us! Thank you for instilling confidence and positivity in our future women leaders! 

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Kim J.

New Braunfels, Texas
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Kim lives in New Braunfels, Texas, and was nominated by her husband, Raymond. Raymond says, “Kim was suddenly diagnosed with type one brittle diabetes and Addison’s Disease along with a slew of other autoimmune diseases due to a genetic disorder. Instead of going into a deep depression, she immediately turned it around by starting a program to train service dogs for type one diabetes and Addison’s disease at a drastically reduced cost compared to most.”  Always looking to the bright side, Kim believes she was given diabetes to help others by training diabetic alert dogs (DADs), so she fueled this new passion by founding Lone Star Diabetic Alert Dogs (http://www.lonestardiabeticalertdogs.com/)! DADs alert their diabetic owners when they are experiencing low or high blood sugar events before they become dangerous. ⠀

Raymond continues, “She is the second diabetic trainer in the nation and has graduated 35+ teams in 6 years. Every day those dogs save the lives of their handler.” Ditto is Kim’s DAD. He is her constant companion, and he has saved her life multiple times. Ditto was even named National Geographic Books ‘Worlds Most Devoted Dog’ in 2013.” Read Ditto’s adventures, https://www.facebook.com/DittoTheDiabeticAlertDog/ 

Kim says this is the most rewarding thing she’s ever done! Cheers to you, Kim! You inspire us with your drive to turn your lemons into the most rewarding LEMONADE, with hope and purpose to help others! 

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Carrie L.

Austin, Texas
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Carrie lives in Austin, Texas, and was nominated by her cousin Jo Anna. Despite unrelenting adversities, Carrie has weathered her storms with resilience, light, and love.  Carrie’s mother died of leukemia when she was only 9. When she was seven months pregnant with their second daughter, her husband Tony had emergency surgery to remove a kidney tumor. Jo Anna shares, “So their recovery (post-baby #2 and post-surgery #1) was together, with Carrie carrying most of the weight, supporting her family emotionally, mentally, and always with a smile.” Then, two years later, Tony was diagnosed with completely unrelated brain cancer and underwent brain surgery when Carrie was eight months pregnant. With three children under six years old and a husband undergoing chemotherapy, “Carrie was still making them homemade meals, still trying to raise sweet and compassionate children, and posting pictures of life's little successes.” ⠀
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“And then, one day, they built a foundation. Together. The Tony Foundation assists families whose primary breadwinner is stricken with a critical illness and incapacitated. It was born out of their strife, their frustration, and their love for humanity.  Carrie is the brightest light I've ever known. You feel it the second you meet her. Her power comes from a place deep within her,” shares Jo Anna. ⁠⠀
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Wow! Carrie, your tenacity is remarkable. Your rays of sunshine brighten the world and are lighting the way for others. You are unstoppable‼️

To learn more about the Tony Foundation, visit https://tonyfoundation.org/

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Katherine H.

Mesa, Arizona
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Katherine, a third-generation Girl Scout, is a Girl Scout Troop Leader in Mesa, Arizona, and was nominated by Robin, a mom of one of her Girl Scouts. Robin and her family recently moved to Arizona, and Katherine welcomed Robin’s daughter into her troop with open arms. Katherine gives of her whole heart to a group of 25 girls of all ages and continues to welcome new girls in the troop. Robin shares, “she is unlike any other leader I have ever met and asks for nothing in return; She does everything on her own, organizing canned food events, taking the girls on hikes and camping trips, and helping them to grow into amazing young ladies.She cares so much for all girls and is invested in helping them become Go-getters, Innovators, Risk-takers, and Leaders (yes…G.I.R.L.)!”⁠⠀
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Katherine also has a family of her own, raising a high school daughter and home-schooling her two other young children. Plus, Katherine works evenings as a server at a restaurant. Robin continues, “Katherine is absolutely unbelievable. I don’t know how she does it all!!” 
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Here’s to you, Viva Babe Katherine, for your unwavering dedication and your desire to serve as a role model for our future female leaders. Your impact is ridiculously awesome, and your troop will remember your mentorship forever!

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Rachel K.

Austin, Texas
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Rachel leads the production department at Consuela and was nominated by our CEO, Conni. Conni shares, “Rachel inspires us every day! She is kind, compassionate, and always positive. She continually turns toward the light and avoids negativity while looking for solutions to daily challenges.” Beyond her dedication to her job and her incredible work ethic, she inspires us with her determination to lead a healthy lifestyle, reinforced with her love of AcroYoga. If you’re new to the term, AcroYoga combines yoga with healing arts and a lot of lifts with at least one partner. In AcroYoga, you learn to trust, communicate, and encourage others, while also navigating challenges. ⠀
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Rachel has translated the teachings of AcroYoga to her work life, overcoming obstacles and tackling challenges head-on with a calm that is rarely found, a precious gem of patience!  Yet, she’s resilient in her efforts to find solutions. Rachel inspires her co-workers every day through her cheerful attitude and dedication and is an integral part of the team and the success of Consuela. ⠀
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So, for these and so many other reasons, we celebrate Rachel. Not only because it was her birthday and because she’s a true Viva Babe, but also for the big announcement that day…Rachel’s promotion to Director of Supply Chain! Whoop!

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Bria

Arlington, Washington
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Bria is from Arlington, Washington, and was nominated by her friend, Cait. Cait shares, “Bria is a woman who has overcome a lot of internal struggle. She has evolved as a person, from someone who suffered from a lack of self-esteem, into a woman that thousands of other women look up to.  As a single mom in her early 20’s, she decided she needed a change. She tried diets, surgery, and hours of extreme gym training to obtain a more 'normal/acceptable' body image before learning to recognize that, though she might LOOK the part, the act of trying to 'fit the expectation' made her feel less like her true self. She has grown into a woman who radiates beauty, strength, and independence.” Bria is on a journey of joy and body positivity…and she’s never been happier. 

Bria is newly married to an adoring husband who is her greatest advocate. She runs an Instagram page (@mrs.kooy) featuring her life, her loves, her struggles, and her evolution into a modern, body-positive woman of the world.  Cait continues, “She uses her social media as an avenue for positive influence and inspiration, lifting women up and helping others accept their flaws but embrace their beauty and individuality.” Boom⁠!

Bria, you mentioned your ‘Certificate of Awesomeness’ was your first award, ever.  We are honored to celebrate you and share your awesomeness with the world!  You are an inspiration to others, and yes, you are that awesome! 

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Allison R.

Dallas, Texas
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Allison is the newly promoted Director for Global Preparedness and Response for Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, and was nominated by her husband, Daniel. In her role at SMU, she is charged with ensuring the safety of university students.  She is also lifelong Girl Scout and received the prestigious Girl Scout Gold Award; A springboard for her future achievements and philanthropy. 

When Hurricane Harvey wreaked havoc on her hometown Houston, Allison hit the ground running, organizing donations of goods worth over $20,000 for Houston-area women through her #PackaPurse project. She drove into the hurricane-ravaged city to deliver personal items to women who had lost everything.

Allison’s latest mission was born after the Sandy Hook tragedy as she witnessed the impact therapy dogs had on all involved.  Then, as a Police wife, she was shattered by the tragic events on 7/7/16 when five Dallas Police Officers were ambushed and murdered at a peaceful protest. Allison and her golden retriever, Brisbane, who was not yet certified as a therapy dog, sprang into action, heading to the Dallas Police Department to comfort the officers. The impact was immediate, and the plan was solidified. Brisy completed his certification in 2018, and Allison founded the therapy group, “Brisy's Bowties” (https://www.facebook.com/bowtiebrisy/). Today the group has grown to almost two dozen therapy dogs who regularly visit police stations, schools, hospitals, nursing homes, wherever they’re needed. 

Daniel shares, “Allison is an amazing woman because she has found so many ways to touch so many lives positively - whether that be education, donations, volunteering, safety planning, or providing for someone’s emotional welfare through the healing power of a dog’s love.”

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Donna D.

Alpharetta, Georgia
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Donna is a Nurse Educator in Alpharetta, Georgia, and was nominated by one of her nursing students, Linda. Donna was the Clinical Instructor to Linda’s nursing class, and Linda says, she “shared her expertise, her nursing intuition, and her deep love of helping people. Donna nurtured us as we started, all the way telling us she was cultivating future colleagues and that she looked forward to working with us.”⁠

Donna is truly one-of-a-kind in her dedication to her students.  This group of students, nicknamed the Gems, bonded like family under the leadership and guidance of their mentor. Linda continues, “Donna has suited us well for a profession that is all about responsibility and giving 100% every day so others may have a better quality of life. She put in tireless hours, not only supervising our actions but also being present right at the bedside, showing us what it means to see the little things and make a difference for patients.” 

All the “Gems” in her class make up a mighty beautiful crown for Viva Babe Donna.  And, she keeps earning her jewels as she continues to mentor future nursing students and develop empathetic, proficient, dedicated nurses.  Donna is a shining example of devotion and lives by her words, “Kindness always wins.” 

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Aliana

El Paso, Texas
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Aliana lives in El Paso, Texas, and was nominated by one of her employees, Alyssa. Aliana is a motivational speaker, business consultant, and coach. Through her company, Positive Directions, she helps people, organizations, and communities inspire change. In addition, she started two major conferences that take place every year, the Southwest Women’s Leadership Conference and the Administrative Professionals Conference. Alyssa shares the impact Aliana has had on her and over 1,600 women a year, as she “empowers women not only in the workplace but more importantly, in their everyday lives.” 

Incredibly giving, Aliana also founded ‘Christmas Cheer’ 15 years ago, an annual event attended by more than 150 underprivileged Head Start children, coming together for a day of fun and laughter. Each child is given a gift card and a shopping extravaganza, and the day wraps up with a festive pizza party. 

Aliana’s devotion does not go unnoticed; She was awarded a 2019 Women of Impact Award by El Paso, Inc., and in 2018, Aliana received the 1st Annual Woman in Business Lifetime Achievement Award by the Greater El Paso Chamber of Commerce.  ⁠

Encore! Encore! Aliana, your incredible talent to energize others and inspire change is remarkable. Thank you for using your gifts to lift the world!

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Debbie F.

Buda, Texas
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Debbie is a full-time volunteer and lives in Buda, TX. Debbie was nominated by Audrey, who works for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, where Debbie also volunteers. Both Debbie’s children have Cystic Fibrosis. Tragically, Debbie lost her daughter, Amberlynn, to Cystic Fibrosis 7 years ago at the age of 22. Before she passed away, she was in the hospital frequently and spent many Christmases hospitalized. Over the years, Amberlynn witnessed other hospitalized children going without Christmas presents, which devastated her. So, she started Amber’s Angels 15 years ago, with the mission to bring Christmas to these young patients, gifting local hospitalized children with presents. Amberlynn found purpose and direction in Gandhi’s wise words, “…be the difference you want to see in the world.”


Audrey shares, “When Amberlynn passed, Debbie was determined to keep her memory alive by continuing the good work of Amber’s Angels. Debbie dedicated almost all of her time to collecting and distributing toys year-round to Dell Children’s Hospital and the San Antonio Children’s Hospital.  However, Debbie does not get recognized for her good work nearly as much as she should. She truly deserves to be recognized and pampered. She is kind, caring, modest, and has made an impact on countless kids’ lives.” 


Viva Babe Debbie, we appreciate you for all you do!  Your dedication and generosity are nothing short of remarkable. 


To learn more about Amber’s Angels, https://www.ambers-angels.org/⁠

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Wanda

Austin, Texas
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Wanda is a middle school counselor in Austin, TX, and was nominated by her husband, Chris. As a school counselor for the past 12 years, Wanda offers compassion, guidance, and support to pre-teens during a super awkward time in their lives. Her energy and charisma are remarkable (as we witnessed first-hand with a spontaneous dance party in her school room)! Her incredible passion for counseling doesn’t go unnoticed; she was named Counselor of the Year for Austin ISD in May of this year! Woo Hoo!


Beyond a school counselor, Wanda is so many things! She is a great mom. She is also a licensed professional counselor (LPCS), training the next generation of counselors and a Licensed Art Therapist Supervisor (ATR/BC/S), training the next generation of art therapists. And recently, she and her dog, Chango, were certified for animal-assisted play therapy.  Chris shares, “She's generous, kind, loving, and thoughtful with all of these things. Oh, and she's an epic artist.” Her public art is visible all over Austin. Her murals adorn the walls and exteriors of her school and public parks. Wanda led the Deep Eddy mosaic mural project, a 4-year project where citizens from all over the city created individual hand-made tiles to form a 1200 square foot mosaic. These iconic murals beautify as well as create connections between the many participants and the community. 

KAPOW! ALL THE THINGS! Wanda, your drive to be a positive force and to brighten your corner through your gifts of love, laughter, and epic artistry inspire us!  Your Viva Babe light is brightly shining!

View Wanda's epic art:
http://www.communityarttherapy.com⁠

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Michelle V.

Norton, Ohio
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Michelle lives in Norton, OH, and was nominated by her sister, Christina. Michelle raised two beautiful kids singlehandedly. Michelle’s daughter, Paige, found herself pregnant at 17. Christina shares, “we rallied around my niece and gave her the love and support that she needed. My sister always made sure Paige knew how loved she and her baby were and she helped her navigate the very difficult decision to place her son for adoption.” Shortly after the adoption, Paige joined the Air Force, as she wanted to do something meaningful with her life. She was the first woman in her family to serve. During basic training, Paige fell deathly ill. Devastatingly, she passed away two weeks after completion. Christina continues, “I saw Michelle die just a little bit during that time.”⠀

Paige lived and loved deeply, and Michelle wanted to honor her daughter's life and memory. “That's how her mind works, if there is a mountain, she navigates around it, if there is a river, she builds a bridge, always finding hope in hopeless situations. And so, the PAIGE Foundation was born! Pregnancy Adoption Information Guidance & Education ...P.A.I.G.E.,” says Christina. The foundation serves birth moms with assistance and support throughout their journey.

Not only does Michelle work tirelessly running the PAIGE Foundation, but she also works full-time, and is finishing her college degree after 35 years.  She will graduate this Spring with an Arts & Sciences Degree, plus she is an incredible writer. One day she hopes to write a memoir.⠀ ⠀

Michelle, we are in awe of your courage and tenacity. Thank you for embracing hope and empowering others. Paige’s light continues to shine.

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Terri K.

