As a woman-owned business, we wanted to spread sunshine to the hardworking ladies out there during COVID-19. We asked our community to nominate amazing women they know & tell us why they are so inspiring. We were in awe of all of the nominations we received and thought that each woman deserved to be spotlighted!
We were so excited to have so many nominations about women who are giving back to their communities. The greatness of community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members. These amazing community heroes are fueled by passion and purpose, and are recognized by the self-assured women who nominated them with genuine admiration for their contributions.
Carolynn K. nominated by Karen F.
She is an accounting/business manager at an assisted living home in Denver. Working from home now, but has to go out to the building to pick up checks and misc mail. Under normal circumstances, the residents visit her office and she treats them like they are all our mothers/fathers. Helps them through billing issues — or just brighten their day with a kind word. Always has great concern for all of them. She also has a daughter & 3 granddaughter’s & son in Denver whom she assists and another son and daughter-in-law in California with 2 more grandchildren.
She has MS and during this time uses protection when going out of doors. She keeps tabs on her Denver children by phone or Skype. She makes sure they are home quarantining. She’s also made cloth masks for them.
She hasn’t had it easy herself but is still always there to help. She keeps us/her 3 sisters up to date and we all exchange ideas and concerns. She’s an inspiration because she’s there to “get it done” and does it with joy and energy.
Crystal L. nominated by Elizabeth S.
I would like to nominate Crystal L. for the Spread Sunshine Award. We both work for the Kimi Nichols Center in New Hampshire. This is a non-profit organization that supports developmentally disabled adults both residential and out in the community. Responsibility is around the clock. Crystal has been with us for over 15 years. Currently, she is a residential director, overseeing multiple homes. These homes also have community support programs. Unfortunately, with this crisis, staffing has been a challenge. Crystal is always there supporting people. She has the energy of the ever-ready bunny! Crystal ensures that the people she is responsible for have the proper staff support, equipment, and the knowledge to facilitate quality support for our individuals. She provides hands-on care for our individuals daily. Her position is demanding and stressful. Crystal is always a phone call away for her staff!
In addition to her responsibilities at work, Crystal now has her two sons at home, as do countless other women. She is helping them with the responsibilities of on-line schooling, dealing with their anxieties, all the while being upbeat and maintaining her sense of humor. She continues to maintain the responsibilities of wife and home-maker while juggling a demanding career schedule! I don’t know how she keeps it up!
Last but not least, Crystal embodies the definition of friendship. She encourages other women and is steadfast with her emotional support and cheering on her friends. Crystal truly sees the glass as ¾ full, not just ½ full! I don’t think she knows the meaning of the word “no”.
Crystal creates a better world each and every day. She is an inspiration and I admire her immensely.
Dana C. nominated by Amy Y.
I nominate my BFF, Dana C. She’s the most giving person I know. Always there for her family, friends, students, and community. She’d be the first one to give you the shirt off her back. She’s an elementary school guidance counselor, but goes above and beyond....collecting clothes, toys and house items for her families. It’s not uncommon to hear her talking to one of her parents after school. She has the biggest heart. Always makes me laugh and puts a smile on my face. Did I mention she’s my beach buddy, too?
Dana P. nominated by Debbie L.
I am thankful for my daughter, Dana P. She is a special needs teacher in our community. She teaches K - 1 students who have severe special needs. This year has been hard due to the number of students in her class and now trying to find materials needed to teach them online during the epidemic. However, she loves her students and has handled this year with grace. She is in constant touch with her students’ families checking on their progress and asking about their needs.
She has had her eye on a flora unisuit but has not had the extra funds to purchase it. We buy Cabana Life for our families because of the wonderful patterns, great quality, and the protection it offers from the sun. We live on the Gulf coast where we are constantly in the water and need sun protection!
Gina S. nominated by Heather L.
One of my dearest friends Gina Kell S. is my constant inspiration. I hope I can truly describe with my words how amazing a person she is.
Gina is a wife, mother of 5, daughter, sister, friend and the founder of New Day Foundation for Families. New Day is a nonprofit that benefits families struggling with the financial toxicity of cancer. The story of how Gina got to where she is today is nothing short of incredible. Gina lost her first husband to cancer when he was only 37.
Gina and a group of friends started a nonprofit called New Day. Its’ goal was to aid families dealing with the financial toxicity of cancer. That was almost 13 years ago. In that time Gina has grown the nonprofit from helping a few families to helping over 200 families annually in Michigan. The success of New Day is because of Gina’s vision to help as many deserving families as possible. Gina has built a nonprofit that works with 49 hospitals in Michigan. They work with 90 social workers. Have written at least grants. And to date have given away $ with an average gift of $3000 per family.
