Check out my latest ‘Make An impact’ feature for BELLA New York Magazine!
From fighting kidney disease to helping young people cultivate their authentic selves, these women are doing whatever they can to make their communities — and the world — a better place.
Sydney Levine | Nephcure Kidney International Foundation
While most teenagers these days are interested in spending their free time on “screen time,” Sydney Levine is a refreshing exception. You’ll find this 16-year-old using her spare time to raise awareness for kidney disease. Why? When Sydney’s brother Matthew was 2 years old, a blood test revealed levels of protein in his blood high enough to be indicative of kidney failure. A later kidney biopsy showed huge scars that lead to a diagnosis of FSGS. For several years since, Sydney has focused on increasing kidney awareness and fundraising efforts in her Long Island, NY community. This year, her 31 days of MARCHing to Awareness offered her the opportunity to speak before the Legislature, asking for passage of a bill to have March become the official month of kidney awareness in Suffolk county. On March 2, Sydney also represented the Nephcure Kidney International foundation and rang the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange. Nephcure.org
Kara Ross | Diamonds Unleashed + Project Gravitas
Renowned jewelry designer Kara Ross recently launched Diamonds Unleashed as a brand with a social purpose — 100 percent of net profits are donated to Girls Who Code and She’s the First. Ross partnered with Project Gravitas in the creation of the first co-branded Diamonds Unleashed outerwear piece, a stylish cape that symbolize women’s superpowers. The Cape Blazer will retail for $295 and 20 percent of the proceeds from each sale will go to Diamonds Unleashed. Through the Diamonds Unleashed movement, Kara Ross has expanded the symbolism of a diamond to celebrate women’s strength, independence and solidarity.
Daphne McQuarter | I Am Her Voice
Daphne McQuarter speaks from her own pain, and her non-profit organization, I Am Her Voice, could be considered her greatest work. McQuarter founded I Am Her Voice as an effort to rescue girls from sex trafficking in the United States. She selflessly works her program, The 3 a.m. girl, which goes out to highly-trafficked cities during early morning hours and rescues girls. McQuarter works closely with government officials, law enforcement and other community officials to raise awareness of human sex trafficking in the United States. McQuarter is also the creator of the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls in the United States. I Am Her Voice speaks for the thousands of girls who have gone through sex trafficking, the thousands who are still trapped and the thousands who feel they have no voice.
Amy Poehler | Smart Girls
Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls organization (ASG) is dedicated to helping young people cultivate their authentic selves, emphasizing intelligence and imagination over “fitting in.” ASG was co-founded by actor-writer Amy Poehler and producer Meredith Walker. What began as an online show for young girls has become a place for information, comedy, and community. ASG is often the first online community where many young men and women feel free to express their own concerns. Through their “Call to Action” campaigns, ASG encourages “smart girls” to volunteer and be more curious about the world they live in, providing a healthy alternative to much that is being marketed to young people on the internet. ASG celebrates curiosity over gossip and is a place where people can truly be themselves.