Bedford, Texas
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Terri lives in Bedford, TX, is a single mom and a dedicated teacher, and was nominated by her good friend, Melissa. Teaching for more than 30 years, she has been an incredible mentor to so many students in her community. Melissa shares, “She has been a high school swim coach, taught dance, speech, PE, and health, and developed a Walk, Jog, Run class for Grapevine Colleyville ISD.  She has been her school’s Student Council sponsor for many years,” where she guides and imparts her wisdom on young leaders. ⁠

Terri’s dedication and leadership have been crucial to the success of her Student Council’s annual Color Run, benefitting O.U.R. (Operation Underground Railroad), a non-profit formed to rescue children from human trafficking. For the last five years, Terri has supported the efforts of her students in their pursuit to spread awareness and work to eradicate human trafficking. This year’s Color Run is set for November 2, 2019. ⁠

Melissa continues, “She does not meet a stranger. You can’t go anywhere in the local community without a student or parent calling her name to say hello. She has made so many personal relationships and is loved by all!” 

Terri, your influence and mentorship have positively shaped so many young lives. Thank you for radiating your rays of leadership and love. 

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Cindy M.

San Antonio, Texas
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Cindy is an Insurance Adjuster in San Antonio, TX, and was nominated by her sister, Kathy. As a single mom, working full-time and caring for her two children, Cindy fell ill inexplicably, eventually requiring oxygen at the age of 43. For four years she underwent numerous tests with no diagnosis. Finally, last year one of her 15 doctors noted something unusual in a blood test and determined she has Mitochondrial Syndrome, a genetic disorder that occurs when the mitochondria of the cell fail to produce enough energy for cell or organ function. Kathy shares, “so essentially my sister has been diagnosed with a terminal illness for which there is NO cure but only management of symptoms. My sister has come to terms with her mortality and continues to do as much as she can to help others.” 


Cindy prioritizes helping and bringing joy to others. Even in the middle of her illness, Cindy cared for Kathy for almost a year when Kathy was hospitalized with a severe sickness. She would visit Kathy multiple times every day, before work, lunchtime, after work, and more. Kathy emphasizes the impact Cindy has on her life, "she is my ROCK, and If it weren't for her strength and faith, I wouldn't have had the will to live." Cindy also sprinkles kindness daily with customers and coworkers, she "continually helps her coworkers celebrate different milestones, and she gets up every day and pushes herself to help others.” 

With resolve and a captivating smile, Cindy mentions, “there’s no time to cry. I am a stronger person because of my illness.”


We see you, Cindy. We are thankful for you and for all the goodness you bring. Your zest for life inspires us to live each day fully and to share kindness and love along the way.

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Jean D.

Nacogdoches, Texas
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Jean is the definition of ridiculously awesome! She is a retired Pediatric Cardiac Care Respiratory Therapist who lives in Nacogdoches, TX, and was nominated by her daughter, Heather. In 1984, Jean’s first grandchild tragically passed away at 5 ½ months old after contracting Legionnaire’s, a respiratory disease. Out of her grief and her determination to honor her granddaughter, Jean decided to enroll in college and become a respiratory and cardiac therapist. She wore a laminated photograph of her granddaughter on the back of her hospital badge every day for her 30-year career. She has since retired, but you can still find her helping families with children afflicted with respiratory diseases, even once driving 10 hours to donate blood to a toddler receiving a transplant. Heather shares, “she chose to work in a department where life expectancy was minimal, and she did so to show hope and purpose to desperate families.” 
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To add to her awesomeness, she’s embraced her late husband’s adopted daughter, Jennifer, whom the family had not seen for over 30 years. Jean has welcomed Jennifer into the family with open, loving arms and includes her as one of her own. Heather is thankful she “has a new sister” and Jean says, “you don’t have to give birth to a child for her to be mine. For Jennifer to call me ‘mom’ is such an honor.” 

Always generous with her time, Jean learned to use an iMac in her 70's so she could serve as secretary of her quilt guild.  Plus, she volunteers to cook for college students at her church, organizes family donations to support a community yard sale to send a group on a mission trip to Haiti, and sends handwritten cards and notes of encouragement to those who cross her path or her heart. 
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Jean, you inspire us with your generosity and your incredible gift to transform grief and darkness into hope and light!

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Heather E.

Minneapolis, Minnesota
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Heather is a business analyst in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She was nominated by long-time friend and former employee, Barb. The magic started when Heather managed a showroom for Dept. 56 and she “served as a kind of Den Mother to the many creative, whacky and wonderful designers,” says Barb. After the business sold, the employees scattered, but “Heather is the beacon of light that keeps us all coming back for little mini-reunions.” ⠀
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Two years ago, Heather was diagnosed with stage 3 Endometrial/Uterine cancer. Heather faced down cancer with determination and heart. Barb continues, she battled cancer “with courage, yes, but also amazing humor. Heather is known for her fabulous sense of humor!” ⠀
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With her unstoppable spirit, even during her illness, Heather started a Bassett rescue and has fostered over 15 Bassett Hounds and rescued over 25 dogs of various breeds. We can hear the Bassetts baying with joy!
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Barb reiterates, “We all adore Heather, but more so, she has given so much to us all with her example of courage, grace and unselfish gifts of HER time and HER energy.” ⁠⠀
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Today, Heather proudly proclaims she is cancer-free, with no evidence of disease (NED)! She shares her story to help her cope and to raise awareness, explaining, “these cancers don’t get much press or research funding and the treatment protocols are arduous.” Yet, Viva Babe Heather prevails! 
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Heather, you are a spark of love and light! Thank you for all the good you give!

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Mikayla

Brooklyn, New York
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Mikayla is a young professional, working for a large International Engineering firm in the financial district in Manhattan. She was nominated by her mom, Vickie, who shares, Mikayla is the “first person to complete college in my family. Our roots are in Kansas, but we moved as a family every two years during Mikayla’s middle and high school years. She developed a world view and never looked back. Her goal is to save the environment.” 

After high school, Mikayla moved away from home and to the Big Apple, earning her undergraduate degree from Columbia in 2014 in Environmental Engineering.  She continued her education part-time while working, earning a Masters in Mechanical Engineering in 2016. And this past spring, she realized her dream of teaching at Columbia! As an energy expert for an architecture class, she encouraged the students to think beyond the buildings and to consider the impact on urban surroundings.

Not only has she achieved so much at such a young age, but she is also working and thriving in a male-dominated profession. Her mom continues, Mikayla “does her best to be heard every day on the job and is the biggest go-getter. She inspires me daily in her seeking and accepting new challenges and ideas."⁠

Yessss! Oh, the places you will go, Mikayla! We are amazed and inspired by your journey! 

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Leticia

Chula Vista, California
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Leticia is a Lecturer at San Diego State who has dedicated her life to her community. Nicole, her sister, and nominator says, Leticia “is a dynamic multi-talented leader whose work has had an impact on many people and in countless ways. She made the decision to be the voice of our community with a focus on affordable and debt-free community college, opportunities and support for all, and workforce preparation and pathways.” She’s involved in a myriad of local initiatives, including the development of the San Diego Rapid Response Network, dedicated to aiding immigrants and their families in the San Diego border region. As a community health expert, she has focused on healthcare opportunities in underrepresented and disadvantaged communities in San Diego, working to make healthcare accessible to all.  And, recently she ran for the Southwestern Community College Board, and after a year-long campaign, earned her seat, again committing to the people of her community. ⠀
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Nicole continues, “While the impact of my sister’s work is impressive, her current battle is what has inspired me the most.” As Leticia traveled to her first board meeting, she received a call from her doctor explaining that her yearly mammogram reflected devastating news, Stage 3c breast cancer. Nicole says, “To say the least, it was a cheap shot to the gut. However, what really inspires me is the way she has been able to take this news with a heart full of hope, a mind full of resolve, and a body full of fight! She walks in life with truth, vulnerability, authenticity, and courage.” ⁠⠀
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Leticia, you are a warrior, and you got this!  You will overcome, claim victory, and emerge stronger than before. Thank you for inspiring us to continue life’s journey with positivity and hope. 

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Sue W.

Western Springs, Illinois
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Sue lives in Western Springs, Illinois, and was nominated by her niece, Molly. Sue is a co-founder of The Children’s Medical Research Foundation (https://www.curekirby.org/), established to raise awareness and funding to support medical and scientific research for Sanfilippo Syndrome and other neurogenetic diseases afflicting children. Since 1995, she has raised more than FOUR MILLION dollars, and last year, her funding supported the start of gene therapy trials. Through Sue’s dedication, they are on the cusp of a cure!  Molly shares, “She has not only brought her mission to the footsteps of a cure but also has mentored many families around the country, if not the world, in joining the cause and forming their own foundations and fundraisers.” ⁠⠀
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Sue and her husband are the sole caregivers to her daughter, Kirby, who is afflicted with Sanfilippo Syndrome. They also raised an incredible daughter, Maggie, who is an awesome sister and now a mother herself. As Molly continues, “Sue has always run an impeccable household and has always made time to make the rest of the extended family and friends feel special and important. I do not know how she has done it all, but I do know it's been nothing short of difficult and challenging. She probably hasn’t been recognized with the accolades she deserves for the hard work and sacrifice she committed to this foundation that has finally reached these breakthroughs. I just want her to be celebrated.” ⁠⠀
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We celebrate you, Sue!!  We want you to know we are incredibly inspired by your tenacity and strength. ⁠⠀

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Mary B.

Dickinson, Texas
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Chef Mary lives in Dickinson, TX, and was nominated by her friend of more than a decade, Aura. Mary is a professional chef, has three biological children, plus she is raising her nephew as her own. In addition to raising a family, she is an incredible chef, teaches culinary arts at a local community college, and is a natural leader. Mary rallies her village of volunteers to support the community in times of need and uses her culinary skills as a power for good. Aura says, “She helps before there is a need and gives when no one else will; She believes that anyone can make a difference!“ 

When Hurricane Harvey wreaked havoc on her community, Mary spearheaded a fundraising campaign, raising money for the teachers and school staff who lost everything. She prepared a barbeque fundraiser and organized other drives, accumulating over $8000 to give to those impacted.


Following the tragic school shooting a year ago in neighboring town Santa Fe, Mary organized a community dinner in just 12 hours, saying she just felt like they all needed to be together. This horrific event was also the impetus for Mary to start Chef’s Table Charities, a non-profit geared to aid students and teachers in a time of crisis.

Mary’s selfless acts are never-ending as Aura continues, “She never turns down an ask for help, all the while running her own home, being a mother and working as a professional chef!” Plus, you may even catch her in the midst of random acts of kindness, like buying a meal for a stranger.

So, CHEERS to Mary…she is most definitely the ‘toast of the town’ and a truly remarkable Viva Babe!

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Penny

Tulsa, Oklahoma
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Penny teaches at an economically disadvantaged junior high school in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  The school environment is challenging, but Penny is completely devoted to her students’ success. Her nominator and friend Angela shares, “She has a true calling to teach these children in a school many people won't even substitute in. She truly loves and cares about them. There is no doubt she is a light to many of her students.”Viva Babe Penny says she is right where she wants to be, sharing “These kids just need to be loved on like everyone else.” And, when things are tough, Penny reminds her students to “go around the leaf” (her favorite quote from A Bug’s Life), motivating her students to persevere and find another way.
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Not only is she a beacon of light for her students, but she also is amazingly generous with Angela’s family, jumping in and helping times of need.  In fact, when Angela’s grandmother was ailing and with the closest relatives an entire state away, Penny moved in with Angela’s grandmother, knowing this is where she was meant to be, caring for and assisting her.  Plus, when Angela’s parents moved back to Tulsa, Penny was right there, checking on them regularly and ensuring their well-being. She’s a natural nurturer, always ready and willing to give. ⁠⠀
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So, cue the band, the pep squad, and cheerleaders as we cheer for Penny! It’s undeniable…the world is better with you in it! 

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Sharon S.

Coronado, California
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Sharon lives in Coronado, CA, and served her country with distinction for 24 years as an officer in the United States Navy and continues to selflessly contribute to the community and the community of women. Her husband and nominator Rolf shared how Sharon was a pioneer in the Navy, going on active duty before women were integrated into the fleet. He says, “She never sought to be involved in being the ‘first woman’ in anything, but found herself often facing completely unknown territory.” Not only did she pave the way, she truly thrived in these often challenging and uncharted waters. 

Sharon worked her way up the ranks, eventually earning the title Captain! Sharon spent four tours of duty in Washington D.C., working long 14-hour days. Rolf continues, “Sharon served in the highest levels of her profession as the Protocol Officer for the Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff as a single mother. She proved to countless young women that they did not have to sacrifice motherhood to serve.” 

After retiring, Sharon dove headfirst into a life of community service.  Some of her many volunteer efforts include:

- Volunteering with the American Red Cross as a member of their Service to the Armed Forces branch

- Volunteering with the Navy/USMC Relief Society (NMCRS) where she counsels active-duty members on financial decision-making

- Serving as a board member for a local non-profit. FOCUS. She screens and recommends 20-30 projects a year to support children in need in the San Diego area

- Serving as a volunteer director of local pregnancy support center called Birthline

Sharon, thank you for paving the way for other women serving our country and for your benevolence in your continued service to help others!  We salute you! 

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Stephanie M.

Pittsburgh, Texas
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Stephanie is a Principal who lives in Pittsburg, Texas and drives 40 miles each way to lead her elementary school with purpose and passion. Her nominator Lauren has this to say about Stephanie, “This girl right here, is hands-down the most selfless influence and mentor any principal could ask for. She is always positive and works a full-time elementary principal job in addition to running PrincipalPrinciples, a blog she created to help other administrators. Plus, she now has a Facebook group with over 25,000 fellow principals seeking to network, advice, suggestions, empathy, and most importantly to cheer you on!” ⠀
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Lauren found Stephanie online when Lauren was working on her masters in educational leadership and they met during Lauren’s first year as an administrator. Lauren continues, “She has been my sounding board and my cheerleader in getting my first administrator position and been there through all the tough situations on the job.”
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Plus, Stephanie was awarded Principal of the Year by the Texas Rural Educators Association this June! Whoop! ⠀
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From her blog, Stephanie shares, “I am an Elementary School Principal with a passion for transforming how we lead schools. My goal in life is to wake up each day with a purpose and leave a lasting legacy in this world.”  Yesss! Stephanie, with your positivity, leadership, and mentorship you have made your mark‼️ ⁠⠀

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Lara

Austin, Texas
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Lara is a military caregiver and an advocate for veterans with service-connected illnesses.  This is not a path that she chose as her life-calling, but rather one she discovered as the wife of Tom, the love of her life, and an Air Force veteran with service-connected ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis). ALS, commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a terminal disease that destroys motor neurons and patients in the later stages of the disease may become totally paralyzed.⠀

Through this devastating and heartbreaking journey, Lara has taken on learning and advocating for care and services through the VA, not just for Tom, but for all veterans with ALS.  As a military caregiver, Lara was selected as an Elizabeth Dole Foundation (EDF) Fellow this February (we love that our Echo Sling photobombed the pic with Lara and Elizabeth Dole!). From Lara’s own words on The Elizabeth Dole Foundation website, “Being a military caregiver to my husband with ALS means doing everything I can to ensure he has a quality of life worth living and letting him know that my love for him is greater than my fear of this disease.” https://hiddenheroes.org/story/lara-garey/⠀

Lara is a pillar of positivity as she continues to spread awareness and fight for funding. A true Viva Babe, Lara also shares, “I try and Live in Color as much as I can as I care for my husband with a terminal disease. It's the little things now that make me happy.”⠀

Lara, we are so in awe of your courage, strength, and tenacity and we admire you for leading the charge and living in the moment.  To learn more, please read Lara’s blog, https://tomstroops.com/⠀

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Zoe

La Porte, Texas
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Zoe was born with a congenital heart defect and has undergone two open heart surgeries and three heart cath surgeries in her young 27 years, with her latest surgery only six months ago. Her mom and nominator says she’s a “miracle to this world. ” Every first for her is so precious, but she doesn’t question ‘why me’, rather she uses her heart condition as a platform to help others.  According to her mom, Zoe wears her scar on her chest as “a badge of honor, comforting and consoling anyone she can who has a child or an acquaintance with a heart condition.”