Then Gina's son, who at the time was 15, was diagnosed with a rare brain cancer and was given 18 months to live. Gina did a lot of praying and came out ready to fight cancer yet again. She started talking to doctors and hospitals across the country. She worked with doctors to come up with a new protocol for treating her son’s cancer. It is now more than 4 years since his original diagnosis. Her son was in his first year of college when the pandemic struck. He is back home with 2 of his siblings. He would not be where he is today without his mom’s tenacity in finding the right cancer treatment for him. Gina inspires me every day in so many ways. Her deep faith and love for her family are obvious in everything she does. Her dedication to her nonprofit unwavering. She accomplishes all of this with so much humor. No one makes me laugh as much as Gina. She is real and raw. On top of being a wife, mother, daughter, sister, and founder of a nonprofit, Gina is an incredible friend. She is a wise friend that is supportive and honest.
I hope I have given you an accurate description of my dear friend Gina. She continues to work from home during the pandemic as do each of the talented women on her New Day Team.
Heather C. nominated by Daniel S.
I would like to nominate Heather C. Heather is a small business owner and pharmacist in our small town of Flemingsburg, Kentucky. She is also the local school board chairperson, a mother, wife, and friend to many. Heather can be found counseling patients, ensuring that they have their medication safe and consistently regardless of their situation. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was common to find her out in the community in many capacities besides her day job. Whether filling prescriptions, advocating for better education, supporting employees, or helping her children with their homework; Heather’s compassion, generosity and caring demeanor are indeed sunshine to all that know her!
Krystle S. nominated by Anonymous
She is still making deliveries for her boss!
Her Two Sons nominated by Deirdre H.
I am grateful for my 2 sons. One is an RN at Massachusetts General Hospital and the other a Boston Police Officer, they are both on the frontline and they are my true heroes. 🙏❤️
Laura W. nominated by Lisa O.
I would like to nominate my sister, Laura W, who is a wife, mom and elementary school teacher in NJ. As you have heard, they have had to make many adjustments to teach from home for this virus. She is a physical education & health teacher & is receiving a lot of accolades about what she is doing with the children from their parents - she is so dedicated & creative! On top of that, she is the caregiver to our Aunt who is suffering from dementia. And, if that weren't enough, she is a great daughter to our parents shopping for them during this time. Finally, she is a wonderful sister/friend - we live 1000 miles apart but I have never felt it as she is always there! Laura is so giving of her time & her love for everyone. I can only scratch at the surface of how inspiring she is to so many people, especially the children who look up to her for hope & positivity at a time like we are currently experiencing.
Lindsey V. nominated by Lori H.
Lindsey V not only raises 2 boys on a 200+ acre farm with cattle and chickens but currently homeschools them while her husband risks his life every day protecting the citizens of their hometown. In her free time when she isn't farming, teaching school or volunteering at church she volunteers as a Relay for Life organizer to ensure the event happens each year in their hometown. A hard-working lady and a fine example of what it takes to be dedicated to her family.
Lisa O. nominated by Joan A.
I would like to nominate Lisa O. She is a volunteer extraordinaire with Catholic Charities Food Pantry in Jacksonville, Florida with many, many years of service. She freely gives of her time, talent and treasure on a daily basis. Lisa works with various providers (Feeding Northeast Florida, Farm Share, Waste Not Want Not, etc) to assure the clients of Catholic Charities receive nourishing food for their families. She orders the food, picks up, puts away, bags and distributes the groceries with the help of other volunteers. She has kept the food distribution running smoothly during this pandemic as it is needed now more than ever. It would be impossible to calculate the number of hours Lisa selflessly gives to the food pantry. She exemplifies service above self and takes to heart “whatsoever you do for the least of my people, that you do unto me.
Maggie V. nominated by Monica M.
My friend Maggie V. and I have been providing meals and baked goods to front line workers in our community (at 5 local hospitals) (Grosse Pointe, Michigan). I started a fundraiser to provide the meals, but my friend Maggie is a baker and jumped right in to help with bringing yummy treats to our first responders. We have also solicited donations of toiletry items for our front line workers to use when they are working mandatory overtime at the hospital.
Maggie deals with her own health problems and yet still is helping others on the front lines!!! I would love her to be recognized for her efforts!
Margaret R. nominated by Katie R.
