Editor’s Note: Remarkable Women is part of a nationwide Nexstar Media initiative to honor the influence women have had on public policy, social progress and the quality of life.
In March, we highlighted four local women finalists for Nexstar’s nationwide 2023 Woman of the Year Award. One local winner was selected to earn a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Los Angeles — and here she is.
PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The four women chosen as finalists as KOIN’s 2023 Remarkable Woman have one thing in common: They all work to serve the greater good.
In an instant, Patti Serres makes you feel welcome. That same warmth greets children in need when they come to The Bloomin’ Boutique, the non-profit she started that provides things like brand-new clothes, toiletries and even bed sheets to children during some of their toughest moments.
“If you were to come in here as one of those children, you would be getting a new pair of shoes, four pants, five shirts, a jacket, three bras, five underwear, five socks,” Serres told KOIN 6 News. “We just build and sustained you with a care package so you can go a week in school and have whatever you need.”
Sarah Shaoul advocates for small businesses and founded organizations that help small business owners in ways large and small. She set up PDXSOS (now called Small Shops Big Hearts) when the pandemic hit. It created a network of local small businesses where shoppers could buy gift certificates to help keep the hard-hit economy going.
She also founded Bricks Need Mortar, a membership organization that offers guidance partnerships and solutions for small businesses.
About 10 years ago, when Frani Grover began helping the homeless, she admits her perspective was very different.
It didn’t take her long to go from being a concerned volunteer to a comforting soul. About 3 years ago she created her nonprofit, East County Aid and Comfort. With the help of volunteers — which includes some of the people she served, they put together several kits with hot meals, groceries and supplies every Friday.
KOIN’s 2023 Remarkable Woman
Sara Olsher put her background in psychology to work to help her daughter overcome anxiety. Spurred by something her child’s therapist did, Olsher laminated some pieces of paper with magnets and made a calendar to let her daughter know what to expect and when. That led to her developing Mighty and Bright, labeled as “tools that place emotional and mental wellness at the center of life.”
That led to other tools with the same concept and a series of “9 books explaining different things to kids. And I realized in that experience that there are so many different things that kids need explained to them.”
Her work continues to grow, whether it is partnering with the Mayo Clinic on a book about grief or connecting with another mom on TikTok on ways to help adults with ADHD use the Mighty and Bright tools to take on daily tasks that are otherwise a challenge.
Sara Olsher told KOIN 6 News she will take the $1000 award that comes with being the Remarkable Woman and donate it to another non-profit, Bright Spot Network, that helps families through cancer.