Zoe is selfless and is pursuing her dreams to give back and assist others.  As a Milk Bank Technician at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston, Zoe has come full circle, working in the very hospital that she spent so much time in as a patient, walking the halls with many of the same doctors who helped her.  Additionally, she recently earned her Bachelor’s degree in Nutrition and is on her way to achieving her current goal, a double Masters in Healthcare Administration and Business Administration‼️ She will be the first in her family to earn a Masters. And, she’s newly married! 


⁠ “She inspires me and so many to look at the bright side of life,” says Zoe’s mom. Step aside darkness – make way for the light and love that is Viva Babe Zoe! 

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Melissa W.

Houston, Texas
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Melissa is an Emmy award-winning television news anchor for a major network in Houston, Texas. She is admired by her television fans and an inspiration to women with her balancing of motherhood and a full-time career.  In 2013, this balance was challenged and her world was rocked when she learned her youngest son, Caleb, had leukemia. Her nominator Kendall shares, “Melissa is a blessing to everyone she meets and you would never know her child is battling cancer. She never missed a treatment, appointment, baseball game, and still did the morning news for Houston EVERY SINGLE morning. Plus, Melissa is a huge advocate in the community, helping other families dealing with childhood cancer.”

Their family journey is hard to imagine, but Melissa carries herself with such grace and courage. Melissa shares her coping skills, “I rely on my faith, family, and friends to endure dealing with childhood cancer. It’s not something anyone wants to go through, but I believe everything happens for a reason. That’s why my family tries to look for the simple good in each day to get us through our darkest hours.” 

That’s a wrap! Look for the good in each day! You inspire us, Melissa. ⁠

Check out Melissa’s post of her Viva Babe recognition on her Facebook page.

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Debbie P.

Weehawken, New Jersey
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Debbie is the Director of Marketing for a company in Weehawken, New Jersey. Her nominator, former co-worker, and friend, Stephanie shares, “her positivity is reflected in everything she does. She’s had a tremendous impact on my life and I can say, without a doubt, that I am one of many!” Debbie creates mini communities and brings people together to ignite the team. She recently moved to a new company and is already sprinkling her pixie dust by creating a woman’s league, hosting the first event on International Women’s Day. She also volunteers and imparts her wisdom with a group called “Moxie Girls”, where girls are empowered to break the stereotype boundaries in computer science. Plus, Debbie is a creative type to the core; She started her own jewelry-making business and has developed a HOPE bracelet with the mission to raise money to kick cancer in the ass‼️ 
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When asked about sharing her message of positivity, Debbie says “I’ve always believed the best success is shared success. It doesn’t happen without the help and support of your team. I’ve been very fortunate to have had many strong, empowering women throughout my career and want to share that knowledge and empowerment with other women.” 

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Renee F.

Louisville, Kentucky
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Renee embarked on her life of service with 28 years in the US Army and has continued her servant heart after retiring in 2010. Nominated by her husband, Kevin, he shares, Renee “lives every day to comfort, console, and uplift veterans, civilians, and refugees.” Her impact is widespread with all the groups she supports:⠀

✅ She volunteers for No Veteran Dies Alone at the Louisville, KY Veteran’s hospital, personally consoling and comforting dying veterans who do not have any family.

✅ Renee volunteers for 11th Hour, a hospice program where she holds the hands of dying civilians in local nursing homes, ensuring them that they are not alone.

✅ She volunteers for the Kentucky Refugee Ministry program (https://kyrm.org/), where she greets refugees with USA balloons and gifts to welcome them to the USA.

✅ Renee teaches refugee women how to make earrings. She also makes baby blankets and receiving blankets for the expectant refugee women.

✅ She teaches chair yoga to several different groups.


✅ Renee volunteers with WaterStep (https://waterstep.org/), an organization that saves lives by collecting shoes to fund drinking water projects across the globe. Renee has personally collected over 1000 pair of shoes for this cause.

WOW! When do you sleep, Renee? You definitely make life ridiculously awesome for those in your midst! When asked about her motto, Renee said she’s always lived by “attitude is everything.” YASSS!

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Debbie W.

Austin, Texas
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18 years ago, Debbie created “The Gathering”, an Alzheimer’s respite hosted in a local Austin-area church. Alzheimer’s patients are welcomed in every Tuesday for a morning of fun activities and games, giving the participants a place to be accepted for their disease and providing the caregivers a break from the daily routine.  Debbie’s nominator, Diane, shares, “It is so much more to the caregivers than just a day out. It is a lifeline to others who understand what one goes through when caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia. It is laughter when things aren’t usually funny, dancing when you least expect it, and a host of loving volunteers who care deeply about each participant.” 

Diane continues, “Debbie is a tireless community volunteer.” In addition to running The Gathering and volunteering locally, Debbie is also a former nurse who has traveled on mission trips with Austin Smiles, a local non-profit dedicated to repairing cleft palates on children around the globe. ⠀

After her Viva Babe celebration, Debbie humbly proclaimed, “I have been the ‘leader’ by default, but there are 52 other awesome Gathering volunteers, each with different gifts and talents who donate at least 6 hours of their time each week, year after year. 

Debbie has been playing Bingo with Gathering patients since 2001 and never, ever wins “BINGO”.  Debbie, even though you may never win at Bingo, you are winning in many other ways that are far more impactful.

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Angela B.

Los Lunas, New Mexico
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Angela is a photographer in Los Lunas, NM. As a stay-at-home momma of four, she discovered a passion for photography and she grew this passion into a successful business. Her nominator, Deloris, shares “Angela LOVES to make women feel amazing about themselves and their bodies! She feeds each client with a million compliments in such a way that we leave the session with unstoppable confidence!“ ⠀
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Deloris and Angela became fast friends many years ago when their Marine husbands were deployed together in Iraq. In addition to making her clients feel amazing during photo shoots, Angela also “has a knack for making people believe they can do anything.“ Deloris shares, ‘Ang filled me with so much confidence that I joined her in signing up for a bikini competition. This had been a dream of mine from a very young age, but I didn’t necessarily believe I could achieve it. She convinced me to go for it, and not only did I do it, I owned it and got my pro card!”⠀⠀
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You go, girl! Angela, your devotion to uplifting the women in your life is remarkable! ⠀⠀

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Amelia

Boston, Massachusetts
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Amelia is a flight attendant with Delta Airlines in Boston, MA, and is passionate about volunteerism and finding her way to spark change in the world! Amelia became interested in the Latin American culture in high school and studied abroad in Mexico for four months during college to immerse herself in the culture and language, eventually becoming bilingual. After putting herself through college and with this newly developed skill set, she set out to volunteer for a non-profit in El Salvador called Fundahmer, where she worked as a translator/guide. One year turned into two and her lust for travel grew as she had the opportunity to explore many new places.

Recognizing that she had to find a ‘real job’ where she could make money but still following her passion for travel, Amelia now works as a bilingual flight attendant. Her dreams continue to take flight as she is now in the midst of earning her pilot’s license. She just completed her first solo flight and plans to finish flight school in three years!

Her mom and nominator shares, “She works VERY hard for everything she has and is always the first person offering to help when the need arises.” Amelia gains her inspiration from 1 John 3:18: “Let’s not merely say we love one another, but let us show the truth by our actions.” She also shares, “I believe the best way to create change is to be present and to be in solidarity with those around us, especially people around the world whose lives are shaped by the way we live ours here in The States.” ⠀

Amelia, you are soaring lightyears beyond your age and your drive to show up and evoke positivity in the world is inspiring!

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Erika

Austin, Texas
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Erika is the Founder and Executive Director of Austin Allies, a group of Austinites volunteering with their children to help charitable organizations in and around the city.  Erika saw the need to counteract the negativity she witnessed in the world and instill the values of empathy, understanding, and compassion in her children.  Viola!  Austin Allies was formed to make volunteering easier for families by creating events and activities with local organizations who need support. 


Erika’s nominator and fellow volunteer, Julie, shares, “This woman is amazing. She wakes up in the morning and spends her day looking for non-profits to help. She is truly a full-hearted do-gooder and I love her energy and spirit!” ⠀

Julie rounded up Erika’s family and Austin Allies Board Members for the Consuelabration at a local restaurant and the enthusiasm and support was sizzling! After the celebration, Erika shared this message of positivity, "Do Some Good Today. It's simple but important. ”

Truth, Erika!! The smallest acts of kindness can Make Today Ridiculously Awesome for someone else!

To learn more about Austin Allies, see https://austinallies.org/

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Summer

Ocala, Florida
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Summer is the Director of the Marion County, Florida, Literacy Council.  She is so treasured that she garnered 3 separate nominations by her girlfriends, and in Summer’s words, these ladies are her “true soulmates”.  These soul-sisters surprised Summer at their book club gathering, a close-knit club that has been together for more than ten years.


Summer is FULLY INVESTED, “whether it’s her work at the literacy council, as a board member of the fine arts committee, as a moderator of our crazy book club, or with her friends and family,” her friends share.  Not only does she hold down a full-time job and volunteers for countless local organizations, but she’s also studying to get her Masters in Social Work, too‼   Her friends also say,  Summer “will shine as a counselor because she has a natural ability to put you at ease by her keen listening skills and knowing that she is never negatively judging you. She sees all aspects of life to be a part of a person’s story, not their shame." 

Summer has a passion for service.  When she heard this famous quote by Gandhi, "You must be the change you wish to see in the world," it transformed her life.  She shared, “I found my heartbeat and motivation in that quote and it has never changed”.

YESSSS, Summer!  You are the BEATING HEART of your community and one incredible Viva Babe!!

P.S. Can we join your book club?

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Eva

Austin, Texas
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Ms. Eva is a preschool manager and teacher in Austin, Texas and she is oh-so-loved by her students and parents alike; In fact, over FIFTY parents and former students showed up to honor and celebrate her! Her nominators, Dani and Stacy, share, “For over a decade, Ms. Eva has expanded the horizons of hundreds of children at the Patton Elementary Child Development Center. She teaches them in English, Spanish, and sign language that they have no limits!”  Her former students are the “kind of kids that play hard, take risks, speak up when they should, look you in the eye, tell the truth, use great manners, and help their friends.”

We witnessed the love and support of Ms. Eva firsthand as the exuberant crowd paraded from the gym to the playground to surprise her.  What a joyful and touching experience!  Ms. Eva shared this with us, “I love working with children, it’s so fulfilling. I hope that I am making a positive impact on these little lives. I always tell my own children that the world is round and if you give Good you get Good.” Yassss‼️ Ms. Eva, thank you for giving GOOD!

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Selina

Norman, Oklahoma
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Selina is the momma of two and the wife of a Division 1 College Baseball coach.  Life threw her a curve ball when her second child, Briscoe, was born with renal failure and was whisked away to NICU shortly after birth.  Briscoe spent five long months in the hospital followed by Selina moving into the hospital for a month to learn how to be his primary caregiver; He required dialysis up to 12 hours nightly and 20+ rounds of medication daily at home.  At age 2, Briscoe finally received a kidney transplant, and while he no longer requires dialysis, he still requires constant care.

Her nominator and sister-in-law, Vanessa, shares “throughout this entire journey Selina has not let this get her down, EVER! She continues to sign her daughter up for extracurricular events, is the room mom of her daughter's Kindergarten class, attends every home baseball game for her husband’s team (as long as Briscoe is healthy), throws the most over the top birthday parties, and cooks three meals a day from scratch!” Selina makes every attempt to live a normal life.

Selina gets through the rough patches with this nugget, “There is ALWAYS a silver lining. ALWAYS. You just gotta find it.”   Selina, your attitude of finding the positive in any situation is remarkable!  You are a ROCKSTAR mom!

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Donna C.

Brenham, Texas
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The unimaginable struck Donna’s family in 2003; Donna tragically lost her precious four-year-old son Adam to AML Leukemia within a matter of days. Adam fell gravely ill, was diagnosed and placed on life support, and four days later Donna and her husband had to make the gut-wrenching decision to remove life support after confirming there was no brain activity. ⁣


We have no words.


Through this darkness emerges a beacon of hope and light with the founding of Adam’s Angels Ministry, providing care and comfort for families suffering from childhood cancer. The ministry assists cancer families with living expenses, meals, transportation costs, and hosts a huge Christmas party at MD Anderson Children’s Hospital where every child and sibling receives a gift. Donna’s sister and nominator shares, “Adam lived a short life but impacted so many lives. Now Donna is impacting lives through her generosity and making a difference.”⁣


Donna’s giving heart never stops.  As we surprised her at our flagship store in Austin, Donna shared a recent story about driving and staying with a young girl during her chemotherapy sessions when her parents were not able, and how she witnessed her post-chemo exhausted body, crumpled in the car, with her head between her knees, because this was her “only comfortable position”. 


Despite the tragedy Donna and her family endured, she has chosen to walk with joy and sprinkles sunshine on those who need it most.⁣


For more information see, https://adamsangelsministry.org⁣

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Angela B.

Converse, Texas
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Angela is a communications supervisor for a local municipality just outside of San Antonio, Texas. During her time as first responder and now supervisor, she has transformed her center from a place where several dreaded working, to one of the premier emergency dispatching centers in the Bexar County area.  Her husband and nominator Paul shares, “In addition to increasing workplace performance, training, and transparency, Angela is also a licensed instructor who takes pride in teaching future emergency dispatchers job skills necessary to perform this underappreciated job.”⁣

Not only has she positively impacted her work environment, but Angela also gives back to several local causes. She has been instrumental in establishing numerous community outreach programs in the city to include coordinating the city's first Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), made up of volunteers from the community who receive specialized training in responding to local emergencies, search and rescue, and emergency medical treatments. Additionally, she has hosted the Stop the Bleed class for citizens where they are taught life-saving techniques to stop uncontrolled blood loss from injuries. Plus, Angela is currently working with a student from a nearby high school to develop a program to respond to active shooters.⁣

While many of us dream about making a difference, Angela owns it, sparks change, and positively charges those around her! 

