CHICAGO (November 23, 2020) The Chicago Red Stars announced the three winners of the 2020 #SHEINSPIRESME award. The Chicago Red Stars #SHEINSPIRESME Award is an annual award that is presented to women who exemplify leadership, practice social responsibility, and inspire and uplift their community.
Sarah Lauch, Alexis Hunter, and Makanaka Chikowero were voted the winners for the Adult, Young Adult, and Youth categories respectively.
Lauch founded the Live Like Roo Foundation to help families facing a cancer diagnosis in their pets. Since its inception, the Live Like Roo Foundation has assisted more than 10,000 families nationwide. They send 40+ care packages per week and have provided nearly $1 million in medical grants. Sarah and her organization have touched so many lives not just through those medical grants and care packages provided, but by being a support system and a resource through a sad and scary time.
"I am humbled and honored to be included in an amazing list of humans doing important work," Lauch said. "Thank you to the Red Stars for taking the initiative to recognize women making a difference in our community. I have never seen such an outpouring of love and kindness from the people that voted. I will be splitting my winnings with Sterling and Dinai, who were nominated in my category. They are just as deserving as I am. Thank you to our board, staff, and everyone that supports the Live Like Roo Foundation. It means so much to me and the future of our Foundation."
Hunter is a senior from Flossmoor, IL majoring in Secondary Language Arts and minoring in English at the University of Missouri-Columbia. She has been an active participant in the service organization known as Mizzou Alternative Breaks and has served as the President of National Alliance of Black School Educators for the past two years.
Last fall, Hunter became the first undergraduate to present at Harvard's Practicing Hope Summit Conference where she shared research on why teaching memes can help disrupt the literary canon in K-12 settings. She also presented at the Big XII Conference on Black Student Government and was chosen for TEDxMU to give a talk on how and why being anti-racist educators is the only way to teach going forward.
She is currently in the process of applying to grad school with the hopes of starting a Ph.D. program in Justice and Equity in education in Fall 2021.
"It is an absolute honor to have been nominated for this award among such incredible women," Hunter said. "I am beyond grateful to be a recipient of the #SHEINSPIRESME award. I plan on using the scholarship money for my Ph.D. program in Justice Education that I hope to start in Fall 2021."
Chikowero moved from Zimbabwe to Wisconsin with her family when she was 2. She founded a non-profit called MTC Educate A Girl Inc., which provides mostly orphaned girls in rural Zimbabwe with the opportunity to continue their education. They are presented with tuition, uniforms, supplies, sanitary products, and more. MTC Educate A Girl Inc. includes a community-based girls and women soccer club called MTC Sirens FC.
Chikowero is also the founding member of Rozaria Girls Club USA a club that fosters the spirit of volunteerism and feminism with young adolescents living in Madison. The club routinely fundraises and donates stationery and sports kits to their sister clubs in Murewa, Zimbabwe.
"I am greatly honored to win the 2020 #SHEINSPRESME Award in the youth category and I am so thankful to everyone who believes in my work and voted for me," Chikowero said. "This is not just a win for me but for all the girls that I am supporting through my nonprofit. I hope all the girls I lead feel inspired to be game-changers for a more equal and just world. MTC girls, this is for you. Remember the future is female, the future is young, and the future is bright."
All three winners will each receive a #SHEINSPIRESME commemorative plaque, 2021 season tickets, and Red Stars gear. In addition, Hunter and Chikowero will each receive a $500 scholarship, while Lauch will receive a $1,000 scholarship. The scholarships are funded directly from the newly-formed CRS Cares Foundation.