Jennifer Garner provides life raft to kids

Women's Impact Report: Lifetime Impact Honorees

Who: Jennifer Garner, best known for starring in such features as “13 Going on 30,” “Juno” and the lead role in the hit TV ABC show “Alias,” is currently filming Warner Bros. “Arthur” opposite Russell Brand. Garner started her own production company in 2005, Vandalia Films. The company has four projects in development, including the Weinstein Co.’s “Butter,” starring Garner and written by Jason Micallef.

What: Save the Children is devoted to changing lives of children in need around the world. Founded in the U.K. in 1919, the international organization and its 28 separate national organizations aim to improve the lives of children through education, health care and economic opportunities, as well as emergency aid in the event of natural disasters, war and other conflicts.

Why: “I wanted to work with kids in America who were growing up in poverty, and I wanted to focus more on rural America,” Garner says. “Having come from West Virginia, I feel like I grew up with a lot of kids who just didn’t have a fair start, and I felt like for all the great work that happens, I didn’t see much that was addressing their needs, so I went on a hunt.” That hunt led her to Save the Children. “The poverty numbers in rural America are really staggering, and it’s a very quiet poverty. If you’re growing up in poverty in America, by the time you’re 4 years old, you’re a year and a half behind. By the time you’re in kindergarten, you don’t have a shot at catching up.” That, she says, is “ridiculous and unfair.”

What’s next: Garner will continue to press her support for Save the Children, including spending time on Capitol Hill. “I’ve done advocacy work in Washington, and I plan on doing more,” she says. In addition, Garner plans to continue to spend time volunteering on the ground with the nonprofit. “It just makes me happy to go and see these kids whose faces are lit up by reading and learning,” Garner says. “The fact that we’re not in every school that needs us has lit a pretty big fire in me. We can’t get there fast enough.”

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