LWB Community Blog

Amy Eldridge – 3rd Annual Reader’s Choice Smart Cookie Award Winner

Surreal is the word that we have been using all week….there is no other word to describe the events on Monday.

The day started with us getting picked up for the luncheon, where Amy spoke to a packed house. The event was sponsored by Women and Co, a group sponsored by Citi created to address the unique needs of women as they seek more command over their personal finances.

That morning, Amy asked me how many people she thought she would be speaking to….she thought about 35, I said I thought more like 75…imagine our surprise when we arrived and the room was packed with tables…more than 200 people. The lunch was so elegant, but the main attraction was LWB. They showed the LWB/Amy video that Cookie had created and then Amy spoke from the heart about the children that LWB helps. There wasn’t a dry eye in the room…the children’s stories touched so many. Afterwards, we met so many wonderful people. They came up to us to ask us more, how they could help, and to thank Amy for her inspiration. There were so many people who stopped to talk, that we were late leaving.

Next it was off to the Lincoln Center, where we had a walk-though for the evening.
We met our handler, Elaine, a very sweet woman whom we all loved, saw where we were to sit, and Amy was shown where she would walk the red carpet, where she would speak, and then go for photos afterwards. The room was so elegant, with huge windows that overlooked Central Park. Surreal……

After that, we had a little down time, where Amy worked on her speech and had her hair and make-up done. The time flew and then we were off again.

When we arrived to the Lincoln Center, there were so many people and media, beyond what anyone of us had ever seen. There was a red carpet area where the media had set up to shoot photos and video of all of the stars and award winners. We met Elaine, and waited with her until it was Amy’s turn.

Amy did a great job posing for her photos, answering a few questions, and then had a photo op with Pilar Guzman, Editor-and-Chief of Cookie magazine.

We mingled with many of the people we had met earlier in the day…how great it was to see some familiar faces. So many were asking us what they could do to help. We also heard from Linda Duscano, COO of Women and Co., that their phones had been ringing off the hook from people that were so touched at the luncheon. What wonderful news that so many people were touched by the children.

Soon it was time to be seated for dinner and listen to the works of so many other wonderful charities. Among the speakers and presenters were Deborah Roberts, emcee of the evening, Leslie Stahl, Judy Woodruff, Debra Messing, Uma Thurman, and, because Salma Hayek had a family emergency, UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman, spoke on her behalf. In all, seven wonderful charities had a platform to spread their message. Last up, was Amy, and she did LWB so proud. Lisa Caputo, Executive Vice President, Global Marketing and Corporate Affairs for Citigroup, and Pilar Guzman presented Amy with the award and the check for $35,000. Amy thanked them all and then spoke passionately about the children. Again there were so many in the audience that were in tears.

She ended her speech with this:

“It would be my hope that everyone here in this audience would realize that if this mom from Oklahoma can make a difference, then anyone can. All around the world, there are children just waiting for someone to believe in them, whether it is here in our neighborhoods or halfway around the world. And so I accept this honor tonight on behalf of all the children around the world who are waiting, and I renew my promise to never stop working to make sure their stories are told.”

Karen Maunu is the Associate Executive Director for Love Without Boundaries. She lives in MN with her husband LeRoy and five children, Ryan, Tyler, Trevor, Anna (Guangdong province) and Ellie (Jilin province).

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