Vote for Sue as the National Honoree: November 5 – November 21 on womenofworth.com
San Jose, CA (November 5, 2012) – California resident Sue Runsvold has been honored as a Woman of Worth by L’Oréal Paris for her work with TurningWheels For Kids (TWFK), an organization that provides a brand new bike to every low-income, at-risk child that needs or wants one. Sue is one of ten honorees from across the country that will be recognized for her dedication to philanthropy and passion for making a difference in her community.
“The L’Oréal Paris family is incredibly proud to celebrate this year’s inspiring group of honorees,” said L’Oréal Paris President, Karen Fondu. “These amazing women represent our brand heritage and philosophy, “Because You’re Worth It,” by inspiring us all with their dedication and commitment to making a beautiful difference.”
Each of the incredible honorees has received $10,000 for her charitable cause and will be recognized at an awards ceremony and dinner hosted by L’Oréal Paris and Hearst Magazines on December 6th in New York City. At the event, one National Honoree, chosen via a public online vote, will be announced, and she will receive an additional $25,000 for her charity.
Public online voting for the Women of Worth National Honoree is open from today (November 5th) through November 21st on womenofworth.com. Visitors to the site can vote once per day for their favorite Woman of Worth, and the honoree with the most votes will be named National Honoree.
SUE RUNSVOLD – WOMAN OF WORTH
Raised in a low-income family, Sue dreaded the embarrassment she felt when friends asked how many presents she got for Christmas. Growing up, she vowed that her own children would never know that feeling. In 2002, however, Sue arrived at her daughter’s house for Christmas dinner and was overwhelmed by how many presents were being gifted to her grandchildren. She knew there had to be a middle ground. So, the next year, Sue began taking donations towards bikes for the local fire station toy drive, and, by 2005, her efforts had grown so large that she began TurningWheels For Kids (TWFK) to provide a brand new bike for every low-income, at-risk child that needs or wants one.
Unlike other gifting initiatives, Sue specifically focused on bikes because “everyone remembers getting their first bicycle,” she said. Not only does TWFK provide joy and fun for children who often live with uncertainty, difficulty and even a measure of fear, but TWFK has discovered that there is another side to their program that is equally important – the fight against childhood obesity. With the increase in childhood obesity over the past few decades, providing bikes, the number one requested gift by these kids, draws the children back outdoors and helps to prevent not only serious health consequences, but also self-esteem issues linked to an increase in drugs, alcohol and teen pregnancy.
Having come from a similar background with a father who spent time in prison, Sue won’t allow her bicycles to be branded TWFK because she knows what it feels like to be one of “those” kids – the recipient of a charity item – and she is diligent about keeping the parents involved and making sure they gain the accolades for the bikes.
To date, TurningWheels For Kids has purchased, built and/or distributed over 15,000 new bikes, raised more than $1 million (with 100 percent of funds used on bikes and helmets) and served more than 20,000 happy children.
“I am so honored to be chosen as a L’Oréal Paris Woman of Worth,” said Sue Runsvold, L’Oréal Paris Woman of Worth honoree and founder of TurningWheels For Kids. “This generous award is going to allow TWFK to continue making a positive impact in my community and beyond. It is truly a privilege to be among the company of these ten amazing women.”
Setting the bar for extraordinary philanthropic efforts, this year’s honorees support a wealth of important causes, from healthcare to education and everything in between.
- Sue Runsvold – San Jose, CA; Founder of TurningWheels for Kids, an organization that provides a brand new bike to every low-income, at-risk child who needs or wants one.
- Amy Paterson – Portland, OR; Co-founder of My Little Waiting Room, an organization that promotes the health and well-being of families by bringing drop-in child care to the hospital so that children can thrive as families heal.
- Catherine Meek – Los Angeles, CA; Executive Director of School on Wheels, an organization that enhances the educational opportunities for homeless children by pairing homeless students one-on-one with volunteer tutors.
- Dr. Ida Johnson – Davenport, IA; Founder of United Neighbors, Inc., an organization that helps others help themselves while building self-worth, and includes youth, education, housing, financial literacy and multicultural healthcare programs.
- Kate Bialo – Larchmont, NY; Founder and Executive Director of Furniture Sharehouse, an organization that empowers underprivileged families by providing basic furniture to turn their house into a home.
- Lorraine Kerwood – Eugene, OR; Founder of NextStep, an organization that focuses on people, the planet and education by providing community members with disabilities the tools they need to succeed academically and in the workplace.
- Olivia Stinson – Charlotte, NC; Founder of Pen Pals Book Club and Support Group, an organization that strives to promote literacy and provide cultural and social activities for the children of incarcerated parents.
- Risa Vetri Ferman – Abington, PA; Co-founder of Mission Kids Child Advocacy Center, a non-profit that gives child abuse victims a voice and helps them heal.
- Sandy Puc’ – Littleton, CO; Co-founder of Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep, an organization that provides the gift of remembrance photography for parents suffering the loss of a baby.
- Sarah Cronk – Bettendorf, IA; Founder of The Sparkle Effect, a student-run program that empowers teens nationwide to include students with disabilities in school-based cheerleading and dance programs.
WOMEN OF WORTH PROGRAM
The Women of Worth initiative, now in its seventh year, is inspired by L’Oréal Paris’ iconic brand philosophy, “Because You’re Worth It.” Since its inception, the program has recognized 70 women for their outstanding devotion to their causes, with honorees embodying the spirit of the L’Oréal Paris brand through their commitment to their communities, their selflessness and their drive to make a difference in the world.
For more information about the Women of Worth program, honoree bios and to vote for the 2012 Women of Worth National Honoree, please visit womenofworth.com.