I would like to nominate my mother, Margaret R., an RN Case Manager on the Critical Care Unit at the local hospital. During this time, she is among several amazing workers at hospitals across the country trying to combat this virus. She has been an inspiration throughout my childhood and young adult life. Always putting my brother and me first, but also finding time to do things for the community when she can. During this difficult time, she continues to try and hold down the household, while limiting contact with everyone in it. This has been quite a challenge and everyone in my house has realized how much she really does for all of us.
Marissa K. nominated by Anne C.
I nominate Dr. Marissa K. She is 24 years old. She already has her Ph.D. and is the most gifted and creative and loving special education teacher that I have ever seen. She teaches Inner City autistic children and has for at least four years now and she does it better than I have ever seen any teacher do it in my life. She deserves this award better than anyone I know. And now she has to teach her ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) children virtually which is a feat like no other. It is tough enough to keep autistic kids’ in the classroom but to keep their attention virtually is nearly impossible... this was my attempt for a second while I was on virtually to get their attention.
As you can see the kids are looking all over the screen, no one is even paying attention to the monitor but when she does it, she masters this task flawlessly with every child’s attention and all looking at the camera and ready to learn. She manages to teach every subject perfectly in this new COVID world. The “Daily Affirmation” you see below is just one of the daily rituals she does with her children every day. What a fantastic way to teach children and make them realize how important they are and let them realize their amazing potential. 😀❤️😀
Another daily ritual Dr. Kase does with the children is having the students go around the morning circle and tell each other how their “heart feels” whether it’s happy, excited, anxious, sad, surprised, etc. and why. They also, before the days of social distancing, greeted each other and us with a handshake, a high five, a hug or words which in the world of autism is a giant feat! For otherwise slightly verbal or nonverbal autistic children to do this in this very exceptional way is beyond amazing.
Dr. Kase is an exceptional teacher, mentor and positive loving force in these children’s lives that could otherwise have very tough days. All this praise is not even covering all the heroic measures she goes to in order to improve their reading, writing, math, and social skills on the daily. The results of her efforts are astounding and the kids adore her. This was the board she made for her new COVID-19 Classroom reality, this is her home zoom classroom bulletin board. The kids love her in every setting and how could they possibly not?
She really is one in a million and making such a difference in the lives of these kids and she is so way more mature and focused than anyone I’ve seen at 24 years. I’m just so very proud to know her and be a little part of her world! 😀😀
Nancy G. nominated by David G.
I would like to nominate my wife, Nancy G. She is the Chairperson of a Breast Cancer Fundraiser in our area. She works tirelessly for this event, from seeking donations to consulting with the patients. She literally gives her heart and soul to these events.
While doing this she still finds time to give love and devotion to her family.
I know that she has a couple of Cabana Life dresses. I also know that if she wins this gift card, she will not keep it for herself, she will insist it goes to the fundraiser auction.
Nichole B. nominated by Rose A.
I would be honored to nominate the Principal of our school, Nichole B.
I will start with a little background about our school, Legend Springs Elementary in Glendale, AZ. Mrs. Basl (pronounced like the spice) was our Principal two years ago. She was loved by the staff, parents, and students. At the end of the year, much to our dismay, she told us she had taken another job where she would be able to be at home with her young kids and work from there. It was a very sad time for everyone.
Move forward to last year. We got a new Principal and let's just say, things didn't work out. Numerous teachers and parents reached out, pleading with Mrs. Basl to come back and she did! So, although the morale at our school has been wonderful this year, Mrs. Basl has not had it easy.
She has had to "fix" problems from the year before, along with new challenges she has had to deal with since this school year began. She has remained upbeat, kind and always goes the extra mile for everyone....especially students.
Then COVID-19 came along. Our District, like others, was forced into the unknown. Now we know we will not be returning to campus and school will be taught online. In fact, our program starts tomorrow. Through all of this, Mrs. Basl has shown true leadership. Not only does she care for her own family, but she also cares for our staff and our students. She has been calm during this storm, continuously providing updates and continuously motivating our teachers. She has been supportive, optimistic (yet realistic) and determined to help every step of the way. She is the positive light our school needs and loves. Her smile is contagious and her heart is true. If anyone deserves a little recognition, she sure does! Although I could give you a huge list of teachers who fall into this same category, I know every one of them would agree that Mrs. Basl is our rock!
Patricia S. nominated by Patti P.
