Cool Girls with Tag: non-profit

Karen Humphrey Sullins

Name: Karen Humphrey Sullins
Age: 47
Location: Montgomery, Alabama
Occupation: Owner- Helping Hands Professional Counseling & Consulting, LLC and Executive Director- Hearts Of Hope, Inc a 501(c)3 company

Karen Sullins is working hard to make a difference. This counselor has turned her compassion into action, founding Hearts of Hope after serving children and families who struggled with crime and poverty and realizing that their needs were simply not being met.

“Our purpose in communities is to offer support, provide education, and empowering youth to encourage better choices and resiliency, improving relationships, building character, and improving overall mental health and wellness by infusing hope and a sense of self safety alongside leadership skills,” Karen explains.

The path toward becoming a therapist began at the age of 11, when her parents summoned her for a family meeting where they discussed becoming foster parents.

“We were a middle class family with the median 3 bedroom, 2 bath home,” Karen explains. “One of our first long-term placements was a baby boy named Jonathan who has been shaken by his mom to the point of brain damage, and we were unclear how debilitating until he became 3-4 years old. Doctors at the best hospitals spoke of him having a life expectancy of age 5; they were wrong! Completely handicapped, he remained in a wheelchair his entire 21 years, never spoke, and never got up; however he touched everyone he came in contact with with his infectious laughter. Even surgeons were amazed at this child’s desire to live.”

After Jonathan, Karen and her family fostered more than 55 sexually abused girls, taking them into their home and sharing their lives and resources with them.

“I often look back at the simple letter I wrote at age 23 nominating my parents for “Parents of the Year” for their selfless serving and giving to children who otherwise would not have had normalcy,” she reflects.

Beyond her organization and counseling efforts, Karen has also been given the opportunity to speak to legislators about school safety, following her involvement with Sandy Hook Promise.

“I stumbled across Sandy Hook Promise following a training on Active Shooter-School Safety out of state. I signed up to be a Promise Leader in my small part of the world, and to share prevention programs, and speak to people about the violence occurring in our towns and communities; particularly in the school systems,” Karen says.

By working with the Sandy Hook Promise, Karen has helped to promote suicide prevention, support the “know the signs” program, and Say Something, which is an app that allows anonymous reporting of threats to the authorities.

After receiving an email from Sandy Hook Promise informing Alabama Promise Leaders that they could attend a listening session with the Federal Commission’s Department of Education panel from Washington, D.C. that was in town, Karen knew she had to attend in order to lend a voice to the debate over arming teachers in classrooms. She met with as many Administration members as she could on the Monday before, so that she could accurately represent those counties with the fervor and insight they deserved.

“There was a feeling of urgency that if I did not speak on behalf of those who could not; I may never get their little voices out there to be heard. When I spoke, I can honestly say that I could hardly remember what I said when I sat down,” she says. “I mentioned that the Federal Commission try prevention programs before going as far as arming stressed teachers. Teachers are educators, not police officers.”

And what advice does Karen have for young women?

“Find people and things that build your own armor, as life and people will most definitely disappoint you, but be brave enough to face disappointments, as an individual, as a young lady, and as a contributing part of the world that needs our insight and unique abilities, so that our future world is a place we anticipate being a part of,” she says. “Be courageous enough to be the difference.”

For her tireless service to the community, and her relentless desire to “stop the violence,” we think Karen Sullins is a very Cool Girl!

A $200 donation was made to Hearts of Hope on behalf of Karen. You can donate here.

Nadya Okamoto

2016-07-Cool-Girl-Head-ShotName: Nadya Okamoto
Age: 18-years-old
Location: Portland, Oregon but about to head to Cambridge, Massachusetts this fall to attend Harvard
Occupation: Student and Founder and Executive Director of Camions of Care

Nadya Okamoto became the founder of a start-up company before she was old enough to legally vote. At 16, 7 years after her parents divorced and her family experienced legal homelessness, she was personally exposed to the need for feminine hygiene products for homeless women, and became an advocate for underserved women by beginning Camions of Care.

“I was inspired after hearing about the need for menstrual hygiene so often from homeless women that I met at shelters and bus stops I visited around the Portland area,” Nadya explains. “And after learning that it was the number one reason why girls miss school globally and the single symbolic transition into womanhood that caused girls to drop out of school, get married, or undergo female genital mutilation. I really wanted dependability and mobility to be core components of the identity of the organization because it was important to me that the nonprofit organizations that we partnered with to serve women and girls in need could depend on us to replenish their stock of feminine hygiene products no matter where they were located.”

2016-07-Cool-Girl-Full-BodySpeaking frankly, Nadya explains about how removing the stigma surrounding menstruation must be a limitless endeavor in order to better provide health-related products and services to disadvantaged populations of women globally.

“I hope that Camions of Care can play a part in de-stigmatizing menstruation so it isn’t something that gives women and girls a reason to feel less confident or less capable,” she says. “I also hope that through our service work in making menstrual hygiene more accessible to women and girls both domestically and globally, it won’t be a hindrance to global development and girls can stay in school and continue participating in educational and employment opportunities.”

This might be a seemingly unattainable goal, but Nadya has never let difficulty stand in her way. From a young age, she learned to move beyond tough times and triumph in spite of circumstances.

“During my family’s time of “transition” when we were legally homeless, I found myself in a physically abusive relationship with someone who was a bit older than me, and it was a significant blow to my confidence and feelings of self-worth,” she reflects. “What helped build my resilience was connecting with homeless women who were in much worst living situations than I was, and realizing that I had the potential to make a difference and address a need that I continued to witness: the need for menstrual hygiene products.”

After her own rough road, this capable student and persistent activist is about to contribute her wisdom and tenacity to Harvard University, where she will become a freshman in the fall. As she pursues her studies, she’s unwavering in her commitment and the organization she created.


“I know for sure that I want to devote my efforts to enacting sustainable social change focused on making sure that every human feels confident, dignified, and prepared to discover and reach their full potential,” Nadya emphasizes. “Menstrual hygiene very much aligns with this.”

When asked to pass on some advice to the next generation of young women who will go forth to be on the front lines of such issues as gender equality and equal representation, Nadya has this to say:

“Your voice matters, no matter where you come from or who you are. Amplify your voice about something you feel strongly about, and let yourself be heard. Collaborate with others and let yourself be inspired. Start early and engage with the world now!”

For her work with Camions of Care and being irrepressible in her personal quest for change, we think Nadya Okamoto is one Cool Girl!

You can check out Camions of Care at, and take a look at Nadya’s Menstrual Movement TED TALK here.