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Wendi M.

Menifee, California
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Brave. Fierce. Warrior. Viva Babe Wendi is a fighter.

Captain Wendi is the Fire Captain of the Rancho Mirage, CA fire department.She’s been a Firefighter with Cal Fire since 1995 and has spent the last 12 years as an Engineer serving another local community. She’s now fighting the biggest battle of her life as she learned just over a year ago, she has one of the most aggressive, fastest growing breast cancers in existence. Her nominator, Guadalupe shares, “throughout Wendi’s life and career she has always given selflessly to everyone else. My sissy Sara (also a firefighter) passed away from cancer in January 2017. I am forever broken, but Wendi has helped me emotionally so much with her cancer strength.” Not only has Wendi spent most her life serving her community as a firefighter, but she’s also made a tremendous impact through her volunteerism. She’s volunteered with the homeless for a number of years and also counsels peers with PTSD and stress-related issues. Plus, once she’s beaten cancer, she plans to spread the word about awareness and prevention within her firefighter community.

You got this, Wendi! Your strength and determination in the face of adversity inspire us all! Keep smiling, keep fighting, and kick some cancer a$$! 

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Genny

Winchester, Massachusetts
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A parent’s worst nightmare, Genny’s son Clay died at age 19 after mixing a prescription drug and alcohol while attending a party in July 2015 in Winchester, Massachusetts, the summer after his sophomore year in college. Rather than retreating in grief, Genny and her husband Geoff committed to act and share their story. They started the Clay Soper Memorial Fund and made a documentary entitled ‘If They Had Known’, a documentary told by kids for kids, to educate viewers about the risks of the current party culture. Nominator Jennifer shares, “Despite the tragedy and great loss to her and her family, Genny has made it her mission to help educate kids, schools, and adults about what happened to her family, hoping to prevent this from happening to someone else.”⁣

Genny shares, “Our goal is to have as many students view this film as possible. The toxic trend of mixing prescription drugs with alcohol is resulting in too many accidental deaths. We hope our documentary program will help to create change and save lives.”⁣

We are incredibly touched by courage, strength and your desire to help others, Genny. You are a shining example of a beautiful light following a tragedy few can imagine. Please help us share her mission, so that other lives are saved.

https://www.iftheyhadknown.com/⁣

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Todos Juntos Staff

Austin, Texas
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Not 1 or 2, but 11 Viva Babes! Join us in celebrating our latest ‘It’s Not About the Bag’ honorees, the ENTIRE STAFF of Todos Juntos @todosjuntoslc !

Christina started Todos Juntos in Austin, Texas in 2009, a bilingual, 2-Gen Family Learning Center committed to breaking the cycle of poverty by strengthening immigrant families through education. Todos Juntos works with children and their parents simultaneously; they learn together and gain control over their family’s future. In the center, children engage in a high-quality early childhood education with the goal of school-readiness, while the parents are taught adult English as a Second Language (ESL) and parenting development classes, all free of charge.

Nominator Soledad shared, Todos Juntos has a “100% teacher retention rate with several of the teachers working for free for years, knowing this is their life calling, and some still work for free because they believe in the mission so much.” One of the staff members is a former student, who graduated from Todos Juntos and has come full-circle, giving back to other families, helping them achieve their dreams.

Todos Juntos is more than a school, it’s a community where families are encouraged and supported. We applaud and celebrate all the staff for their unwavering dedication.

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Priscilla A.

Wilmington, Delaware
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Meet Viva Babe, Priscilla. She’s the perfect combo of wisdom, a sense of duty, and incredible strength. Plus…she’s our latest ‘It’s Not About the Bag’ honoree!⁣ 

Priscilla has always had a passion and a vision for mentoring and currently is a volunteer mentor for a middle school in Wilmington, Delaware. Her nominator, Karen, met Priscilla years ago as they were volunteering, serving soup at an Empty Bowls event, and learned they had mutual interests. The friendship grew and evolved, and although Karen moved cross country to New Mexico two years ago, she knows she will always have a friend in Priscilla.⁣

Karen was so moved and inspired by Priscilla’s mission to serve she immediately knew she had to nominate Priscilla when she discovered our program. Karen shared, “Along with the events in her childhood and despite lifelong chronic pain, Priscilla leads a life of service and I’m sure I’m only aware of a few of her commitments. She is a beautiful soul and she never seeks out recognition for herself. I feel good knowing she is out in the community making a difference.”⁣

Priscilla’s leadership and guidance aim to advance the educational and personal growth of her students. She lives by these inspiring words, “Everyone talks about leaving a better planet for our children. I prefer to do what I can to leave better children on this planet.” 

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Madeleine

Katy, Texas
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She’s a competitor who does not quit! At an early age, Madeleine wanted to act and model, so she followed that path until age 11. Then, she was on the road to becoming an Olympic athlete as a competitive cyclist, but was sidelined by a serious accident, forcing her to find another sport. After some soul-searching and missing her passion for competition, she decided to join her high school bowling club.⁣ ⁣

Her mom and nominator shared, “being the competitor that she is, she went straight to the top, winning her high school bowling district and region 3 years in a row. Her senior year, she was recruited by Sam Houston State, bowling in their NCAA program, finishing her 1st year of college as a national winner. From there, for her remaining college experience, she transferred and bowled for the University of Alabama at Birmingham.” Now, at the age of 23, she is a professional bowler, bowling in the PBA and PWBA tournaments while also working full-time.⁣

⁣ Madeleine is a fierce competitor, but she’s also a compassionate soul. After her grandmother suffered from a stroke, she put everything on hold to care for her and helped her back to a full recovery! Madeleine also finds time to volunteer with Xing Out Breast Cancer Foundation, and The Smilin’ Rylen Foundation.⁣ ⁣

Madeleine, we salute you for bowling strikes in life, following your passion to compete, and lifting those around you when the pins don’t fall as expected.⁣

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Lisa P.

Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania
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Lisa “shows up, whenever you need her to - for everyone, in many ways,” shares nominator, fitness student, and friend, Erin. As a former ER nurse and owner of a small boutique fitness studio, ‘Inspire’, in Mechanicsburg, PA, Lisa “challenges you when you need it, pushes you out of your box when you need it, tells you to value every move and motion as amazing things your body can do...and don’t take it for granted.” Erin also shares, “Lisa has trained people to do amazing things and has done amazing races, Ironmans for example, and is a beast, but in a way that is humble and calculated through preparation.”⁣

This past fall, when Lisa’s sister, her best friend, was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer, Lisa decided to close her studio of 7 years to be with her sister and her niece. She showed up, ready to help, she thought she had time. Devastatingly, time was not on their side and Lisa’s sister passed away shortly thereafter.⁣ ⁣ Lisa shared that her tribe, the women of ‘Inspire’, are her inspiration. They are the dream team that helps her stay strong and stay INSPIRED. Lisa’s former studio, ‘Inspire’, was a welcoming and nurturing place where women of all ages were provided the opportunity to feel empowered and love their bodies. This is where the magic happened, where women joined collectively to lift each other and continue to do so.⁣

Lisa, you light our fire! You’re an amazing soul with vision and compassion and one incredible Viva Babe!⁣

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Kristie W.

Roswell, Georgia
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Kristie, a Realtor in Roswell, Georgia, “gives so much to the Roswell community by volunteering in countless ways, supporting students and families that are less fortunate by providing shelter, food, clothing etc., and most of all, always showing that it takes a village," shares nominator Carrie.

Carrie nominated Kristie after an extraordinary act of kindness that tugged at her heartstrings. The week before Thanksgiving, Carrie’s house caught fire and her family was staying in a hotel. Plus, to add to the craziness, Carrie tore her rotator cuff and required surgery. With a sense of humor and looking at life with a glass half-full, Carrie posted a photo of her tiny Christmas tree in the hotel. Literally moments later, Kristie responded with this incredible message: ⁣ ⁣

"Hi Carrie! I’m so sorry you have had a fire and are in a hotel!!! I can’t imagine you guys having to spend Christmas in a hotel!! We are out of town for Christmas... I would love to offer you guys our home, decorated and ready to go Dec 21st! Please come make our home yours for the holiday. Kristie.”

This remarkable gesture meant so much to Carrie that she was motivated to recognize her “for all the kindness she has for humanity,” so Carrie scoured the internet for a company that rewarded women for their kind deeds and VOILA…she nominated Kristie for our ‘It’s Not About the Bag Program’.

⁣ Kristie, you emanate LOVE and KINDNESS! You inspire us with your unwavering goodwill and generosity!⁣

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Kandis

Montgomery, Texas
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Kandis is on fire as a well-accomplished scholar and beyond! ⁣ ⁣

-High school valedictorian

-Cum laude graduate of Texas A&M University in Biochemistry

-Masters in Physical Therapy from Texas Woman’s University

-Doctorate from The University of Texas Medical Branch 

Kandis puts these incredible accolades to work as she lifts the world both locally and internationally.

Kandis is a pediatric physical therapist who works with special needs children in Montgomery, Texas. She drives from home to home “teaching infants how to walk and teens how to navigate school,” says Steve, her nominator and husband. Plus, she leads a special needs Sunday School class in church and manages her household and three children.

Internationally, Kandis makes trips to Haiti as part of her commitment as a board member of Hand Up Global Goods (HUGG), an organization that uses fashion to fuel social change by providing jobs with dignity - to give a HAND UP, not a hand out. Steve shares, HUGG “teaches Haitian orphan boys to make jewelry to better their lives and learn a trade.”HUGG works in conjunction with the Haitian orphanage, Grangou, teaching the teens essential skills to eliminate a life of handouts as they age-out of the orphanage.

Kandis ignites a fire and a passion to lift the lives of those around her and make this world a better place! ⁣

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Emerald Belles

Southlake, Texas
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Kickin-it!!!  Meet an amazing group of young women who exemplify what being a Viva Babe is all about!  The SLC Emerald Belles are today’s It’s Not About The Bag honorees.

This dance team from Southlake Carroll, Texas, is known for their crowd pleasing High Kick routines that create amazing illusions through their precision, intricate formations, and dazzling costumes.  Through their dedication and teamwork they have had many successes.  We highly recommend checking out one of their viral videos on YouTube.  So cool!!

This talented team was recently selected to audition for America’s Got Talent, and we couldn’t be more proud for them!  Look out LaLa Land!!  @agt @agtauditions

We were so impressed with their hard work, but when we learned from their nominator and team Director, Melissa Page, about their hearts, we became real fans.  According to Melissa, this group of shining stars have continually demonstrated kindness and empathy for one another and those around them.  Lifting others through their thoughtfulness and loving support.

We are so thrilled to watch you guys as you grow and bloom and become vibrant women out there conquering the world!  All the good luck and vibes on the show.  We’ll be cheering for you!

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Tami W.

Wichita, Kansas
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As an RN and Teen Pregnancy and Parenting Initiative Coordinator in Wichita, Kansas, Tami puts her “heart and soul into her work and she lives a life that is the best example of giving” her nominator, friend, and supervisor Frances shares. Frances says Tami was always drawn to run a maternity home, where she guides and advocates for pregnant young women, who are struggling with motherhood at the tender age of 13-23, to give them and their babies a healthy start. Tami supports their fears about their deliveries, NEVER misses a birth, and then she begins to help them understand the life-long commitment they have made to parenting.

Frances shares that Tami has been working two jobs since August, running the maternity home, while also running the ‘M.O.M.’ (Moving On To Motherhood), aka ‘mommy mobile’, program which provides targeted case management, counseling and crisis intervention, parenting education, and more for more than 35 pregnant/parenting youth.⁣

We’re so inspired by you, Tami, as you walk the walk and talk the talk of a Viva Babe, lifting the lives of all you connect with!⁣ 

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Vicki O.

Indianapolis, Indiana
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Vicki lives in Indianapolis, Indiana, and was the driving force behind the most successful and longest-running open-wheel driver development series in North America! Vicki opened the doors and inspired other women to get involved in racing. She offered her nominator Anne her first job in the racing industry 24 years ago. Anne shares “Vicki was the only woman to own a racing series…she was able to turn a small racing series into a big, successful one, in a tough man’s world, and pave the way for me, and other women to make it in the world of motorsports.” Anne owes much of her success to Vicki and shares “she made a big difference in my life and in my career. I am forever grateful.”

Vicki credits her mom as her incredible role model. “I am the daughter of an awesome woman who was widowed at 38 with 3 daughters and she raised us to be awesome women! She deserves the credit.” ⁣

Vicki, we are waving the checkered flag, celebrating your achievements in motorsports and leading the charge for women in your industry!

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Ann W.

Odenton, Maryland
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Ann is a Design & Marketing Coordinator for a model home design firm in Odenton, Maryland and was nominated by one of her employees, Christina. Christina considers Ann much more than a boss; She’s a friend, a mentor, and an unsung hero! Christina shares, “Ann is, without doubt, the best manager I have ever had. In her role as coordinator and manager, she brings strength and compassion that is only matched by her generosity and kindness to all the people she works with. Without complaint, Ann steers the helm of our ship - being the liaison between our clients, all the tradesmen, and women we work with, salespeople, our marketing team, and the designers, etc.,” which is truly a formidable task! 

Ann’s dedication and support goes beyond her role as a manager. Christina also shares, “she was the first manager that ever cared truly about me, not about what I could do for the company, but about me as an individual. Sixty people work in this location and I can tell you, with confidence, everyone has at least one moment where Ann has impacted their lives for the better. Life is not about how much we produce, it’s about how we uplift those around us and in doing so we not only give love to others - we love ourselves as well.”

Ann, the world is a better place because you’re in it! Thank you for spreading the positive vibes and lifting those you connect with daily! 

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Taylor L.

Halethorpe, Maryland
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Taylor is an Assistant Teacher from Halethorpe, Maryland and, “though only in her mid-twenties, she loves to explore life and has worked harder than many adults I know,” shares nominator and mom Nicole. Taylor started working at age 14 and has juggled school and work ever since. She worked throughout college, earning her Psychology degree from the University of Maryland, then interning and eventually working at a psychiatric hospital where she found her niche working with troubled kids.

For the last two years, Taylor has worked at a private high school in Baltimore, with 170+ autistic and behaviorally challenged students, where she helps them develop lifelong skills. Nicole shares, “Taylor is amazingly creative with this very challenging population, always teaming up to explore new challenges with her students.”

