hours of services for her one-woman charity, Children Waiting Everywhere.
Born and educated in Sri Lanka, Corera came to America at twenty on a green card and a prayer. She wound up owning her own Montessori school, sold it, worked with the poor in Mexico, and then went to work for Tom Monaghan's burgeoning Catholic educational empire.
She was running Shepherd Montessori Center for Monaghan when she met Father George, a Ugandan priest who'd come to Eastern Michigan University to get an MBA and wound up working as chaplain at Domino's Farms. Touched by the priest's stories of the suffering of his country's children, she raised $5,000 from the parents of her students and flew to Uganda for Thanksgiving in 2000.
"I thought I was going to deliver the check and come back," Corera explains. "But something else happened. I fell into villages and villages of children who were orphaned by AIDS. . . . Seeing their faces left an indelible mark on my heart. I couldn't continue to live as a normal person. So I said: 'We're getting to work here!'"