“Nobel Prize for Child Advocates” Announces 2013 Honorees

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (To download a PDF of the press release, click here)

Contact: Marisa Wayne – 212.843.9216 / mailto:[email protected]

World of Children® Award to Recognize Seven Heroes for
Transforming the Lives of the World’s Most Vulnerable Children
NEW YORK – Sept. 24, 2013 – Seven heroes who have dramatically improved the lives of children around the world will be honored in New York City on November 7 by World of Children® Award (, the only global recognition and funding program that recognizes individuals serving vulnerable children worldwide.

Hailed by the media as the “Nobel Prize for Child Advocates,” receiving a World of Children is an annual honor that includes a cash grant of up to $75,000. This year’s selection of remarkable individuals have each innovated life-changing programs that benefit children in countries around the world. Each will be honored with a World of Children at the World of Childrens Ceremony on November 7.

“We are deeply inspired by the remarkable contributions our Honorees have made to changing the trajectory of children’s lives for the better,” said Harry Leibowitz, World of Children Co-Founder and Co-Chair.

For 16 years, World of Children has used a rigorous vetting process to identify the world’s most effective changemakers for children and provide funding for their efforts to improve young lives. The nonprofit’s exhaustive research and vetting of applicants for their Awards has been lauded by some of the world’s leading philanthropic organizations.

“Sustainable, practical giving to real life heroes, that’s how we operate,” said actress Stephanie March, celebrity ambassador for World of Children. “We are working to create a world that no longer needs our services. Until such a time comes, World of Children will continue to elevate those in the field.”

World of Children is led by co-founders Harry Leibowitz and Kay Isaacson-Leibowitz, retired senior executives from Procter & Gamble and Victoria’s Secret, who first started the organization to honor individuals serving children with a Nobel Prize-like award. Since 1998, World of Children has granted more than $5 million in cash grants and program support to 100 Honorees who are the driving force behind programs serving children in more than 140 countries.

Introducing the 2013 World of Children Honorees:

2013 World of Children Health Award: C. Mead Welles
Stamford, Conn.
Co-Founder, A Leg To Stand On

In the late 1990s, C. Mead Welles was sitting outside at a restaurant in Indonesia when three underfed and exhausted boys passed by. Two pulled a rope tied to a garbage can lid and a third boy sat on the lid. His leg was deformed, raw and bleeding; he could not stand on it any longer. His knuckles were in the same condition, indicating that he had been pulling himself around on the lid. Paralyzed with sadness for the boy, Mead vowed to dedicate his life to helping children without limbs. He flew home and started A Leg To Stand On (ALTSO), an organization that provides free prosthetic limbs, orthotic devices, mobility aids, corrective surgery and rehabilitative care to children in the developing world who have lost their limbs in traumatic accidents or suffer from congenital disabilities. Since 2002, ALTSO has transformed the lives of over 9,000 children and currently operates 11 programs in 10 developing countries. Mead will use World of Children funds to support children in need of urgent medical treatment.

2013 World of Children Humanitarian Award: Triveni Acharya
Mumbai, India
Co-Founder and President, Rescue Foundation

Triveni Acharya’s work as a journalist led her to a brothel in India where she met a 10-year-old girl who had been imprisoned, sexually assaulted and stripped of her rights. Determined to save her, Triveni and her husband vowed to take the girl out of the brothel and shelter her in their own home. When they returned, a group of girls were waiting for them, all desperate to escape. Since then, Triveni has fearlessly led the way in rescuing over 4,000 victims of child trafficking. Children rescued are provided with health care, legal aid, counseling, nutrition, and vocational training to begin rebuilding their lives. Currently, Rescue Foundation provides housing to victims of child trafficking in three safe houses in the western states of India.

2013 World of Children Youth Award: Michaela “Chaeli” Mycroft, Age 19
Cape Town, South Africa
Co-Founder, The Chaeli Campaign

Some people see disability as a burden, others as a gift. Born with cerebral palsy, Chaeli Mycroft sees her disability as the latter: a unique opportunity to advocate for other children with disabilities. At the age of 9, Chaeli and her friends raised money to buy her motorized wheelchair. The success of the fundraiser inspired The Chaeli Campaign, a nonprofit that supports the mobility and educational needs of disabled children in South Africa. Since its foundation in 2004, The Chaeli Campaign has helped more than 10,000 disabled children receive equipment, physical therapy and more. Focus on ability and the importance of inclusion are central to each of the 8 programs run by The Chaeli Campaign. Today, Chaeli speaks around the world as an “ability activist,” working to create a global community that accepts and embraces disability. Funds from World of Children will support the expansion of The Chaeli Cottage enrichment center into a full-fledged inclusive preschool, providing early childhood development and education for children with disabilities.