Patricia S. is the CEO of the non-profit organization called "The Bernie House." The Bernie House, in Montgomery County, Maryland and the sister house that has just been purchased in Anne Arundel County, Maryland support a single-family, non-offending parent and children escaping an abusive relationship. Patricia is an amazing woman who has given hope and success to 9 families over the past 18 years. She is involved in every aspect of the family’s transition from homelessness to an amazing home that has been prepared for the family in need. TBH is unique since one family at a time receives this amazing opportunity.
Patricia's website: https://www.theberniehouse.org will provide you with more information.
I met Patti when I moved to Annapolis three and a half years ago from New Jersey. As one of my sisters in the Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians, an organization of Irish women who reach out to our local community in support, I quickly realized that Patti and her charity were where I needed to spend my volunteering times. I have worked with Patti on many of the charity events these last almost 4 years, including our Inaugural Mardi Gras event that took place on February 22, 2020. Fortunately, we were able to have the event before the COVID Virus became an issue. We made over $18,000 for the two homes.
Patti is so selfless in the time and energy that she gives to this charity named after her dad who was a missionary and with whom Patti spent many hours within Africa. She is a stylish lady, but I often think she puts herself on the back burner as she continues to work for those escaping domestic abuse.
Our local magazine, What's Up Annapolis, did a piece about my involvement with The Bernie House (Patti Petti What's Up Annapolis Google Search) which highlights her ability to reach out and have others, like myself, to become so involved with her cause.
Thank you so much for reading this and for all you are doing to support women.
Rebecca B. nominated by Jennifer L.
I nominate Rebecca B. She is my son’s preschool teacher at Soapstone Preschool in Raleigh, NC. She is working so hard to keep her students engaged. She is sending remote learning lessons to my son’s transitional kindergarten class every day and posts a video of herself reading or saying a morning hello each day. We do Zoom calls every week and she even dropped off at each student’s house seeds and soil so each kid could plant wildflowers. She is caring, hard-working, patient, fun, and genuine. She is raising two young children as well and doing an amazing job. She is a wonderful wife, mother, friend, and teacher.
Susan nominated by Nancy S.
In many ways women routinely multi-task as our brains seem to be hard-wired to compartmentalize. Perhaps this helps during these challenging times, perhaps not. In any event, right now I see my friends, ranging 67-77 years of age, extending themselves above and beyond each day. Our bonds of trust in unity in our tiny state of RI for the past 40 years empower us. We are a group of teachers, principals, nurse practitioners, real estate brokers, higher education administrators, league of women voter advocates, breastfeeding consultants, and spatial designers. The one thing we have in common is an empowering love for mankind.
It is with great honor that I nominate Susan, a woman of incredible strength and selflessness. At age 70, she is truly the sweetest woman in our group and an amazing candidate who spreads sunshine each day as a Volunteer Extraordinaire. Although Susan herself just experienced a truly hellish year filled with 2 near-fatal cardiac episodes, she faithfully continues her volunteer commitment to Tap In, our local organization supporting families in need. Susan’s heart stopped beating twice and both times she was brought back to life to unselfishly go on serving the needs of others. She truly exemplifies a commitment that “we’ll get through this together."
Taylor W. nominated by Devon A.
I nominate Taylor W who is an amazing teacher that is tirelessly working throughout this Coronavirus shutdown to provide virtual learning and virtual interaction for her students. She is also an incredible mother of a 2-year-old who she is home with during the shutdown.
Tiwanna nominated by Cassandra C.
I want to nominate my sister, Tiwanna. She is simply amazing. While she was out of work she started
her own company to help nonprofits with grant writing. She has always worked in the non-profit sector
because she wants to connect with people. She is staying home with my mother and aunt, who she cared
for every day. She makes meals and helps keep them active. She has become my virtual workout partner, we are helping to keep each other sane and healthy. She is also the best aunt to my 2 children!
Shari P. nominated by Brett S.
My nomination is for a wonderful woman named Shari P. She is a mother of two boys, grandmother of two, and a pastor's wife! During this time through the worldwide health pandemic, she has stood strong guiding our church at her husband’s side and providing support to so many! She is not only a pastors wife but she is a licensed pastoral counselor as well and heads up our Celebrate Recovery group. She has started her weekly Bible studies online with her ladies group. AND she has now taken on the role of helping provide schooling for her grandchildren from home. She constantly gives herself and helps in any situation without putting herself first or accepting something in return. Through all of this, Ms. Shari remains positive and upbeat, encouraging us all. If anyone deserves a little ray of sunshine she surely does because she has no idea how much she means to us all!
To read more inspiring nominations about amazing women in our communities, click the links below to head to the blog post: