CRAVE honors six individuals who exemplify what it means to truly be the “Heart of the Event.”
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Smile Network International
As the owner of the Jason Deavalon Salon in Uptown and co-owner of The Wow Bar, a blow dry bar in the 50th and France area of Edina, Jason Deavalon is not only able to make his clients look beautiful, but also feel beautiful. He gives back in the local world of beauty, but also on an international level as a dedicated volunteer with Smile Network International, a Minnesota-based nonprofit humanitarian organization that provides life altering reconstructive surgeries to repair cleft lips and palates of impoverished children and young adults in developing countries.
Since 2007, he has made it his personal mission to help transform the lives of children born with a congenital deformity, sparing them a cleft lip/palate that could impact their self-esteem, social skills, and behavior, and feelings of anger, sadness, fear, and alienation from their peers. Jason has raised more than $200,000 for Smile Network through hosting unique events and dedicating the profits to the organization, and by raising money for surgical missions through completing treks along the Inca Trail in South America, Mount Everest in Asia’s Himalayan Mountain range, Mount Longonot in Africa, and Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. He has single-handedly raised more money for Smile Network through his treks and events than any other individual to date.
“Jason is dedicated to bringing out the best in everyone,” says Kim Valentini with Smile Network International. “He’s an incredibly giving man who goes above and beyond the call of duty to truly make a difference in the world.”
Girl Scouts River Valleys
For 100 years, the Girl Scouts have been helping build girls of courage, confidence, and character. There are 3.2 million Girl Scouts today—2.3 million girl members and 890,000 adult members working primarily as volunteers, providing engaging and worthwhile activities in a supportive environment that respond to the needs of today’s girls.
One of those outstanding volunteers is Mary Younggren, a Girl Scout alumna, business leader, and member of the Women of Distinction Committee (honoring women for being positive role models in the community) and event committee for the Centennial Alumnae Networking Event.
Mary’s professional skills as owner of TempForce, a metropolitan staffing boutique and certified Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE), and her networking skills as president of the Minnesota Recruiting and Staffing Association (MNRSA) and member of The Woman’s Club of Minneapolis proved invaluable to the success of the event. Her advice on reaching out to women’s groups, her knowledge of networking and social events, and her ability to think strategically brought together more than 200 Girl Scout alumnae.
“She’s just an exceptional volunteer,” says Stephanie Klenk of Girl Scouts of Minnesota and Wisconsin River Valleys. “She brings an unparalleled touch of class and grace to everything she does.”
Mary’s involvement with the Girl Scouts has helped recognize extraordinary women in the community and reconnect them with the organization that first encouraged them to reach for the stars and achieve their dreams, and—in turn—inspire the next generation of girls to do the same.
Be the Match Foundation
Lisa Korslund of Edina was working for General Mills in Switzerland in June of 2010 when she was diagnosed with Philadelphia chromosome positive acute lymphoblastic leukemia—a fast-growing cancer of the white blood cells. She was told she needed a bone marrow transplant.
Two days after her diagnosis, she started chemotherapy and a search for a marrow donor was launched. Her siblings weren’t a match, so the search expanded on a global scale.
A few months later, Lisa returned to Minnesota for treatment at the Mayo Clinic, where a donor was found through the Be The Match registry. Be The Match operates the world’s largest listing of potential marrow donors and raises funds to help provide transplants to all patients through the Be The Match Foundation.
In an effort to help others heal, Lisa organized a team for the Be The Match Be The One Run, a 5K run/walk. As the captain, she rallied friends and family to raise $20,000 in 2011. Since then, her team, the MUD Bloods, has raised more than $35,000. Lisa, who is now cancer-free, has inspired more than 135 people to participate in the run.
“Lisa is not only a volunteer for Be The Match, she’s an ambassador,” says Jennifer Sutch with the Be The Match Foundation. “Her desire to give back to others in need of a transplant has helped Be The Match raise over $1 million at the Be The One Run events so that patients can receive the treatment and support they need.”