2013 World of Children Youth Award: Sarah Cronk, Age 20
Bettendorf, Iowa
Founder, President and Creative Director, The Sparkle Effect, Inc.

Sarah Cronk grew up watching her older brother, Charlie, struggle to make friends due to his disability. Her brother would often eat alone in the nurse’s office after being turned away from table after table. It wasn’t until a popular swim team captain invited Charlie to sit at his lunch table and encouraged him to join the swim team that his life began to turn around. Sarah was moved to take action when she witnessed Charlie’s confidence soar from this simple act of kindness. She was determined to find a way to include students with disabilities at her high school, who, like Charlie, were marginalized and excluded. In 2008, Sarah created and coached the nation’s first inclusive cheerleading squad. One year later, she established The Sparkle Effect, Inc. Since its inception, Sarah has generated over 100 inclusive cheerleading and dance teams in middle schools, high schools and colleges across the U.S. that directly include over 2,000 students. Sarah will use World of Children funds to provide uniforms for team members and leadership training to potential Sparkle Effect teen leaders, as well as to inspire and generate new inclusive teams.

2013 World of Children Alumni Award: Susie Krabacher
Aspen, Colo.
Co-Founder and President, Mercy & Sharing

World of Children first honored Susie with a Humanitarian Award in 2006 because of her determination to overcome both human and manmade disasters. This year, World of Children will honor Susie with the 2013 Alumni Award in celebration of the significant work she and her organization have accomplished since 2006. For nearly 20 years, Susie has provided care and education to abandoned, orphaned and disabled children in Haiti through her organization, Mercy & Sharing. Mercy & Sharing has never been about creating dependencies. Rather, Susie works to determine the best way to help each child, each widow, each woman, and each student become independent. The earthquake in 2010 wrought devastation in Haiti, yet Mercy & Sharing continued to grow programs and services throughout this difficult period. Now, Susie is poised to ensure that Mercy & Sharing is working in Haiti for at least 20 more years – regardless of the obstacles in her path.

2013 World of Children Advocacy Award: Lauren Bush Lauren
New York, New York
Chief FEEDer and Founder, FEED

This year, World of Children will honor Lauren Bush Lauren with the 2013 Advocacy Award in celebration of the significant work she and her organization has done for hungry children worldwide. Lauren first saw the terrible realities of hunger and poverty while traveling the world as the Honorary Spokesperson for the United Nations World Food Programme as a student in college. These experiences inspired her to combine her two passions: design and making a difference for children in real need, and in 2005 she designed a bag that would allow consumers to give back in a tangible and meaningful way to feed children around the world. The cost of the initial FEED 1 bag is enough to feed one child in school for one year. Two years later, she founded FEED in 2007, with the mission to create good products that help feed the world. Sales benefit the UN World Food Programme, US Fund for UNICEF, and Feeding America. FEED is now a major humanitarian force that has provided over 60 million school meals to children around the world.

2013 World of Children Board of Governors’ Award: Maxine Martens
CEO, Martens & Heads!

Maxine Martens joined World of Children’s Board of Governors in 2008 and has since played a vital role in expanding the organization’s visibility. Maxine’s love affair with fashion, luxury, and beauty brands began when she moved to New York to join Elizabeth Arden, which eventually took her to London in her role as International Marketing Director. During her time overseas she also had the opportunity to live in Rome, Cairo and Paris. After 11 years abroad, Maxine returned to the United States to forge a highly successful career in executive search. In 2004 she established Martens & Heads, a boutique executive search firm. As CEO, Maxine divides her time between the U.S. and Europe working with clients and candidates. Maxine and her family are keen supporters of children’s causes and have long been active in improving the lives of vulnerable children. Among other organizations, she is proud to have been involved with World of Children and the Real Life Children’s Ranch in Okeechobee, Florida. This year, World of Children will honor Maxine Martens with a non-monetary Board of Governors’ Award for her longtime commitment to improving the lives of children.



Often referred to by the media as the Nobel Prize for Child Advocates, World of Children provides funding and recognition to support life-changing work for children. By discovering and elevating only the most effective changemakers for children worldwide, World of Children sets the gold standard in child advocacy.

All World of Children Honorees are dedicated to serving vulnerable children, many even risking their lives to save the life of a child. These extraordinary heroes work on the ground for little or no pay, running proven, sustainable programs with a track record of success.

Every year, World of Children receives hundreds of nominations for their annual Awards. Using rigorous criteria, World of Children selects only a handful of individuals who are making an extraordinary difference in the lives of children. Review panels are comprised of leaders with expertise in child-related issues. Once finalists are chosen, an international investigative agency leads an on-site investigation and independent audit to ensure programs adhere to the highest performance standards.

In 2013, World of Children will present one Health Award, one Humanitarian Award, two Youth Awards, one Alumni Award and one non-monetary Advocacy Award.

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