The $100,000 grand prize in the Wells Fargo Bank “Someday Dreams” contest was awarded to Yaldah Magazine founder and publisher, seventeen-year-old Leah Caras (Larson), and her mother, Evelyn Krieger, of Sharon, Massachusetts, at a ceremony on Wednesday at the Wells Fargo History Museum in San Francisco.
Yaldah, a 48-page, glossy magazine with fiction, artwork, recipes, and mitzvah projects all written, edited, and designed by teenage girls, received more than 28,000 votes in the final online phase of the contest.
Krieger entered the contest as a way to help her daughter expand the magazine. In August, her 250-word essay was selected as one of five finalists from 10,000 entries and a video was made and posted on the Wells Fargo Bank Web site. Leah was too young by one year to enter the contest herself.
“It’s great to be flying into California, making big plans for employment and expansion, and having a stagecoach pull up at my door,” Larson writes in an email. “But at the same time I’m just the same old regular Leah, working hard at YALDAH like I always did…a regular high school girl,” she writes in an email, ending the sentence with a smiley-faced wink symbol.
Yaldah, a quarterly, now has 700 subscribers and a circulation of 1,500, including distribution in hundreds of independent bookstores across the country.
With the winnings, Larson hopes to expand the magazine and its distribution and will poll her worldwide readers for ideas about the magazine’s future. Three books will be published next fall, a novel, an advice book and a recipe book, according to Larson.