Have you heard of the World of Children Award? This very prestigious award honors individuals who in some way are working to improve the lives of vulnerable children throughout the world. The World of Children Award is the only global recognition and funding non-profit that recognizes this type of effort, and it has been doing so for 14 years.
This award, which has been acclaimed the “Nobel Prize for children” by the media, is an annual event which rewards honorees with a cash grant of as much as $50,000 to be used for the recipients’ programs. Leading philanthropic organizations have hailed this organization for its intensive research and meticulous selection of leaders of health and humanitarian projects across the world.
The co-founders of the World of Children Award, Harry Leibowitz and Kay Isaacson-Leibowitz, retired senior executives from Procter & Gamble and Victoria’s Secret, have helped award more than $4.3 million in grants and program support to 90 honorees since 1998. The recipients of these cash grants and support have been responsible for programs which serve children in more than 100 countries.
After a very rigorous selection process which seeks to identify child advocates who have been most effective in their endeavors, seven outstanding individuals have earned this prestigious award for 2011 due to their work to dramatically transform the lives of children worldwide. These new recipients of the World of Children Awards will be honored on November 2 in New York City.
Of these seven honorees, Harry Leibowitz said, “We are humbled by the efforts undertaken by these amazing people and it is our great pleasure to recognize and reward their work on behalf of the world’s vulnerable children.”
And Stephanie March, actress and World of Children Award’s Celebrity Ambassador, said, “World of Children honorees are compelling reminders that one person has tremendous power to positively impact society. These fine honorees have committed their entire lives to helping the world’s most vulnerable children through ingenious and effective solutions that cannot and should not be ignored.”
Although there are seven honorees, I wish to draw your attention to one. Meet Tatiana Grossman, a 16-year old from Palto Alto, California. Tatiana told Alina Cho from CNN, that she has always been an avid reader, and after learning at the age of 12, that 75 percent of children in some African countries had no access to books and, therefore, were unable to read, decided to take matters into her own hands.
She told Cho that she set up a table outside the children’s library in her community where she conducted a solo book drive. Her goal? To get enough books to send to these children so they could learn to read. Ten days later, she had 3,500 books which were sent to Africa to help the people there set up three libraries.
Over time, working with the African Library Project and many generous donors, Tatiana has collected thousands of books which have been used to establish libraries which serve 115 schools and villages. Through her work, she has influenced African government literacy policy, and Tatiana went on to found her own nonprofit organization called Spread the Words. According to the website, the primary focus of Spread the Words is to inspire other children to also spread the words and to work with adults “to find a low-cost way to bring digital textbooks into underfunded classrooms overseas.”
To accomplish this goal, Tatiana is currently consulting with Silicon Valley engineers and digital content providers in order to make the latest in digital classroom technology available to African classrooms and to provide free digital teaching materials.
I encourage you to visit the Spread the Words website to learn more about all that this amazing girl has accomplished at such a young age. Who knows, you may decide to join her in these exciting endeavors!
Alina Cho ended her interview with Tatiana with some surprising news. Tatiana thought she was going to be receiving a cash grant from the World of Children Award for $25,000 to continue her programs, but Cho told her that due to the generosity of both donors and the board, she would actually be receiving $30,000!
Cho asked her what she planned to do with the money, and an amazed Tatiana replied, “I was intending to spend it on my digital projector initiative which, as I said before was, I’m going to load material onto it and send it to classrooms all over Africa, and now I can afford many more. Right now, I just have money for one, and with this money I can use around fifty actually. It’s wonderful!”
And so are you, Tatiana. So are you.