Submitted by Labulter on Mon, 10/19/2020 - 12:39

Blair Brettschneider didn't plan on creating her own nonprofit. But something she imagined had never been done before. So Blair decided to make a change. That's when the 25-year-old launched what is now GirlForward, an organization that offers mentorship and educational opportunities for girls who have been uprooted from their war-torn countries. Blair credits her experience with the AmeriCorps VISTA program for exposing her to the plight of refugee youth and their families. Blair served as an AmeriCorps VISTA member from 2010 to 2011. As part of her responsibilities, she completed fundraising development projects at RefugeeOne, a refugee resettlement agency in Chicago. GirlForward, a once modest enterprise, has now grown to one that has served more than 100 girls. In fact, the organization's success prompted media giant CNN to name her one of its top 24 CNN Heroes for 2013.Still, Blair's newfound celebrity has not fully resonated yet. "When I see people sitting in the office I think, Wow this is an actual organization," Blair said. "I'm really proud of everything that we've done and I'm also really thankful for all of the support we've received."