In addition to working full-time, Taylor has enrolled in a master’s degree program at a local university to become a certified nutritionist. “She's using her newfound knowledge to redesign the cooking curriculum for her students, working on increasing their independence,” Nicole shares.

Taylor does all this with a smile and an enthusiasm to learn more and share this knowledge to lift the lives of her students. Taylor, you inspire us and we’re honored to call you our Viva Babe! 

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Robin W.

Round Rock, Texas
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Today we celebrate love…and, there’s no better day to recognize Robin, who invites us to love and care a little bit more about the world than we think is possible. She shares “when one person I invite to help says yes, my impact is doubled. When three people say yes, it’s tripled. Four? Quadrupled. And on and on and on. And all-of-a-sudden, what one little person couldn’t have ever done alone becomes POSSIBLE and PROBABLE and DOABLE.” 

Robin is a Round Rock, Texas photographer, a single mom to two teenagers, and the President of Fields of Dreams Uganda @foduganda Fields of Dreams Uganda provides hope to the orphaned and vulnerable children of Uganda through soccer and education programs. Nominator Tina, Robin’s friend and running buddy, shares “she works tirelessly to be there for her kids for all of their activities, juggles photography to support herself, and donates ALL of the rest of her time as the President of the non-profit.” Plus, she leads the coordination of NINE ‘Dresses for Dreams Global 5K’ runs that occur simultaneously each November, benefitting the Fields of Dreams Uganda Girl Empowerment programs.

Robin, thank you for reminding us, encouraging us, and inviting us to show up in small ways and LOVE BIG {with our whole heart} so that the small things blossom and multiply to accomplish the seemingly impossible!

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Julie L.

Crossroads, Texas
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Let’s face it, we all have moments when we need a boost or a helping hand. Julie is PRESENT and SHOWS UP…EVERY. TIME. She’s got your back! Julie is the mother of four, a full-time stay at home mom, and a caregiver for her ailing father who lives several hours away. Nominator Tasha shares, she knew she met an instant friend when Julie invited Tasha and her family to stay with them when their house caught fire, even though they barely knew each other.

Julie sees a void and fills the gap! Your child forgot their school lunch? Don’t worry, Julie’s got you! She’ll be right there, dropping off lunch money for your kids. Julie attends all her kids’ activities, taking awesome photos of all the participants. She shuttles kids all over town, feeding them before and after events. She volunteers at EVERY school in the area, coaches Destination Imagination teams, and offers to feed hungry and tired band directors after a long day of competition. Whatever the need, Julie is there. 

Tasha shares, “people are comforted knowing she is near, and she is someone that actually means it when she says, if you need anything, call me."

Julie’s motto is: “If you’re still looking for that one person who can change your life, take a look in the mirror. No better person to change this world than you.” 

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Aysa

Austin, Texas
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Strike a pose!  Viva Babe Aysa sparks joy in the lives of young cancer patients and their families through her fashion show and charity, reminding them that they are amazing, beautiful, and strong! We applaud you, Aysa, as our latest ‘It’s Not About the Bag’ honoree and an amazing Viva Babe!

Nine years ago, Aysa began volunteering at the Austin, Texas-based Dell Children’s Blood and Cancer Center (CBCC) prom, and soon realized she had a bigger “vision that would not leave [her] heart.” The vision resulted in the conception of Beautifully Loved, a non-profit designed to improve confidence and self-worth for families dealing with chronic pediatric illness. Aysa reminds these special patients and their families that they are seen, valued, and overwhelmingly loved.

Nominator Jennifer shares, Aysa “organizes the Dell CBCC Fashion Show where patients are the models (who are pampered and celebrated!). All proceeds go toward the teen support group” which provides monthly uplifting activities. Additionally, Beautifully Loved pampers parents on Mother’s and Father’s Day and holds Quarterly Pamper Days at Dell CBCC, providing hair, makeup, nail and massage services for patients and their families.

Aysa, we see you and we want to remind you of all the good you bring to the world and that you, too, are Beautifully Loved!

All are invited to attend the Dell Children’s CBCC Fashion show, February 24, 2019, at Fair Market in Austin from 4-8 pm

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Rina

Stuart, Florida
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Move over darkness! Make way for the light that Viva Babe Rina shines on others through her non-profit ELEV8HOPE! We celebrate the hope she brings to those who are struggling while empowering them to rise and move forward! Rina, our most recent Viva Babe honored through our ‘It’s Not About the Bag’ program.

Rina is a wife, a mom to four kids, and the President/Founder of the Martin County, Florida, boots-on-the-ground charity ELEV8HOPE. Her nominator, Jamie, shared that Rina “restores her hope in humanity” as she witnesses Rina’s devotion and tireless efforts to pay it forward for local folks who need a “hand up”. Elev8hope receives no state funding and relies on “angels” to help fulfill the needs of many.Rina makes it all happen! ELEV8HOPE coordinates providing over one thousand families (yes, 1000!) with holiday meals and gifts. They also assist families with basic needs, like food, diapers, formula, and gasoline. Rina empowers these recipients with goodwill, as Jamie shares, “she helps them get back on their feet to rise”. Kids are an integral part of ELEV8HOPE’s volunteer program. The organization strives to develop student leaders. Jamie states, “Rina firmly believes that children are our best hope. She lets children of all ages, especially those in middle school and high school, help run the organization.” Through their active participation, these kids see the incredible impact they make!

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Lita

Missouri City, Texas
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High fives and fist bumps all around in honor of Lita, a born leader and our newest Viva Babe!

Lita is an Assistant Principal at a Houston, Texas area high school. Since her first day on the job, she has made an incredible impact, so much so that a teacher from a different department was motivated to nominate her.  Her nominator Lynne says, “Lita welcomes and encourages others by always acknowledging students and staff with a warm smile, an eye-twinkling nod, or a greeting while passing in the busy hallways.” She shares an authentic concern for the well-being of her students, following up individually to make certain they have the tools to succeed and they are supported at the highest level.

Lita is charged with numerous job requirements, with responsibilities to students, school and district staff. She meets all these challenges head-on, with gusto and positivity, always channeling the best interests of her students! In Lita’s own words, her decisions or goals focus on “doing what is best for the children.”

Lynne says, “Under Lita’s leadership, I feel a genuine sense of pride in teaching students to the best of my ability and working with all staff to make this school a warm, friendly, and safe place for all.” All these traits add up to a remarkable leader! We salute you, Lita, and are proud to recognize you as one of our Viva Babes! 

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Leah S.

Houston, Texas
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Leah is a police officer in Houston and spends her free time advocating for animals. In college, she volunteered at the Bryan, Texas Animal Center, using her talents to photograph and video dogs to shine the light on the needs of the animals. During her time at the Animal Center, Leah met her nominator, Terry. With a common passion, these two animal advocates became fast friends. After Leah moved away to a new position in Waller, Texas they stayed in touch through social media where Terry learned of the incredible work Leah continued to do to fight for animals!

As a police officer in Waller, Texas, Leah spearheaded the city’s first and only dog shelter, the City of Waller Animal Shelter, by renovating an old and decrepit jail cell. Then, when she relocated to the nearby Houston area, she founded a new rescue group, First Responder Animal Rescue, with the mission “to be the voice for those who can’t speak!” Leah often fosters dogs and cats from the street and rescues animals from high kill shelters, all while maintaining long hours at her job. Terry shares, “I am in awe and humbled by her amazing service.” We couldn’t agree more! We admire and honor you, Leah, for being a strong and incredible voice for animals!

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Mrs. Melissa

Elgin, Oklahoma
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Melissa is a teacher in Elgin, Oklahoma and she’s made such an impact on her students that she was nominated by one of them, a 7th grade student, Ryder. Ryder shared that “Melissa” (he doesn’t call her by her first name) is “a wonderful teacher, who finds special ways to reach all of her students.” While this would be reason enough to celebrate Melissa, she has elevated her role as a teacher to support the school at an entirely new level! Melissa, along with a fellow teacher, founded Winter Wishes, a tradition at their middle school, now in its third year. Winter Wishes is a program in which all middle school students write a wish for a fellow student (a friend or someone who could use a little extra kindness) and also write a wish for themselves. The entire school looks forward to December, when they grant as many wishes as possible.

Melissa leads the charge in requesting donations and funding and all of Elgin comes together to support the Winter Wishes program. Ryder says “Melissa is there at every function, fundraiser, behind it all, making it happen and spreading kindness through our community and our school”. Melissa said the program started based on a kindness curriculum. She shared “to be a part of this is my joy, my passion. Every kid has a story”. Wow! We applaud you, Melissa, for spreading kindness and joy throughout your school and community! 

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Nicole G.

Seattle, Washington
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Meet Nicole, the latest honoree of our ‘It’s Not About the Bag’ program and a super awesome Viva Babe!!

Nicole is a sonographer in Seattle and was nominated by her long-time friend, Laila. Nicole spends her free time and uses her vacation days to go on mission trips to impoverished countries where she trains local medical providers about women’s health and prenatal care. She’s been to Uganda (twice), Zambia, Bangladesh, and Guatemala. Nicole’s generosity is incredible!

In addition to her mission trips, Nicole also volunteers with local animal shelters, like Seattle Humane. She walks the most challenged dogs, focusing her time and energy on getting them ready for adoption. Laila shares, “Nicole is a true humanitarian,” to babies and animals. In fact, Nicole considers herself a “professional cuddler”!

Nicole loves the idea of breaking down social barriers by getting involved. She suggests “finding something that you feel passionate about and creating a 'volunteer vacation'”.

All the kudos to Nicole!! She walks the talk with her giveback-getaways, vacationing where she makes a meaningful difference and sharing her knowledge and expertise along the way.

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Mary M.

Angelton, Texas
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We’re all high fives over our most recent Viva Babe, Mary, recognized through our “It’s Not About the Bag” program!

Mary is someone who inspires all who know her by her strength and dedication. She is the mother of four and when her youngest son turned 18, he enlisted in the Marine Corp and left immediately after high school graduation for Iraq. Mary’s nominator and daughter Monique shared with us: “[My mom] became depressed and isolated.” Wondering if other military mothers shared her sadness, Mary placed an ad in the local newspaper calling for others in her situation. More than 15 women reached out. Eventually, the group grew to become the “Military Moms and Wives of Brazoria County (MMWBC)”, a massive group of volunteers providing aid and comfort to the men and women of the United States Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, and their families. Her son did 3 tours in Iraq and was honorably discharged years ago, yet Mary continues to lead MMWBC and has done so for over 15 years. Monique also shared: “I have watched a mother that was timid, scared, not very outgoing and very little self-esteem become this woman with a loud voice, able to inspire businesses and volunteers to donate time, money and supplies to send thousands and thousands of care packages twice a year to American Heroes overseas…” What a hero!

Mary’s motto is: “Freedom isn’t free,” and her actions prove she’s committed to supporting those who fight daily for it. To learn more about MMWBC, see http://www.militarymomsandwives.org/

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Chelsea

Austin, Texas
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We’re hats off to Chelsea, our latest Viva Babe recognized through our “It’s Not About the Bag” program! 

Nominated by her mom, Teresa, Chelsea, learned the importance of health screenings when she was four. After failing a vision screening, Chelsea learned she was permanently blind in her left eye. Two years later, a failed hearing screening revealed that she was deaf in her right ear. In fourth grade, Chelsea learned about Helen Keller and surmised: “I’m half-bind and half-deaf; I’m Half Helen”-a name that would come to characterize her life’s work.

In 2013, Chelsea used her college graduation money to found half Helen Foundation (hH), a non-profit organization that exists to improve children’s vision and hearing through an innovative delivery of care. Committed to providing high-quality, preventive vision and hearing screenings in preschools and schools across central Texas, hH has screened over 45,000 children. Since Chelsea started hH, she's helped over 250 preschool age children avoid preventable blindness!⠀

Chelsea also worked with state legislators to pass a law that allows schools to use new, instrument-based screening devices to vision screen all school-age children and she is focused on raising funds to build a mobile optometry clinic.

Chelsea shares her motto, “Care is the mother of all things." It is our ultimate why and call to action!

You are awesome, Chelsea! Bravo to you! 

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Makayla H.

Ft. Worth, Texas
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Makayla is a charge nurse at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital, and one of the best in the business! She’s so awesome in fact, she was nominated by someone she barely knows, John, the son of one of her recent patients. The backstory that led to her nomination is so inspirational, we had to share it directly:

“On that first day [at the hospital], we met Makayla….to say my father is a little brash would be an understatement. An Air Force veteran with 23 years of service, he’s always been a little loud and rough around the edges. On top of that, he is a type 2 diabetic and you can imagine how that goes. To sum it up, Makayla took to my dad, and it truly touched us.

During her second shift, my sister and I happened to be coming back from grabbing a quick bite to eat and saw Makayla sitting at her workstation. She sat with her legs crossed, so my sister noticed an artificial leg sticking a bit out of the bottom edge of her scrubs. Makayla gladly shared she was involved in a motor vehicle accident. She was pinned in her car for three hours as the rescue crews worked to free her. She spent 14 months recovering prior to returning to her job.

Makayla showed no sign of having any type of physical detriment the entire time my father was in her care. She did everything for my father! However, what really stood out was the fact that once home, my dad made the comment that “he missed his nurse.” He’s not usually one to show that type of emotion, but I could tell she had made an impression. We need more Makayla’s in the world!" 

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Jennifer M.

Columbus, Ohio
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All hail to Jennifer, our most recent Viva Babe to be recognized through our “It’s Not About the Bag” program! 

Jennifer is a creative genius who shares her craft with others through YouTube to inspire card makers all over the world. Her mission is to share handmade kindness and boy, does she do an awesome job of it!

In addition to sharing her craft to inspire others, she is also committed to helping others in need. When two hurricanes recently hit the Virgin Islands, she led the crafting community in a fundraising event to help those affected by the tragic storms. Through her efforts, Jennifer learned that many of the school-aged children were the most affected. She took action to help by asking card makers to donate a card and a $20 bill to each child.

Jennifer’s nominator and fellow creator shared with us: “Jennifer amazes me with her kind heart and sweet, gentle spirit!” We couldn’t agree more!

Way to go, Jennifer! ⠀

Be sure to check out Jennifer’s AH-MAZ-ING work here:⠀

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/jennifermcguireink ⠀
Insta: @jennifermcguireink ⠀

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Ruth

Austin, Texas
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Ruth was nominated by her husband, Shaun, and believe us, we can see why! Not only is she a super mom of four, but she, along with her children, give to an amazing number of worthwhile projects including Austin Pets Alive , food banks, Dell Children's Hospital , and many others. She has prepared meals for homeless teens. She has organized fundraisers. She has organized meal services for someone she barely knows. She has served the children of her church—the list goes on and on! Her commitment to serving others and her community has been an awesome example to her family as well as to everyone around her.

