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L'Oreal Women of Worth

When we look out for each other, incredible things can happen.

These five women demonstrate that beautifully.


From left to right: Alison, Maria, SuEllen, Teri, Kathy. All images by L'Oréal Paris.

Through their tireless work and compassion for helping others, they have each been selected from over 6,000 submissions as L'Oréal Paris Women of Worth. They are women who recognize some of the unique issues affecting our communities and choose to be part of the solution.

A total of 10 women were selected as 2015 Women of Worth honorees. Here are five to know about right now.

They so deserve it.

1. Maria Rose Belding from Washington, D.C.

She's making food for the hungry a lot easier to access.

Maria is bringing food pantries into 2015.

While many 19-year-olds only have college on the mind, American University student Maria is putting her focus on those who struggle to put food on their table every night.

She developed an interactive website called MEANS (Matching Excess And Need for Stability) that provides a super-simple way to coordinate food exchanges between donors and local food pantries and soup kitchens.

The most amazing part: In just two years, the site has expanded to include users in 50 cities in 12 different states, representing more than 1,600 partner agencies. THAT is impact.

2. Teri Kelsall from Laguna Woods, California

She's helping veterans join the workforce and start their own businesses.

Too many think veterans “lack real-world skills" when it comes to getting a job.

Teri's organization The Jonas Project began as a way to honor her son Jonas, a Navy SEAL who was killed while serving in Afghanistan. Teri and her husband wanted to give back. And after they realized how hard it is for veterans to find work or start their own business ventures upon returning to the states, they knew just what to do.

The Jonas Project is helping veterans who want to become entrepreneurs develop business plans, get advice from mentors, and seek angel investors for start-up capital.

So far, they've been able to provide assistance to 18 veteran-owned companies, four of which are open for business right now.

How cool!

3. Kathy Koenigsdorf from East Islip, New York

She's helping recovering addicts and their families with resources and support.

She has experienced the struggle firsthand.

Kathy's story comes with tragedy. In 2013, her son passed away from a heroin overdose.

Today, the Jake Koenigsdorf Foundation serves as a support network for families trying to help their children overcome addiction and raises money for substance abusers who want help but can't afford treatment. In only two years, they've been able to help 105 people access treatment. The beginning of a new start at life.

4. SuEllen Fried from Prairie Village, Kansas

She's helping prisoners see a different way.

Reducing recidivism, one conversation at a time.

SuEllen has been visiting prisoners in Kansas for more than 30 years, and she's making a lasting impact. Her organization, Reaching Out From Within, reaches more than 500 prisoners a year in Kansas and North Carolina and aims to help prisoners reduce their chances of relapsing into criminal behavior once they've served their time.

Through weekly groups and now GED classes, she's showing inmates that there are different roads ahead for them.

5. Alison O'Neil from Atlanta, Georgia

She's providing fun aesthetic services to seniors to give them the attention and support they deserve.

They deserve so much support!

Alison O'Neil remembers her father saying to her, "Beauty becomes you," right before he passed away. She took it to heart.

She created a new a mission: to help the often-overlooked elderly population discover their self-worth and feel better about the way they look and feel.

Her professional background in health mixed with those words from her dad helped her create Beauty Becomes You. She and her team have been able to provide more than 15,000 hair, skin, nail care, and massage therapy services to over 5,000 seniors.

A little attention can go a long way.

These women are helping others to help themselves, and there is nothing more empowering.

Their genuine belief and support in complete strangers is a small peek into a stronger, more compassionate world that we should all want to live in.

Bravo, ladies!

Celebrate these incredible ladies and this year's 2015 Women of Worth honorees by reading their stories and voting for the 2015 National Honoree to receive an additional $25,000 toward her cause!

Moricz was banned from speaking up about LGBTQ topics. He found a brilliant workaround.

Senior class president Zander Moricz was given a fair warning: If he used his graduation speech to criticize the “Don’t Say Gay” law, then his microphone would be shut off immediately.

Moricz had been receiving a lot of attention for his LGBTQ activism prior to the ceremony. Moricz, an openly gay student at Pine View School for the Gifted in Florida, also organized student walkouts in protest and is the youngest public plaintiff in the state suing over the law formally known as the Parental Rights in Education law, which prohibits the discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity in grades K-3.

Though well beyond third grade, Moricz nevertheless was also banned from speaking up about the law, gender or sexuality. The 18-year-old tweeted, “I am the first openly-gay Class President in my school’s history–this censorship seems to show that they want me to be the last.”

However, during his speech, Moricz still delivered a powerful message about identity. Even if he did have to use a clever metaphor to do it.

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50-years ago they trade a grilled cheese for a painting. Now it's worth a small fortune.

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Painting traded for grilled cheese worth thousands.

The grilled cheese at Irene and Tony Demas’ restaurant was truly something special. The combination of freshly baked artisan bread and 5-year-old cheddar was enough to make anyone’s mouth water, but no one was nearly as devoted to the item as the restaurant’s regular, John Kinnear.

Kinnear loved the London, Ontario restaurant's grilled cheese so much that he ordered it every single day, though he wouldn’t always pay for it in cash. The Demases were well known for bartering their food in exchange for odds and ends from local craftspeople and merchants.

“Everyone supported everyone back then,” Irene told the Guardian, saying that the couple would often trade free soup and a sandwich for fresh flowers. Two different kinds of nourishment, you might say.

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