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LookToTheStars.org’s Misty Schwartz recently talked with TV host, spokesperson and TV sales consultant Wendi Russo about her charity work.

Why did you choose to support Make-A-Wish Foundation, ACES and Kinship of Greater Minneapolis?

I chose to work with Kinship because at that time there was no other mentoring organization in MN that allowed you to mentor with your family.

Previously I worked with Big Brothers and loved the one on one mentoring – I wanted to make a real difference up close and personal with a child, and through Kinship I was able to include my family in our activities. Being a mentor is tremendously rewarding. Years later I heard from my first mentees mom, letting me what an important part of her daughter’s life I was.

I chose to work with ACES (Atheletes Committed to Educating Students) through their e-mentor program to be able to build a friendship with a child
from an inner city via email. Giving them the emailing/computer and communication skills they would use in life and also giving them opportunities to have role models outside of their current environment. I was able to meet my two mentees in person at their school, at a Twins’ Game and brought them to my work, Shop NBC, to educate them on what I do for a career as a host.

I am a wish granter with Make-a-Wish Foundation and have granted several wishes to children with life-threatening children which I love. I’m able to
be creative in how to execute their wish, plan out the entire event and create an incredible experience the family will never forget. Being able to make a
child smile, feel special and cared for, is one of my greatest joys in life.

How long have you supported them?

I have been involved with Kinship since 2007, Aces since 2010, and Make a Wish since 2010

Can you talk a little bit about some of the other causes that you support?

I have many different charities I support including Wishes and More, IJM (International Justice Mission), Special Olympics, People Reaching out to Other People, Pay it Forward fund for breast cancer, The Salvation Army and countless others. I do not turn down any charities related to children with whatever help I can offer.

What is the most annoying thing about people that don’t help charities and why?

I find they lack a combination of gratitude for what they have in life and compassion for others who are less fortunate or need help. To me, the desire to give is innate and if I can lend my time, social networking, donations or “celebrity” to an event, I do. I think if more people did some type of charity work, they may find it can lift depression, create a sense of purpose, open up opportunities in their lives and make them feel fulfilled. There are so many benefits to giving to others.

And how important do you think it is for celebrities to get involved in charity?

I think celebrities help to bring media attention to certain charities/causes.

I’ve been asked to be involved to create a sense of “fun”, to help sell raffle tickets, to host/emcee events and to be a ‘headliner’ as a celebrity guest to be
part of the draw of the event. It is our obligation as someone in the public eye to to use our celebrity ‘status’ wisely and with gratitude. I find it a benefit of my profession!

What plans do you have to make an impact on society this year?

This year I plan to continue making an impact through mentoring women who want to be in the entertainment or TV Shopping profession by teaching and inspiring them to follow through on their dreams. I also plan to help many women achieve their goals in pageantry. I have found that being able to achieve a dream in one area, sets off a chain reaction of confidence and guts to go after other dreams, it can often be the starting point to catapult them to another level in their life.

If you had your own charity what would be called and who would it benefit?
It would be called “E-Mentor Women” and it would be a networking website where you sign up to be a mentor to another woman for career advice and then are assigned a mentor based on what type of advice, or expertise you need help with to get into an industry.

Mentoring is so important at every stage of our lives and wouldn’t it be neat to be able to say “I’d like to write a book but I’d like a mentor to help me navigate the publishing world and cheer me on, and be given one?” or “I want to find out how to get into journalism, who can I talk to?” All ages
could benefit from this type of site and perhaps long-standing relationships could be created in the process.

I love connecting people and imagine how far women could go in their lives with the proper support.

What projects are you working on at this time (films, TV, charity)?

Coming up this month I am granting the wish of a 2.5 year old boy who has a rare disease for Make a Wish Foundation, am attending a benefit for Child Abuse Prevention and am gearing up to do a half hour cable show about the different types of anti aging treatments for women and men over 40. For fun, I’m also shooting a student film called “Super Academy” where I’m playing a Superhero professor, complete with a super hero costume and all! Of course you can always watch me 5 days a week on Shop NBC Channel on cable or streaming live at www.shopnbc.com.

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