In addition to serving the community, Ruth is an incredible mother (who has managed to volunteer as a “room mom” for all four of her children’s classrooms….all at once!) Speaking of her role as a mother, Shaun shared with us: “Ruth has sacrificed her own pursuits to be present at most, if not all moments in her children's lives.” We so admire her dedication!

Ruth has a fantastic motto she lives by and shares regularly with her family:

“Be generous. Be generous with your time and your words and your things. We have all that we need so don't be afraid to give.”

Ruth, we adore you and applaud all of the wonderful things you do to lift the world! Welcome to the ranks of our beloved Viva Babes! 

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Carisa

Kent, Washington
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Carisa is blazing trails in a male-dominated industry! She works as a National Coordinator with the Elevator Industry Work Preservation Fund, part of the International Union of Elevator Constructors, and is one of very few women journeymen. Of the 28,000 members in the IUEC, there are approximately only 130 women, and she’s the only one who has ever been promoted into a leadership position within the EIWPF or IUEC.

Carisa was appointed by her General President to the North America Building Trades Union, “Women in the trades” committee in DC, and it’s there where her work began, promoting women in male-dominated building trades. Each year, this committee puts on the “Women Build Nations” Conference, where women gather to learn and encourage each other in their quest for equality within building trades. She’s an advocate for women’s rights within her union and works tirelessly to improve communication and appreciation with leaders of the union. Also, she was recently recognized by Elevator World Magazine in their “People” issue in regards to her climb to the top in a male-dominated field.

Carisa attributes her success to the lessons learned from her mother, “who was fierce, independent, and strong beyond measure.” Carisa often reflects on this quote from Estee Lauder, “I didn’t get there by wishing for it or hoping for it, but by working for it.”

And working for it is what she has done indeed! Thank you, Carisa for being a role model and fighting for women in male-dominated industries!

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Jil

Bethany, Oklahoma
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Jil’s nomination to become a Viva Babe was inspired by her commitment to children. She works as a Teacher’s Aid and an interpreter for the deaf.

As a woman in her twenties and single, Jil’s desire to help children in need was so strong, she became a foster parent. This selfless responsibility brought her four children, two biological brothers and two biological sisters. She eventually adopted all four children, while still single.

Jil is deeply involved in Child Services and remains active in the foster care system for the State of Oklahoma. She’s been recognized for her work by the state, and is known as “mama” to many children and young people that know her.

Jil’s nominator and step-mother, Allyson, told us: “The road hasn’t been easy and there have been many ups and downs along the way ,but Jil has put her kids first all the way!”

Bravo, Jil! We’re so happy to celebrate you today!

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Jackie C.

Katy, Texas
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Jackie willingly works seven days a week to provide care for people with disabilities. She strives to instill self-esteem in all her clients and works hard to help her clients progress to achieve all they possibly can.

Jackie was nominated by Lynnette, the mother of one of Jackie’s clients, Kayleigh. Lynnette shared with us: “Jackie gives respect to the disrespected, companionship to the friendless and elevates the marginalized.” I am fortunate to have her working with my daughter. I too benefit from her strength and encouragement. My daughter and I are so blessed to have Jackie in our lives. She is RIDICULOUSLY awesome and spreads awesome wherever she goes!”

Last but certainly not least, we just have to share words that Jackie lives by: “Please hear me, Girl: This world has enough women who know how to do their hair. It needs women who know how to do hard and holy things.” -Ann Voskamp

Jackie, you leave us speechless with your love and service of others! We’re honored to call you our Viva Babe!

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Jessica M.

Franklin, Ohio
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A career as a certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor is not what Jessica ever intended for her life’s work. But it’s clear that riding horses and helping others while doing so was meant for her all along.

When Jessica was a year old, her father was involved in a barrel racing accident that left him in a coma for six months. After waking from the coma, he was unable to walk or talk. He eventually regained limited ability to walk through therapeutic horse riding and spoke again with the help of a voice machine.Later, at sixteen, Jessica began volunteering at a therapeutic riding organization geared to benefit children with Autism. Seeing a young non-verbal rider communicate in ways never before seen by her family hooked Jessica on the notion that helping and lifting others, through riding, would become her primary calling. Jessica’s nominator and mom says: “Jessica’s passion for helping others realize their abilities rather than focusing on their limitations makes her my hero!”

When we asked Jessica about her message of positivity, she shared these wise words: “Appreciate where you are in your journey, even if it’s not where you want to be. Every season serves its purpose.”

Jessica, you are serving wonderful purposes in life! We feel so privileged to call you our Viva Babe! ⠀

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LuAnn

Sherman, Texas
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Eight years ago, with $1200 in her savings, LuAnn started Women Rock  @womenrockinc, a non-profit organization to aid uninsured or underinsured women with their breast health. 

In 2017, Luann and team provided more than 800 mammograms and other breast health services to women in need. Financial support was also provided for those fighting cancer to help their families cover costs such as gas for doctor’s visits and medication.

As part of Women Rock, Luann started Breast Friends, a monthly support group for women fighting breast cancer as well as for those who have survived it. Luann’s nominator and friend Janis, who also serves as the VP for the organization’s Board of Directors, says: “ I am a 17 year breast cancer survivor and I make it a priority to attend these monthly meetings. She has created a sisterhood that cannot be described. We stand together in the hard times, we share tears, and we celebrate every time a survivor gets a "good report". LuAnn is selfless and gives more time, more effort, and all of her heart to this organization.” 

We’re so inspired by you, LuAnn! Thanks for all of the good you bring to the world! 

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Melissa

San Antonio, Texas
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Viva Babe Melissa is known as “Sister” because she loves everyone like family.  She’s devoted her life to helping others during extremely difficult times, working as a Deputy Director of Immediate Disaster Case Management. For the past two years, Melissa has focused her efforts to help victims of hurricanes Harvey and Maria to rebuild their lives, and her impact has been awesome!

Melissa’s friend, co-worker and nominator, Patsy says: “[Sister] has become a permanent member of my family, and working with her has been one of the best parts of my job. I look forward to texting her, calling her, or stopping by to see her every day because she's just normal, down-to-earth, and always takes time to listen, give a hug, and share a laugh with.”

Melissa, we need more Babes in the world like you! We’re so happy you’re our Viva Babe!

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Maria

San Antonio, Texas
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Maria’s sister and nominator RoseAnn shared with us that Maria was her first teacher. “She would spread a blanket under a large pecan tree in our front yard and teach us (younger siblings) the alphabet, how to write our names, etc. It was quite handy to have this down before entering school!” 

Maria and her siblings were raised in humble circumstances by their grandparents. Wanting the best for his family, their grandfather worked three jobs at times to ensure the children were able to attend Catholic school.

Determined to pursue her passion for education, Maria enrolled herself in college, figured out financial aid, and worked extremely hard, earning an undergrad degree and a teaching certificate.

Later, while working full-time and raising three sons, she attended night classes, eventually earning two masters degrees. What an inspiration! 

Maria’s devotion to education has helped countless people. Before her retirement, she oversaw special programs for the San Antonio School District, where she earned respect and admiration from many. ⠀

Maria is a brilliant model for anyone with a dream. Her amazing example shows us all you can follow your passion, no matter what! 

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Sarah F.

Maui, Hawaii
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We’re completely smitten with Viva Babe, Sarah!

As a beautiful young woman whose life was just getting started, Sarah’s plan for herself instantly morphed into something completely unexpected—she was in an accident that left her unable to walk.

Luckily for all of us, this Babe was born to thrive! Sarah’s resilience and endless positivity compelled her to write her blog, The Vertical Blonde, @verticalblonde, a platform for sharing stories and insights to motivate and advocate for others to better themselves in every way. Not only is Sarah a successful blogger, she’s held the titles of Ms. Wheelchair Hawaii, and First Runner Up of Ms. Wheelchair America. She’s a mother, fitness fanatic, sun worshipper, speaker, and “fan of the crap”, which “strengthens us in ways we don’t expect.”

Through her experience of becoming a paraplegic, Sarah has learned invaluable lessons. The best advice given to her after her accident came from her aunt: “Don’t ever ask ‘why’. Answers don’t come when you’re asked. They come when they’re supposed to.” By not asking ‘why’s’ she’s rightly learned incredible patience, along with the realization that “there is purpose” in everything. Sarah’s friend Karen nominated her to become a Viva Babe. And we’re so thrilled she did! Sarah, you’re a bright light of awesomeness. Keep burning brightly!

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Haley

Austin, Texas
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We’re totally in awe over Viva Babe, Haley!

Haley has a job that most of us can only dream about: She’s the globe-trotting photographer and blogger behind the notable travel guide, @readysetjetset

Haley got her start in 2013 by using Instagram as a way to share her travels with the world. A few years later, she started her blog, fully devoting herself to her craft. Today, she inspires thousands of people who flock to her site and Instagram profile every day, sharing her swoon-inducing photos and unique insight to the places she visits.

According to her mom and nominator, what makes Haley Viva Babe-worthy is her ability to step out of her comfort zone, as well as her sheer determination to: “make it happen”, no matter what.

Haley grew up in Austin, Texas and is a graduate of American University in Washington D.C. She’s a self-taught photographer who once took cues from her father, a videographer. Keep inspiring us, Haley!

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Stephanie

Austin, Texas
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We are so excited to celebrate Viva Babe, Stephanie!

In addition to being a kind and selfless woman to all humans, Stephanie shares her all-out awesomeness with animals. She volunteers her time every day to a number of organizations dedicated to animals in need. She’s fostered over 20 dogs in the past four-and-a-half years, focusing on dogs that are sick, injured, terminally ill, or in their final years of life. How wonderful is that?

Stephanie’s contagious smile, amazing sense of humor, and compassion for everyone makes her an outstanding individual. When she’s not caring for animals, Stephanie is a personal trainer with a career spanning nearly 20 years. And even more awesome, she’s the grandmother of three children, ages seven, four and two.Stephanie’s motto for living is: “Do life now. Be open. Be vulnerable. Live with your heart on your sleeve”. Pretty awesome words to live by, if you ask us!

Stephanie, you put the bow-wow in our bark! We adore you and salute your amazing heart!

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Krista

Liberty Hill, Texas
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Viva Babe, Krista, purely defines what it means to be a Viva Babe.

Krista devotes her life to benefiting others. Speaking of service, she says: “As we lose ourselves in the service of others, we discover our own lives and our own happiness.” Pretty awesome words to live by, right?

Krista is an active member in the community, volunteering over 400 hours every year. She shares her time, talents and loving heart with a variety of organizations that benefit women, children, families, and the elderly. If she’s not cooking meals for families staying at the Ronald McDonald house, she’s dancing with senior friends with dementia or early on-set Alzheimer’s. If she’s not cutting a rug, she’s painting the nails or styling the hair of teenage girls at a local group home. Her list of efforts is endless, and she manages them all flawlessly, as well as a full-time job.

Krista has also been involved in numerous fundraising projects and is a volunteer at the Austin Junior Forum.

Krista’s friend and nominator says: “With Krista, it’s never about her. She focuses on how she can positively affect the lives of others—she always finds a way to make others feel special.”

Krista, we think you’re the bee’s knees! We’re honored to celebrate you!

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Diane H.

Ingram, Texas
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We couldn’t be more excited to shout Diane's name from the Consuela rooftop!

Diane and her nominator Emily, have been the best of friends for more than 20 years. “We’ve been single together, married together, suffered the deaths of those dearest to us together…and now we’re mothering together,” Emily says. “In the midst of some of the hardest years of her life, I’ve watched Diane tend to the less fortunate, taking her daughter to serve meals on Thanksgiving and Christmas, something she continues to do today. She’s organized drives for kids needing school supplies, and more…she’s a gift to all who meet her, “ Emily says.

Diane is the mother of three children and also works as a Registrar at an awesome summer camp in Texas.

Diane, we salute your kind heart with admiration! Keep spreading the love!

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Jennifer

Austin, Texas
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We’re pleased as punch to celebrate Viva Babe, Jennifer! This was an extra fun event because we got to partner on Jennifer’s surprise with one of our fav Austin-based businesses @amysicecreams!

Jennifer is a successful businesswoman who has focused her career in the finance sector. She’s currently the CFO of @communityimpactnews , an Austin-based hyper-local news publication servicing greater Texas and Arizona. She is deeply committed to the small business network in the community.

Even with a thriving career and the business of mothering two teenage boys, Jennifer focuses her life on kindness to others: “Reach out to someone every day, whether it’s going above and beyond to help someone with a specific need, or lending an ear, or even simply offering a friendly smile…you never know when someone is having a bad day.”

Jennifer, you make us so proud! May you continue to share your brilliance and love with all!

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Brooke

Austin, Texas
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Joining the ranks of our oh-so-loved Viva Babes, is total rock star, Brooke!

According to her nominator, friend and co-worker Jacci, Brooke “truly exemplifies what it means to live a life of positivity and to always lift others.” Brooke is a Social Worker who served eleven campuses within an Austin, Texas school district where she was also a grief counselor for the entire district. Currently, she works as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker for an Austin-area elementary school and she is well versed in Austin’s community resources, connecting many in need with housing, financial and mental health resources. As if this wasn’t enough awesomeness, Brooke is a Field Supervisor to student interns at the University of Texas’ School for Social Work.

When she’s not shining brightly on the job, Brooke is wonderfully mothering two girls and serving as a Girl Scout troop leader.  She’s a firm supporter of the arts, and works to instill an appreciation for them in her family. She’s also an avid lover of the outdoors, running five miles a day before the sun comes up! Clearly, this babe has an amazing amount of energy!

Lastly, but absolutely not least, Brooke recently wrote and received a grant from local grocer H-E-B, to provide books and bags to children who lack proper resources during summer months.

Brooke, you are fabulous! We’re so glad you’re a Viva Babe!!

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Karen

Stanley, Kentucky
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We’ve heard so many awesome things about Karen, we just had to make her one of our Viva Babes!

Karen and her nominator Tiffany, first met years ago when Tiffany began her career as a teacher. Karen served as a wonderful mentor to Tiffany, teaching her the ropes "like only a master can”. Through her mentorship, Karen lovingly treated Tiffany as her equal and never made her feel like she was lacking in knowledge. The two stayed in touch over the years. Eventually, Tiffany moved to Texas. As she heard of the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey, Karen reached out to Tiffany to ensure all was well. She then made generous donations to support those in need, never expecting a thing in return. Her kindness and optimism are what make Karen one fabulous babe!

Karen, you are amazing, and we couldn’t be more honored to celebrate you!

