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Age: 63
Hometown: San Francisco
Cause: Teaching personal finance in immigrant communities

Woo, a stay-at-home mom who emigrated from Taiwan in the 1980s, didn't even know how to write a check when her husband died in 1989. Now she helps others in similar straits. After working at nonprofits in San Francisco's Chinese community, in 2006 she began teaching personal finance basics through workshops, brochures, and a monthly show on a Chinese-language radio station. Fluent in four dialects, the community outreach manager for Consumer Action spends 50 hours a week preparing and making presentations to groups and individuals about everything from scams to changing health care laws.

Says Woo: