They are educators, mentors, counselors, fund-raisers, business owners, and managers of organizations that help those in need. But most of all, they are leaders who step forward to help keep our community strong. Orlando magazine is proud to honor the 23 individuals pictured on these two pages as Women of the Year. We asked you, our readers, for nominees, and you responded with a wealth of recommendations, along with details on how these women make a massive difference in the lives of countless people daily. Our congratulations—and thanks—to them all.
Reaves is a chain-breaker, one who helps others break generational cycles of poverty and poor financial management, earning her the distinction of being a “compelling voice for the voiceless, an effective hope of the hopeless.”
In 2016, Reaves created 8 Cents in a Jar, a nonprofit devoted to teaching financial education to underserved students. Students receive in-home counseling on wealth-building techniques. Since its inception, the organization has helped 875 students in Central and South Florida.
“Since relocating to Orlando in 2008, she started her mission to make this city her home and effect change,” a nomination reads.
“I’ve witnessed firsthand the power and prosperity of people,” Reaves says. “At 14 years of age, my mother passed away unexpectedly, followed by my father [when I was] 21; in both instances, countless individuals, through their respective organizations, gave their time, talent, and treasure. When I became my younger sister's legal guardian, I continued receiving love and support from my community. As a thank you, I have no choice but to pay it forward as I passionately believe I was saved to serve others.”