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Staci

Nevada, Missouri
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Today’s Viva Babe, Staci, is the mother of five, an entrepreneur, and all-around hometown hero of Nevada, Missouri!

Seeing an opportunity to further involve herself in her community, Staci opened a feed and garden store next to her home and husband’s veterinary practice. She shared, “Most every feed and garden stock stores in the area are owned by men. I wanted to create a family-friendly business that caters to women and kids, so we turned an old farmhouse next to ours into a store, set up a play area around our greenhouses, and added some goats to the barn!” How awesome is that!?!

Staci is highly passionate about kids and involves herself in various community aspects to promote and support them. During summers, Staci and family open their home to boys who participate in Nevada’s summer college league team. Her nominator Donna says: “I’ve only known Staci a few days but I knew immediately she was an incredible woman! She opened her home to my son who was in Nevada to play ball, and I was instantly assured he’d be well cared for—she’s wonderful!”

One of Staci’s favorite quotes came from her grandma: “If your horn needs tooting, someone will toot it for you. You don’t need to do it yourself.”

We’re tooting your horn loudly for all to hear, Staci! We’re so happy to celebrate you!

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Tina

Edinburg, Texas
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We’re shouting with excitement over our Viva Babe, Tina!

Why? Because according to her nominator and 12 year-old son JP @jpgarciask8er, she’s “a voice of sensitivity, support and endless love!” And while these are attributes of any awesome mama, what makes Tina special is the fact that her son isn’t like most kids his age. JP is a skateboarding prodigy with goals of becoming a professional skater and Olympian.“[My mom] provides me with discipline and keeps my ambition growing every day so that I can reach my goals. She’s always there to lift me up and has an amazing way of making me feel better when competitions don’t go my way,”JP says.

Tina, we salute you (and your future Olympian!) We’re thrilled to call you our Viva Babe!

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Sarah S.

Stanley, North Dakota
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We’re so excited to be celebrating Viva Babe, Sarah!

Sarah’s friend Stephanie (and nominator) sums up perfectly why we’re honoring her today: “Sarah is an inspiration to anyone who thinks their plate is too full!” She is the mother of three teenagers, a well-loved guidance counselor, and a track coach at a high school in Stanley, North Dakota. And, if this wasn’t already a lot to gracefully maintain, Sarah is pursuing her life-long dream of becoming an assistant pastor by taking seminary classes and involving herself in the various duties and aspects of the role at her church.

You’re a rock star, Sarah! Keep up the awesomeness!!!!!

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Lucia

Sheffield, England
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We’re totally over the moon to celebrate international Viva Babe, Lucia!

Lucia is an artist in Sheffield, England, whose artwork has been used for a wide variety of products including children’s clothing, bedding and stationary. Her incredibly sweet and lovely craft has also been displayed at a variety of public places and enjoyed by many.

Not only is Lucia a wonderfully talented artist, she’s also philanthropically driven. She’s raised funds to benefit a local hospital by completing a 10K run!

Lucia’s cousin and nominator says: “Lucia lifts the world everyday with her beautiful art—her work brings light and joy to a world that can often seem otherwise. Her artistry is reflective of her kind soul and giving heart—she’s truly someone special!"

We couldn’t agree more! Lucia, keep on creating your amazingly delightful art! We celebrate and honor you with love!

See Lucia’s work at: @bettyjoydesignstudio

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Beverly

San Antonio, Texas
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We’re seriously big fans of our Viva Babe, Beverly!

Beverly lives life by an awesomely simple yet poignant motto: “Make Today a Be Happy Day!” She learned this motto from her father, who lived his life in the same vein.

Beverly was nominated by her coworker and friend AnnEliz who shared with us that Beverly exemplifies selflessness. “She goes out of her way to help everyone!”, AnnEliz says. Beverly’s been known to grab lunch for coworkers, make calls and visits to sick friends, bake cookies and birthday cakes for her office-mates, and so much more. And the best part? Beverly wears a smile—always!

Thank you, Beverly, for making life sweeter for everyone around you!

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Paula

Egypt, Texas
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Viva Babe Paula is the definition of a warrior!

As the City Secretary of Wharton, Texas, Paula flexed her super-strong muscle of bravery during Hurricane Harvey. As the town administrators prepared for the storm and throughout the horrible flood that ensued, Paula slept in her office for days, rarely taking a break from her duties to ensure the townspeople were safe and supported as their homes flooded. During the ordeal, Paula’s own newly-remodeled home filled with water. Despite her loss, Paula persevered keeping in mind all the while: “we’re going to be ok!”

Paula, we applaud your bravery and perseverance! We’re so proud you’re our Viva Babe!

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Shannon

Tulsa, Oklahoma
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We’re thrilled to celebrate Viva Babe, Shannon!

Shannon is a single mother of three girls who, after her divorce five years ago, felt a strong need to help others, especially single moms. With a lot of hard work, Shannon launched an organization called ‘Extending Grace Ministries’, which anonymously gives items including assistance with utility bills, gas cards, clothing, and toiletries, among other things, to women in need.

Speaking of her Ministry, Shannon says:” It’s not a job, it’s a blessing!”

Shannon, it warms our hearts to honor you! Keep shining!!!

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Terry

El Paso, Texas
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Terry was nominated by her friend Connie, who is already one of our beloved Viva Babes. Her nomination is the result of her insatiable resilience and ability to live an inspiring life despite physical limitations. According to Connie, Terry is “the brightest, most outgoing woman out there! She never complains or outwardly wonders why she’s been given her physical challenges. She’s strong in her faith and prioritizes helping others.”

Terry also inspires others with her travels. She visited Europe this summer, and has recently vacationed in Belize. How fab is that!?!

Terry, we’re absolutely delighted to celebrate you!! 

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Shacolby

Rosharon, Texas
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Viva Babe Shacolby is a woman of many wonders! She’s the mother of three, a full-time Administrative Assistant, a writer, poet, talented singer, aspiring model and a fitness enthusiast who inspires women everywhere with her Facebook-based exercise group called: “Fit You, Fit Me, Fit Us.”The group consists of a series of Shacolby’s workouts and motivational messages to encourage women to meet their fitness goals and beyond!

Shacolby’s nominator and friend had this to say: “Shacolby inspires everyone by always challenging herself to improve and do more—she’s an amazing role model to her daughters as well as everyone who comes into her life!"

We think you’re amazing, Shacolby! Thank you for showing us all just how awesome we can be!

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Lisa

Corpus Christi, Texas
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Lisa is a warrior for education. She’s worked with relentless effort for a number of years to grow and elevate (in every possible way!!) the charter school that serves kids from Kindergarten to eighth grade in her community of North Padre Island, a small community within Corpus Christi, Texas. As a complete devotee to the school, Lisa spends countless hours as an unpaid volunteer, to fundraise, coordinate, organize, and govern the school that serves 500 students. Speaking of Lisa’s herculean effort, her friend and nominator said: “Lisa totally amazes me! She believes that helping others is critically important—and she puts her talents and abilities towards doing just that!”

In as much as Lisa is a champion for the charter school, she’s also a fantastic mother to two adopted boys. Lisa and her husband John, are an awesome example to those around them of “love, patience and creativity,” in both their approach to parenting and living in general.

We’re so happy to honor you, Lisa! Keep up the great work!!

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Neana

Joshua, Texas
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Neana is a full-time teacher, the mother of two small boys, and an incredibly brave woman! After losing her mother Conni (affectionately nicknamed Consuela) to breast cancer in 2016, Neana took immediate action to learn about her likelihood of developing the same disease. Genetic tests revealed she carries the same gene that caused her mother’s cancer. But rather than living in fear, Neana took an amazingly courageous (and highly preventative) step by having a double mastectomy, a procedure that lasted ten hours. 

In addition to her tremendous courage, Neana’s great-aunt and nominator says: “She always has a smile on her face and a heart for God.”

Neana, we are in AWE of you!!! Thank you for allowing us to share your story, you are a beaming inspiration!

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Sarah B.

Georgetown, Texas
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From the ranks of the Air Force, to the ranks of Consuela Babes, we’re super excited to honor and celebrate the amazingly patient, persistent and proud parent, SARAH! 

When Sarah and her husband Matthew, were first married, the pair was stationed at different military bases. Despite the stress associated with the separation on the newly married couple, Sarah was always, as Matthew (her nominator) put it: “a magnet for positivity.” Later, when the couple left the Air Force and relocated to the Austin area for an easily-found job for Matthew, Sarah spent nearly a year looking for an opportunity of her own. Not letting discouragement get the best of her, she persevered with her shoulders back and her head held high.

Sarah eventually landed a fantastic job as a Program Manager at a tech company and is totally loving it! And, in addition to landing her awesome job, Sarah and Matthew welcomed a gorgeous baby girl, Rose Emilia in May!! In honor of this sweet cherub, we were thrilled to gift Sarah with the Rosie Hobo as it not only reflected her baby’s name, but the baby’s nursery as well!

Sarah, you are a shining example of the what it means to hang on with cheer during difficult times. For that (and for many other reasons) we adore you and celebrate you being a Viva Babe!

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Teah

Stephenville, Texas
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Our latest Viva Babe, Teah, is totally slaying it!

While she’s making awesome grades at Tarleton State University, she’s also focused on philanthropic causes through her sorority, Delta Phi Epsilon, to raise awareness and funds for a number of community projects. What’s more, she loves children and works as a teacher at Faith Lutheran Church to fund her education. As her father (and nominator) says: “She lights up every room and is a powerful force for good!" She’s an awesome leader and a stellar example of love, hard work, enthusiasm and devotion to all! You are awesome, Teah!

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Jenai & Stephanie

Austin, Texas
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We’re super excited to celebrate not only one Viva Babe today, but TWO, sisters Jenai and Stephanie!

Jenai is the owner of @caffearagona, a terrific cafe in downtown Austin, known for it’s fabulous offerings and warm hospitality, drawing hometown folks as well as tourists alike. She’s full of heart, enthusiasm, and is a vision to businesswomen all over town—she’s a total boss!

Stephanie is Jenai’s encourager and rock. Though she lives in New York, the distance doesn’t keep her from having her sister’s back. From late-night phone calls to visits to Austin, Stephanie is always there, cheering Jenai on!

Ladies, we’re so honored to celebrate you! Keep up the awesomeness!!!

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Lindsay

Spring, Texas
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Viva Babe Lindsay, is a beautiful example of inspiration and hope!

Just over a year ago, Lindsay tragically lost her two-year-old daughter, Sadie, in a motor vehicle accident. Despite the unimaginable loss of her precious girl who loved pink, Lindsay’s resilient spirit thrives as a beacon of love and strength for her two boys, husband, and community around her. To name one example, she is the architect of Hope Family Care, a foundation that raises awareness for families who have lost a child or close family member. As her sister-in-law and nominator said: “Lindsay constantly gives, and will do so for as long as she’s on earth.”

Lindsay’s bright faith “keeps her vertical” and she’s at peace knowing “God’s plan is set in stone”. She’s a stalwart example of how light can shine in the darkest of times, and for that, we at Consuela are proud to celebrate Lindsay for all the good she brings to the world!⠀

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Ann

Quebec, Canada
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Meet Viva Babe Ann! As a young adult, Ann moved to Canada to be more fully immersed in French, studying it as a graduate student. She currently lives in Quebec, Canada, and has dedicated her life to helping others.

Her first job was teaching life skills to learning disabled adults. Following that, she developed a highly successful program to teach English to French speaking students in Quebec with a new, theatrical methodology, based on hand gestures. She trained other teachers how to use this very effective and unique style to teach English as a second language.

While life was happening to Ann, raising her family and working, she often longed to pursue her passion as an artist. Voilà! Now retired, Ann’s artistic light can shine as she paints in both watercolor and oils, is an accomplished bead artist, and enjoys other art forms. When she's not creating and sharing her art, she continues to reach out to others as a volunteer for the learning disabled. Ann’s encouraging heart and giving spirit creates a special magnetism to those around her. Thank you for being a champion for others and lifting the world, Ann!

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Jen

Wichita, Kansas
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Viva Babe Jen pours her heart and soul into her family and her work. She has two boys, is a soccer mom, and works for Youth Entrepreneurs, a non-profit in Kansas. Working for a non-profit organization, she helps spread the great work that they do across the nation. Youth Entrepreneurs equips young people with the values and vision to pursue their dreams. They strive to change the mindsets of young people, so that they believe in themselves and what they can accomplish. 

In addition to her strides to promote and positively influence youth entrepreneurship, Jen maintains positivity on the personal front, too! When things get tough, you would never know it because she always maintains a smile and a positive attitude. Her deep love of the Beatles and her slogan, "let it be" (which she has tattooed on her foot) provides her the strength to carry on through anything!

Yes! Here's to letting go of expectations and trusting in the outcome! So many times there is something better waiting for us than what we dreamed was the perfect outcome! 

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Sandy

Lago Vista, Texas
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Meet Viva Babe Sandy! Sandy exemplifies living a life out loud. When our Consuela Crew surprised Sandy during a staff meeting, she was completely caught off guard. She was speechless (and she's never speechless)!!!

Sandy is the Director of Special Education in an Austin-area school district and is a dynamic leader who encourages and applauds each person's contributions. She leads with a sense of purpose mixed with lots of laughter! Sandy and her team impact the students in their district in profound ways, and we are so thankful to get to highlight and acknowledge the work of such an amazing group of educators and caregivers.

Sandy is an avid practicer of empathy, constantly focusing herself and her team on staying positive during the challenging days and situations and always remembering to consider what it might be like to walk in another person's shoes. What a great reminder to see the world from others' perspectives and contemplate the situation from the other person's viewpoint. Empathy builds bridges!

Viva-on, Sandy! Thank you for showing us how to live life in the moment, exuding positivity and embracing each day with humor and love! 

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Erica

Los Angeles, California
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Whoop! Join us in celebrating Viva Babe, Erica! Erica (@errrrrrrka) spends her days as a kick-ass fitness instructor, inspiring her clients in LA to reach greatness! She makes everyone in her classes feel beautiful, strong, and ready to rock the world. 

By challenging her students to let go of self-doubt, and silencing that little negative voice that says 'you can't', Erica instills confidence and self-assurance, and motivates her students to achieve their best results. She pushes her clients to persevere when they feel like giving up and tells them how amazing they are once they've triumphed!

Erica is a true encourager, giving her students all the tools to succeed, both in fitness and life. She is the epitome of a Viva Babe, lifting others and empowering babes to reach their full potential and revealing the true badass chicks we all are!

