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NYC Beauty of Education Award

Renee Minus White | 4/12/2011, 4:34 p.m.
Jessica Fenster-Sparber

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Shaune Johnson

Maybelline just announced two winners of the 2008 Maybelline New York Beauty of Education Awards. They are Jessica Fenster-Sparber of NYC and Shaune Johnson of Elmont, N.Y. These women believe in giving back and helping others. Their commitment is inspirational. Shaune and Jessica will be honored at a gala awards dinner in New York City on Thursday, December 4 at the NY Public Library.

"Maybelline New York knows that education opens eyes and doors," observed David Greenberg, president of Maybelline New York Garnier. "As a company, we couldn't be more proud to honor Jessica and Shaune and support their efforts."

To help in the nationwide search for the 10 finalists in the 2008 competition, Maybelline New York enlisted the support of powerhouse publications People, People en Espanol and Essence magazines.

Shaune Johnson founded Top Dancing Only, a non-profit organization that focuses on instilling self-confidence and success through the discipline of dance for at-risk youth, and Girlfriends Talk, Inc. to help girls in her community succeed. This non-profit offers a range of free mentoring workshops that encourage girls in middle and high school to dream, achieve and explore their full potential. Programs on communication, self-esteem, college, careers, finances and more expose them to a world of opportunity and inspire them to take positive steps toward their futures (www.girlfriendstalk.org).

Literacy is the key that opens doors. Jessica Fenster-Sparber, a New York City teacher, works with incarcerated youth. She co-founded Literacy For Incarcerated Teens (LIT). This non-profit organization creates school libraries inside juvenile detention centers and schools that serve group homes. LIT has raised tens of thousands of dollars and turned on thousands of at-risk young people to the joys of reading during a very difficult period in their lives (www.literacyforincarceratedteens.org).

After an exhaustive nationwide search, these two recipients will receive an award that recognizes women who motivate, mentor and make a difference in their communities through the power of education. For their extraordinary work, Shaune and Jessica will each receive a $10,000 grant that's earmarked to support their educational cause, along with the opportunity to have Literacy for Incorporated Teens (LIT) and Girlfriends Talk, Inc. showcased in a national ad in People Magazine. "I feel so grateful that a major corporation wants to do something for children that often feel forgotten by the rest of the world," said Jessica. Shaune's reaction was, "I'm excited, honored and blessed to be recognized by Maybelline New York for this wonderful award. The $10,000 will allow Girlfriends Talk, Inc. to continue to develop and provide our youth with outstanding services to assist them in achieving their goals."