My Minerva Moment



Since 2004, The Women’s Conference has honored extraordinary women with the annual Minerva Awards. These Remarkable Women & Remarkable Legacies have recognized a problem, identified the solution, and pursued it with strength, courage, perseverance and compassion.

Each one of us has experienced that moment when we first realized that we have the ability to make a difference and transform the life of someone we love, someone less fortunate or someone in need. That's your Minerva Moment!

So tell us –

When did you realize for the first time that you could make a difference? What was your Minerva Moment?  

Share your story in 200 words or less in the comments section below.


My Minerva Moment
  • I have been or am reminded that I do make a difference when:
    *As a teen mom I held my first-born daughter and felt whole for the first time in my life (1979). I now have three lovely, grown children...
    *When my pre-teen daughter rolled her eyes at me, then smiled and said, "that's so cool, mom," when referring to the work that I was doing w/ women in low-income neighborhoods in our city;
    *When my high school son would come up and hug me in front of his friends no matter where we were; which he still does today;
    *When my granddaughters yell w/ glee and jump up and down as they see me approaching, knowing that some big loving arms are about to enfold them and fun will ensue;
    *When my grown children ask for my opinion - and really want it;
    *When I look in the mirror and see reflected back to me a woman who has grown over the years, knows a bit about who she is, and is facing the world with open arms - ready for the next great adventure... aho!

    Posted by Deenah, 12 May 2010.

  • My Minerva Moment came in 2006 when I was 51. This is the yr. I found my 1st child, whom I'd had in 1973 when I was 16 and placed for adoption. Back then, there was horrible shame attached to being a pregnant teen. You weren't allowed to attend public school. You were sent away and told to give up your baby and forget about him/her. I received no counseling post adoption. For 34 yr I grieved over the loss of my baby. I was able to find him in just a few weeks, a healthy happy adult who is thrilled to have a new family to love. Virtually no one knew I'd had a baby. Now, finding him has given me the strength to be a better advocate for womens choices and for teen parents. I can help teens make better choices before pregnancy, and after. I'm now on the Exec Board of the Margaret Hudson program here in Tulsa.

    Posted by chocirish, 12 May 2010.

  • As a child, it was painful to witness hungry and poor people beg on the street. Thirty years later, I am far from numb from the ills of the world. I choose to acknowledge that people and animals are unnecessarily suffering. Environmental degradation cannot be ignored. I want to understand, why is this happening, what are prevention options, etc?

    As I grew older, I would keep asking the same questions that intrigued me as a child. In my teens, I became actively involved in community service projects and chose a vegetarian lifestyle. Today, as an empowered woman working in the nonprofit sector, I have an abundance of resources that I utilize to address various social issues. I try and live a sustainable life of service to continue to be part of the solution.

    I first knew I could make a difference, by simply asking relevant questions as a child. Since a thought-provoking question beckons for an answer, a conscious answer inspires an engaging conversation and most importantly, action. My Minerva moment is the day I initiated a Youth Ending Hunger club in high school. I was being the change I wished to see in the world.

    Posted by rsavvy, 11 May 2010.

  • I manage a hospital volunteer program. One sweet 85 year old by the name of Angie had been particpating in a county funded program for the elderly hosted by the hospital. After several years of working, Angie started showing increasing signs of forgetfulness and confusion and I had to take steps to remove her from the county program, but she stayed on at the hospital as a volunteer in my department. One day she didn't show up to volunteer so I drove to the home where she rented her bedroom from a church member and found her very ill. I took her to the doctor - he treated her for bronchitis, but also had a social worker assess her mental condition. She was diagnosed with dementia and I was informed that she could no longer continue living on her own and needed to move to an appropriate facility. Angie has no living family members and she never had children. With no one for her to turn to, I guess that's where my Minerva moment happened and I knew that I had to help her. It took time, but I found a good place for her to live. My son, and a couple of volunteers helped me move her things to the retirement home. I now have power of attorney for her. I take her to all her doctor appointments, pay the few bills she has, to get her hair cut, and out to lunch. When I visit her, she tells the other residents that I am her "auntie" . She does not have any wealth to speak of other that what she receives from social security which covers her rent. But she has me and my family and she has our hospitlal family who will continue to love her. For this I am grateful.

    Posted by Elizabeth, 11 May 2010.

  • I was trying to adjust to a new normal life...after the past 4 & 1/2 years of medical normal that we had lived in. People went to the gym to get healthy and we went to the oncologist. Mothering the child left behind has become my biggest challenge, something that came easy to me in the past. Life seems pronounced, every action very deliberate, every decision clouded with grief.