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Vera

Austin, Texas
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Vera was astonished when the Consuela Crew, along with her team at @Dell, surprised and celebrated her; She thought she was headed to the cafeteria!! Vera is a patient, quiet and admirable person. She arrives early, takes care of many, many tasks, above and beyond her job description and is available at any time to assist her group, even with odd requests. She gives 100% and beyond and she affects much of what happens with her team at @Dell. She simply smiles and calmly approaches situations, when others are convinced the sky is falling.

Her team at Dell amplified the surprise by sharing a bag of “warm fuzzies” (one-word adjectives describing what Vera means to each of them) for Vera to read as a reminder of the respect and admiration they all have for her. She is “kind”, “conscientious”, and “damn-smart”, to name just a few they shared. Thank you for leading by example, Vera, with your kindness and intelligence, and lifting up those around you with your humble ways and sweet smile.

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Rachel

Austin, Texas
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Rachel is the rock of her “village”! She started a fitness business for moms a few years ago, initially with only 3 moms participating. She was patient and persistent and has now grown her tribe to over 120 moms, and recently celebrated her 3 year anniversary! Rachel shares messages of encouragement and her positive attitude are a light for so many moms during a huge transition in their lives. Her love, her warmth, and her caring nature are just added bonuses. Rachel humbly exclaimed, “Moms just need hugs!” when we surprised her after leading her stroller fitness group.

Her fitness program helps women find “strength in motherhood”. By creating safe spaces where moms can connect with one another and get in touch with the healthiest versions of themselves, they unlock the power of a collective motherhood. Rachel shared, “Ain’t no hood like motherhood and we just cannot do it alone. Feeling so grateful for our village; that is a living and breathing example of the sisterhood of motherhood.” 

Wow! We see you, Rachel!! Thanks for being a rock to your community of moms, who are comforted and encouraged by your love, support, and your contagious positivity!

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Ashley R.

Lubbock, Texas
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Viva Babe, Ashley is an angel on earth! Ashley is selfless, cares deeply, and is dedicating her life to helping others by becoming a nurse. No matter the situation, she always has a positive outlook on life and strives to be her best self.

Both of Ashley’s parents passed away when she was younger, so she’s had to be fiercely independent at a young age. In fact, she’s working two jobs to put herself through nursing school, yet she does this with a smile on her face. Next May, she will graduate with her Associate’s degree in Nursing and beyond that, she will attend Texas Tech for two years to earn her Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Thank you for being strong in the face of hardship and painting smiles on those you touch! The sky’s the limit, Ashley!

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Montana

Austin, Texas
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Viva Babe Montana, is ambitious with a heart of gold! Finishing college in just three years and working full-time @WholeFoods HQ while getting her CPA license,  she is a total go-getter! Her commitment, drive and hard work are inspirational! She says her parents and her own ambition keep her motivated and she pushes herself to achieve her goals. She loves working @WholeFoods and plans to grow with the company.

Not only is she goal-driven, she has a servant's heart! She loves to give back and has made sharing her time and resources a priority.

Montana’s @WholeFoods team cheered her on during our Consuelabration and her reaction was priceless! “Why me?” Because, you’re amazing Montana!!

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Mel

Southlake, Texas
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Meet Viva Babe, Mel!

What’s the best way to Consuelabrate a one-of-a-kind like Mel? With a little pink champs of course!!

Mel has been a dance director for one of the largest and most successful high school dance teams in Texas for over 20 years! She has directly guided thousands of girls, molding and shaping their character through their formative years, and leaving lasting impressions on their hearts. Her former students have shared stories of the ways Mel has positively influenced their lives and laid the foundation for their future successes, in college and their careers. The impact Mel has had on her students is incredible, but there's even more to her story! Mel is also the co-owner of several fitness centers in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, @zyn22_ ,and she shares her positivity daily as she teaches classes, motivating her students to give and achieve their absolute best!! She leads by example, with a servant’s heart, and regardless of any hardship in her own life, she is an unwavering positive force. We are so thankful for you, Mel, for lifting our future, and for touching our hearts!

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Barbara B.

Pflugerville, Texas
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Barbara has earned every jewel in her tiara! She is creative and kind, and a model perseverance. 

While raising three kids, Barbara decided to pursue her dream of attending college. This was a daunting task as she had been out of school for 20 years. Not only did she have the demands of being a student, she also had the demands of raising a family, and being a single parent; multitasking at its finest!! Barbara worked diligently to earn her Bachelor of Fine Arts from Colorado University, and she did not stop there! She went on to achieve her Masters of Fine Arts, too!!!

Following college, Barbara embarked on her career and today she continually rocks it as a top sales performer in her company! Whoop! She’s a model of staying focused and working tenaciously to realize her goals. Three cheers for Barbara!! Yaasss, girl!!!

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Julie L.

San Antonio, Texas
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Wow... Julie truly touched our hearts! She was told 20 years ago, while pregnant with her daughter, Alis, she had two months to live. She’s been fighting breast cancer for 25 years and has been stage four for 20 years. Does that get her down? Heck no!! She goes to chemo every 21 days and carries her Orange Crush Consuela. She says, “Just wipe it off, it’s good to go. That’s life. You don’t know what’s going to happen.”

As she fights this courageous battle with a smile on her face, she also lifts others on a similar journey. Julie and her daughter Alis make fleece blankets for chemo patients and for the children’s hospital oncology department. And, Julie visits the pediatric oncology center to paint the nails of young cancer patients. She is a giver; a giver of love, a giver of good vibes, and a giver of strength. Julie, you are amazing, an inspiration, and a true Viva Babe! 

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Amanda

Austin, Texas
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Like the brightest of rainbows, Amanda magically makes you feel better, just by shining those pearly whites in your direction! Those who know her shared how uplifting she is by always recognizing the positive in every situation and sprinkling love and laughter everywhere she goes!

Amanda has been a caregiver and supporter of those around her and puts her own hardships and challenges aside to focus on helping others. It’s impossible to have a bad day when you’re in her presence! Her incredible attitude has steered her career as a life coach, where she helps discover a person’s true potential so they can live an extraordinary life! We see you, girl! Keep shining that light!

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Paige

Canyon, Texas
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Meet Paige! She lights up the night with her infectious smile and uplifting spirit. After being diagnosed with MS she began to have some difficulty walking and relied on a cane. Paige did something that we need more of in this world!! She took a hard situation she was facing in her own life and turned it into something positive for others facing a similar challenge. Paige started creating personally decorated canes for other people with MS. She dubbed these as "Happy Canes". 

Paige - we are blown away by your ability to put your own feelings aside to help encourage and lift others!! We are humbled and reminded that deciding to focus on positivity and giving is a way to fuel our hearts and help us endure and move through life in the best way that we can.

We asked Paige how she stays motivated and uplifted. She said, "There are days that are tough, but helping other people helps me stay positive. Even if it is to lend a listening ear, or just being there, I like being that person." ⠀

Thank you, Paige, for lifting the world with your caring heart! We celebrate you for the special gifts you give and your focus on making each day ridiculously awesome for others!

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Sherry M.

Shell Knob, Missouri
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OMG, Sherry! Sherry is a legend. She makes everyone feel special!

There was such an outpouring of love for Sherry, we had to know who she was. As a hairdresser in a small town in Missouri, she is a friend, confidant, and an encourager.

Literally, the town threw a party for her to let her know how much they appreciate her. That's about as ridiculously awesome as you can get in our book! They say that she is so creative and caring with each client, always wanting them to be happy with the result she has created for them...but what became very apparent is that what's most important is that she ultimately makes each person feel valued and loved. Guys, we can all take such a lesson from this. No gesture is too small. People need smiles, hugs, to be heard.

Sherry exemplifies the characteristics of the most special care givers. This time the town, along with Consuela, got to care for her, and we were all so overjoyed! Sherry told us that she's been doing hair for 32 years and that her customers are like family. We know that her customers feel the same way, and that she has touched many lives. Listening can be one of the best gifts.

Thank you, Sherry for always being there! You brighten each day with your smile and love.

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Charlotte S.

Forth Worth, Texas
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Charlotte is the "rock" of her family and friends. She is that person that we all rely on to help us through times of uncertainty, difficulty and sadness. Her peppy, positive spirit encourages those around her to celebrate life to the fullest! 

People like Charlotte are so often the caregivers, and the ones that make us feel better, and always do it because that's who they are...they tend to be selfless and sometimes go without thanks or appreciation for all that they do. Well...Not this time!!! 

Joycelyn, her cousin, told us about Charlotte, and that she felt Consuela is a perfect match to Charlotte's personality. We love that her vibrant, energetic personality aligns with the Consuela pillars, "Laugh Easy" and "Live in Color"...and we agree that she is the epitome of a Consuela Glam Girl. She is an encourager and strives to live and give joy!

For all of the people you have lifted and encouraged, thank you, Charlotte! Laughter and positivity are contagious, so keep doing your thing. It makes a difference! Stop by and say "hello" when you are in Austin!

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Amy M.

New Braunfels, Texas
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Oh Amy, you're so fine, you're so fine you blow my mind! Hey Amy! Having a bit of a #tonybasil moment, and since Amy is an amazing teacher, it felt like we needed a cheer!!

Amy makes each day ridiculously awesome for her students! As an elementary school teacher, her dedication to her students extends beyond the classroom. From delivering sacks full of anonymous Christmas gifts to driving students and their families to the doctor, she goes the extra mile without expecting anything in return.

She embodies the saying, "it is better to give than to receive", and feels that she has been paid many times over with warmth and love. She shares her positive vibes: "I have the huge pleasure of spending my day with 7-year-olds. In a 7-year-olds life, hugs, forgiveness and laughter are freely given and shared. If someone hugs your leg, it is hard to be frustrated. When someone is excited about a small detail, it is hard to be callous to life. When someone shares their love, it is hard to be discouraged."

Amy, it takes a special person to be a teacher. We celebrate you for giving so much to your students and spreading love and positivity! Children learn by example, so thank you for being an amazing and inspiring #postiverolemodel! Yay Teachers!!!

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Kimberly T.

Austin, Texas
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We were so excited to meet Kimberly!! Okay, it may sound a little silly, but when we learned about Kimberly through one of her friends...it made us want to do a little dance...you know the song from Toy Story, "You've got a friend in me"? We love that one, and we most especially love learning about amazing Consuela Rockstars out there being supportive forces in each other's lives, and great friends to one another. 

Kimberly is a joyful, bright light, and rather than focusing on her own obstacles and struggles she actively seeks out, supports, and provides a space for sisterhood, community, friendship and positive living! Around Consuela HQ, those things make us swoon... To share and receive from the circle of love is something we strive for each day. 

Kimberly, we see you girl, and we think you are ridiculously awesome! 

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Jillian W.

Odem, Texas
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Jillian is a champion and a true inspiration. At just 21 years of age, she's endured more than most people ever will, and has turned her journey into one of triumph and positivity. 

In 2016, as a freshman collegiate athlete, she was comfortable competing on the volleyball court but had to learn to fight in a completely different way; Jillian was diagnosed with a rare pediatric bone cancer called Ewing Sarcoma. She was forced to take time off college and had to endure 26 rounds of chemotherapy along with amputation of her left leg. She remained positive and smiled her way through her chemo treatments. 

Now, just 2 years later, she has focused her attention on spreading awareness as a spokesperson for multiple childhood cancer foundations and has created a foundation called @LivenLeap to help other adolescent and adult patients LEAP (Live Every Adventure Possible). She is also training for the USA women’s sitting volleyball team hoping to make the team for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics. 

Jillian shared with us, 'We hear the saying, “live life to the fullest”, all the time, but do we actually do that!? When I was diagnosed with cancer I learned to really live each day as it was my last and to make a difference by being different!'

Jillian, you have touched us in a way that we cannot put into words. Your foundation, your positivity, your zest for life are beyond inspirational. Thank you for being you! 

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Johanne I.

Austin, Texas
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Thank you, Johanne! Your ever-present love and shiniest of smiles makes a difference!! 

Johanne has been a constant champion and helper to our homeless neighbors in and around the Austin area. It's hard to imagine how many lives she's touched. Her husband tells a story of New Year's Eve when the cold weather hit Austin and she called him saying, "Get down here, I have a group of people I just booked hotel rooms for, and need to get them some food and supplies!"

It's so wonderful to know that there are people out there who are helping others....just because it's on their heart to take action. Johanne is a wife and mom with a full-time job, but dedicates her free time to help those in need. She provides food, showers, clothing, haircuts and care via her ministry, Helping our Neighbor. Through her love, compassion and help, she has seen multiple people move from having no home to having a permanent roof over their head! Yaaassss!!!

Johanne shared one of her favorite quotes with us from Mother Teresa, "We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.”

Johanne, we recognize and admire you for your dedication and persistence...your "drops in the ocean" are making a difference! Thank you for lifting the world and being a shining star for our neighbors! 

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Jessica D.

Universal City, Texas
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"I'm a grown woman, I can do whatever I want!" Sing it Bey!

Yessss, Jessica!! Whoop!! We applaud you Jessica, because you remind us that it is never too late to achieve your dreams!

After raising her children, Jessica is back in school 20 years later, and graduates in December!! We're guessing every person reading this has something that they have considered doing...something that they'd really like to do, but then we go back and sit on the couch with a bag of chips and watch American Idol instead.

Not Jessica...not only did she work, raise a family and let her light shine every day, she kept her eye on her goals. She did not say, oh well, it's too late...oh well, I'm too tired...oh well, it's not really worth the effort, it's too hard. No! She said I will not be denied. Seriously, going back to school after 20 years, while working is a major accomplishment and it takes a special person to have that drive. 

We love you for your tenacity and courage, Jessica. You are an inspiration for everyone who has a dream. We hope that your story encourages others to know that all things are possible! 

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Katrina R.

Austin, Texas
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Meet Katrina! She is the living embodiment of one our our fav Consuela core pillars, Lift the World! As the founder of Empowered Acro, Katrina literally lifts people both physically and emotionally!Through her Empowered Acro @empoweredacro yoga school, she is able to encourage individuals to request and provide support, find patience with the process of growth, and communicate with compassion....and do some amazing flying! If you are new to the term acro yoga, please check it out. In layman’s terms, it's a super cool acrobatic practice that involves a lot of lifts and positions with at least one partner. There are lots of physical and emotional benefits that are known to be part of the joy it brings! We first learned about Katrina from a student who has been inspired by her personal journey and caring for others. 

As we constantly learn in life, those who give of themselves, always receive more than they give; so it's not surprising that Katrina says she is honored to share the best parts of her journey with others who seek community, self-confidence, and fun! Katrina continually strives to share the gift of strength through the practice of acro yoga and has a scholarship program that is a true gift and light for others and the community.

Katrina, we celebrate you today! Thank you for being a bright light, and for encouraging and inspiring others to Lift Each Other Up!

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IT’S NOT ABOUT THE BAGtm. IT’S WHERE YOU TAKE IT.

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