A: She held her hankie during a video clip featuring Childhelp, an organization created by Sara O’Meara and Yvonne Fedderson who were getting joint honors this year from Clarins — The Most Dynamic Woman Award. The clip showed formerly abused children who were saved by Childhelp, and as we watched these children trying to work their way back into normalcy, just about all of us were moved, and a bit weepy.
The Clarins Most Dynamic Woman Award is given each year to women that have devoted themselves to bettering the lives of children (e.g. child abuse, illnesses and disabilities). CEO and Co-Founder Sara O’Meara and President and Co-Founder Yvonne Fedderson started Childhelp® in 1959 to help orphans of mixed heritage born and abandoned during the Second World War. Later on, under the urging of First Lady Nancy Reagan, the pair began focusing on child abuse, establishing Childhelp. The organization focuses on advocacy, prevention, treatment and community outreach for victims of child abuse and neglect, as well as at-risk children. The Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline (1-800-4-A-CHILD) operates 24/7 and gets called from through the United States, Canada, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Guam. Childhelp also has residential treatment services; children’s advocacy centers; therapeutic foster care; group homes and child abuse prevention, education and training. A “National Day of Hope” is held each April during National Child Abuse Prevention Month, to focus awareness and support to fight child abuse.
The Clarins Most Dynamic Woman Award is not just an honor, with a lovely trophy, it comes with a grant of of $50000 (the past honorees also received a small grant to continue their good works), and the promise from Clarins that they will donate 100% of the profits from Clarins online sales of some of the company’s most popular products, to the current honoree’s cause.
This year it’s sales of the popular Clarins Sun Protection products that consumers purchase online during the months of June, July and August.
The ceremony was held on the Apartment Terrace on the 24th floor of the Hudson Hotel. There was a light breeze and it was lovely outside, with a view of the Hudson River and all the way downtown. Before the official ceremony began, I asked Kathy Lee if she’d mind posing with Mr. Christian Courtin–Clarins, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the Clarins Group. Both gamely complied. As I walked away I heard Mr. Courtin–Clarins say to Kathy Lee how honored he was to spend time with her. I’m paraphrasing a bit, but she wryly quipped that she was honored that anyone would want to spend time with a middle aged, menopausal woman! Of course, she was joking. She looked absolutely gorgeous (and who wouldn’t want to spend time with Kathy Lee Gifford?)! I met Kathy Lee in person years ago at another charity function. People were rushing up to her table and grabbing at her arms. I felt so bad because they wouldn’t even barely let her get a drink of water. It’s true that stars tend to know how to handle being “mauled,” but I remember very clearly how calm and gracious and friendly she was to everyone who approached her.
Mr. Courtin–Clarins dabbed at his eyes as he described how on a visit he made to one of Childhelp’s residential centers for abused children, a young boy was scared of him simply because he was an adult. His sincerity and honesty was powerful, and again, we all felt ourselves in the moment! Then he introduced Sara O’Meara and Yvonne Fedderson, and they each made a little speech. “It’s because of the generosity and philanthropy of companies like Clarins that we are able to continue to grow our efforts to combat and treat child abuse and provide love and hope to many more children” said Sara. “It is an honor to receive this from a company that not only helps to make women beautiful on the outside, but on the inside as well, and one that supports children in need. The children we serve will benefit greatly from this donation,” said Yvonne. Past honorees were attending and asked up to the front of the room, given bouquets of flowers, and also a small grant to continue their good works again this year. Andrea Jaeger, former pro tennis player and a hero to children with cancer, was last year’s honoree, and she was obviously excited and surprised by the generous grant.