    Distraction is sought in daily activities that in the past were second nature. Now even lunch with a friend seems like decision making. I thought that keeping myself busy would help but not so. Well at least today I am fearless, nothing can be more horrifying than watching your baby die and not being able to do a thing about it. What else is there for a parent to fear...

    Priyanka lived eight years, but she was a very strong, courageous and resilient little girl. Her spunk awoke the kid in me, her laughter was infectious, her dreams and ambitions now only a memory. The joy remains that I was blessed to be her mother.

    Then it occured to me, I was able to enjoy Priyanka during her illness because of the Child life specialists at the hopital so I started Child life services in India for mom's who like me would be able to enjoy the smile of their terminally ill kids one day at a time. More info can be found at

    With love from our hearts to yours.


    Posted by leela rao, 10 May 2010.

  • I recently discovered I am not a victim, I am a survivor. My Minerva Moment came when I shared my story. Other women learned they could be survivors and they didn’t have to suffer alone in silence. As a child I was sexually abused, molested, and rapped on multiple occasions. I turned to drugs to numb the nightmares. When I was seventeen I stood at a crossroad, ahead there was more pain and sexual abuse, to the right there was an escape to a new drug free life. I was lead to the right. In my mid-thirties through Christian consoling, I started understanding the impact my childhood still had on my life. Before I was ashamed of what happen to me. I was afraid if people knew they would look at me as a victim and who I was. Today I know as I tell my story people see the person before them a woman, mother and survivor. Every time I share my story, someone shares with me that they saw their story in mine, and my strength gives them strength. Sharing my story is my Minerva Moment it gives other women a voice, a cause and strength.

    Posted by arrudad, 10 May 2010.

  • My minerva moment is when I first became a skills trainer for autistic clients. I love the job and I am giving back the community because I am hearing impaired myself and the community gave me a lot of support so I want to give it back. I have been a skills trainer for autistic clients for 6 years now.

    Posted by kammi, 10 May 2010.

  • I've been teaching preschool fitness classes since 1994 to children ages 2-K. Kids learn healthy lifestyle habits through exercise. Several incredible moments have happened since then. First, the little girl Kira that learned about smoking and went home to tell her Grandfather to quit because she didn't want him to get "Sick". He did, after battling the habit for 30 years. Then, the boy that called 9-1-1 when his father suffered a heart attack because he learned about emergencies and how to call. Or the little boy that turned his family away from driving to McDonald's because he wanted healthier food that wouldn't plug up his heart, made at home. Finally, probably my defining moment , was when a little girl with behavior problems turned in her father for molesting her because she learned about good and bad touches through our program. At four, that's an incredible thing for a child to do. Who knows what atrocities would have continued had she not felt empowered enough to do that. So, to help improve not just the fitness and eating habits of children but to also affect their future mental well being, I can't think of anything more important. Especially today.

    Posted by KID-FIT, 10 May 2010.

  • My Minerva Moment came when I realized that by helping people lose weight I was able to help them regain their lives. Personal training is not only an exercise program instructed by a person. It is so much more. It is a very personal and intimate encounter between someone who is just as human as the client, but they may have found a way to master the challenges the client is blocked by. The client who is very vulnerable in their sate of being out of shape trusts the Personal Trainer that they will be able to help them see their challenges through. Or to the least, identify it. It is a long and very personal process. I am only privileged to be trusted by so many people to help them walk to, through, and beyond the fire.

    What a privilege!

    Posted by MonikaKovacs, 10 May 2010.

  • To change someone's truly transform their negative beliefs and takes time, dedication and unconditional love. My Minerva Moment came three years ago when, during a sermon at our church, the pastor said, "Do you know a child in need?" It was like a lightening bolt hit both my husband and I as we instantly looked at each other and knew the answer to a question we had been pondering for weeks. We had discussed it with our children and each other and now we had a sign from God...Josh needed to come and live with us. Josh was 17, and had spent his entire life taking care of his drug-addicted mom - living in tents, motel rooms and mostly on the streets. He had a heart of gold that had been tarnished by abuse and neglect, and his biggest dream was to have a family who loved him. So yes…we indeed knew “a child in need” – and we knew we had enough love in our family to make his dream come true. He moved in with us the next day and has been with us ever since. He is now “paying it forward,” working with youth at risk.

    Posted by Adria, 10 May 2010.