At Choosing Beauty, Mondays are made for celebrating everyday Wonder Women who are using their skills and smarts to make this world a better, brighter place. 

photo of girl in Haiti by Emily Troutman

I’m late posting today’s Monday Mavens. I was planning to tell you about inspiring photographer/humanitarian Emily Troutman. When I finally sat down at my computer to plunk out a little tribute to Emily,  an email came through from her, thanking her friends and family for all their help and encouragement over the past year. Hmmm…nice timing!

I first connected with Emily a couple of years ago. She was a fan of my blog (which floors me, since she’s such an AMAZING photographer and writer). At the time, she wanted to let me know about a fascinating photo essay she’d created, asking people to hold up pieces of paper with one word that described how they felt at such a historical time. The video was really moving. We interviewed Emily about it on Get Real and learned how passionate she was about using her gifts to document the human side of significant moments and movements in history. Later that year, she lived for a month in the war-ravaged Democratic Republic of Congo. She ended her harrowing stay there with another amazing video called Why Congo Matters.

In October 2009, she was named a UN Citizen Ambassador (ummm….wow!). In December 2009, she traveled to Haiti and fell in love with the country and its people. Days after she left, the earthquake hit. She couldn’t stay away; within two days, she’d made her way back to Haiti and was stunned by the devastation. She has spent the past year there helping the helpless, writing articles and personal essays for AOL News and other media outlets, trying to keep Haiti top of mind for the rest of the world. 

As I sit here in Minnesota with the snow swirling outside, stockings hung by the roaring fire, lights twinkling on the Christmas tree, I can barely wrap my head around the tremendous poverty and despair in Haiti (and so many parts of this world we all share).. People like Emily, who exhibit such selflessness and sacrifice for others, make me want to do better, be better and give more. And I’m guessing that’s one of the reasons she chooses to stay. 

Watch for Emily in the coming weeks on Fox News and New York Magazine.