As we’ve learned time and again, there is more to being an extraordinary woman than having it all. The star-studded friends, the killer bikini body, the unlimited shopping sprees and private island excursions, the personal stylists, hairdressers, and manicurists, the pretty face; they are all materialistic visions of what we want our futures to encompass. I’ll be the first to admit that having these luxuries at my beck and call would be a radical and gladly welcomed addition to my life. Goodbye student loans and rent payments, let me introduce you to my six-figure savings account. No more waiting in line for my favorite Starbucks drink, I have an assistant who can handle such trivialities. Yes, that’s always going to be a wonderful fantasy. Rich, successful, elite, and powerful; but isn’t there more to life than that? Don’t we want to be able to stand behind visions that are meaningful? If we came into the money that we’ve only ever daydreamed about, wouldn’t we want a portion of it put toward a greater good, free of selfish intentions and egocentric ideals?

In a perfect world, I wouldn’t even have to pose that question. Alas, the world is far from perfect; but there are those individuals in the Hollywood limelight who give me hope that my thoughts are not kept in vain. Meet the fabulous female who inspired this week’s “I Am Woman” segment: Sophia Bush. When she isn’t busy channeling her inner Brooke Davis (One Tree Hill, I miss you more than you’ll ever know) and rocking the runway with her classic, chic ensembles, she spends most of her time traveling around the world and contributing time, energy, and money into multiple philanthropic projects. That’s right, the woman behind “B. Davis” is an avid humanitarian, too (talk about multitasking). Through Crowdrise, an online fundraising initiative for personal, local, and global charities, Sophia Bush has personally helped raise money and awareness for benevolent causes near and dear to her heart. Here are just a few:

Sweat for Change combines the benefits of health and physical fitness with a promise to restore music in public schools. When volunteers sign up for a 30-day challenge (aka, incorporating activities such as yoga, hiking, and spin into their daily routines) and set out to raise funds in the process, Little Kids Rock INC, the non-profit organization responsible for the program, can finally fulfill its mission statement: teaching kids the importance of music, one school at a time.
Pencils of Promise is a US-based organization that works with the Ministry of Education, local government, and area NGOs to target communities with poor educational systems. By combining efforts with existing institutions in neighboring areas, they are able to grasp a full understanding of each school’s status, progress, and needs. Every child deserves the chance to learn; Pencils of Promise gives them that chance.
End the Violence Against Women stands up for beaten, battered, and broken women who have been subjected to mistreatment and violence at the hands of their abusers. With statistics showing that “at least 1 out of every 3 women worldwide are beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in her lifetime,” this organization, in partnership with Amnesty International, “works to achieve equal economic, social, cultural, political, and civil rights for women.”
Global Green Gulf Relief provides financial backing and vital resources in the wake of natural disasters. Following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010, GGGR not only took the initiative to send ground relief to the affected areas, but it has continued to advocate for a clean energy future through ongoing mediums and projects.
National Wildlife Human Society is a global non-profit wildlife conservation organization working toward the preservation and protection of threatened and endangered species by providing programs and places for them to inhabit safely. NWHS is also known for combining efforts and resources with other wildlife conversation organizations that have a common interest in mind: save the animals who cannot save themselves.

Like I said before, this is just a small taste of the projects and initiatives that Sophia Bush has under her philanthropic belt. And the best part about it is that she contributes her time to each of these organizations. She doesn’t throw a wad of $1,000 bills at them and call herself a humanitarian. She is there, on-site, in various cities and countries, helping to make the world a better place for people. In 2011, she ran the San Francisco Marathon to raise money for The Nature Conservancy. On her 30th birthday, she asked fans to help her raise $30,000 to build a new school in Guatemala. When asked about it, she responded with the following: “I just got back from an impact trip in Guatemala, with Pencils of Promise — one of the causes that’s closest to my heart. We are doing a campaign. I decided that I wanted my 30th birthday to mean something more than just the passing of a decade. I think it’s lovely to put your 20′s to bed and hit your stride and really get into the next phase of life. I wanted to mark the milestone with something I could look back on and tell my kids about one day.” That in itself is something to be admired and recognized. And to the satisfaction of her fans, few of her efforts go unnoticed. In 2012, she was the proud recipient of the Bing Philanthropy Award at the 14th Annual Young Hollywood Awards for raising awareness of social and ecological issues. From the looks of her Twitter and Instagram accounts, she continues to use social media as a way to keep her followers informed on important issues as they develop; as well as promote the spread of positive changes.

So the next time you stop to consider where all the kindhearted celebrities have drifted off to (besides prison and rehab), remind yourself that they’re still out there. Few in number, perhaps, but they do exist. They make decisions that positively impact the world and those around them. They dedicate time and energy toward non-profit organizations instead of non-returnable stilettos. And sometimes, they even come in the form of a young Hollywood celebrity who happens to have her head on straight. “I have always, always, always had a soft spot in my heart for children. As a kid, any child that was smaller than me was at serious risk of being picked up, cuddled, and cared for all day long if I was around. I’ve been a camp counselor, an improv leader, and a wicked story teller for kids. Those are some of my best memories. There is nothing cooler than seeing a child’s eyes light up because they are happy. Or because they finally feel better. Even if it’s just for a moment.”

Spoken like a lady with a hell of a heart.


20-something creative writer turned corporate, armed with big ideas and even bigger dreams. Avid reader, lover of all things musical, incessant blogger. Sucker for movie quotes, feature writing, and a good book. To inspire and be inspired.

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