Jenine Choueka

Portraits: Carmelo Donato, Photo Reportage: Sioux Nesi

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Jenine Choueka, Age 36
Cofounder, The Special Children's Center

Her Rescue Mission

When she was just 16, Jenine began helping a young mother with a special-needs son, and she saw how much effort it took to care for him. Though she was still in high school, Jenine, now a mother of five and a 2008 L'Oréal Paris Women of Worth honoree, wanted to help, so she and a friend started an after-school program that would later become the Special Children's Center, now in Lakewood, New Jersey, to provide respite services for families with special-needs kids. The initiative began with seven children; today the center's many volunteers have helped more than 400 families, offering after-school, weekend and summer activities.