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Oct. 15, 2019

Alumna, camp co-founder earns 'Women of Worth' award from L’Oréal Paris

Michigan State University alumna Judy Winter, who cofounded MSU’s Eric 'RicStar' Winter Music Therapy Camp, has been selected as one of the 2019 Women of Worth honorees by L’Oréal Paris for her outstanding work with individuals with special needs.

The first Spartan and the second winner from the state of Michigan to receive the honor, Winter, who graduated from the MSU College of Communication Arts and Sciences in 1980, is a nationally recognized author, speaker and advocate for special needs children and adults. She also received the college's Outstanding Alumni Award in 2007.

The nonprofit camp, coordinated by the MSU Community Music School in East Lansing, provides opportunities for musical expression, enjoyment and interaction with special needs children through an inclusive day camp. Winter is one of 10 women in the country to receive the prestigious Women of Worth award this year for her charitable efforts that bring to life the L’Oréal Paris mission of uplifting and inspiring self-worth in others.

Beginning today, the public is invited to support the 2019 Women of Worth by voting for one woman to become this year’s national honoree and receive an additional $25,000 to support her cause, for a grand total of $35,000. Each honoree will also automatically receive $10,000, along with support via national paid media, educational and training opportunities and a large-scale platform to share her story.

Voting will take place at, where users must register with an email address to vote once a day through Nov. 15, 2019.

Judy Winter

In 1990, Winter endured the traumatic birth of her son, Eric, and his challenging cerebral palsy diagnosis. As he grew, Winter worked tirelessly to afford him opportunities to reach his full potential – including enrolling him in music therapy classes at MSU’s Community Music School, where he thrived before passing away at age 12.

After his death, Winter’s husband, Dick, and camp director Cindy Edgerton co-founded the Eric ‘RicStar’ Winter Music Therapy Camp, a one-of-a-kind day camp for individuals with special needs that provides opportunities for immersion in musical expression.

Created to honor Eric Winter’s life and legacy, the camp utilizes music therapy and one-on-one support to nurture and celebrate individual abilities, while also modeling examples of positive inclusion.

Since 2003, RicStar’s Camp has welcomed more than 1,500 campers, provided over $80,000 in financial aid and hosted approximately 500-1,000 volunteers to date.

“Now in its 14th year, Women of Worth continues to make a profound impact by shining a spotlight on the tenacity and courage of women who are tackling some of society’s most difficult issues for the greater good,” said Karen Fondu, president emeritus and chairwoman of L’Oréal Paris Women of Worth. “We are thrilled to welcome the 2019 Women of Worth into our family and to help them create meaningful change in their communities.”

For more information about Women of Worth and the 2019 honorees, visit and L’Oréal Paris on Facebook  and Twitter. Join and follow the conversation by using the hashtag #WomenofWorth.

By: Michael Sundermann

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