On surface, the mother of 10 (seven biological; three adopted) who lived in suburban Atlanta before her move to New York, seemed an unlikely leader of an organization benefiting children halfway around the world. But RSO, like many worthy nonprofits, came about following a tragedy -- the suicide of Douglas' daughter, Amber.
Sorting through her things, Douglas came across repeated donations to an orphanage in India, and on an impulse, the grief-stricken mother booked a flight. Within hours, she came face to face with Hansen's Disease, or leprosy, a scourge she thought had been eradicated.
"I tried to avoid looking directly at the beggars until one woman flung herself on the hood of the cab," she said. "When we made eye contact, I realized she was a mother just like me."
Back in Atlanta, Douglas had recurring nightmares about the children who begged beside their parents. Though disease-free, they were equally shunned.
Determined to honor Amber's cause, she asked three close friends to her home for lunch. By the time the women had cleared the table, RSO was born. "We had no idea how to raise money, but we knew we wanted to help educate these children to be self-supporting so they would be the last generation forced to beg in the streets for subsistence."
According to the RSO website, two of Douglas' children were adopted from Lithuania.