Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on

Join a Hero, help change the world

By Kyle Almond, CNN
updated 1:59 PM EST, Wed December 5, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The top 10 CNN Heroes are tackling important issues, and they need your help
  • You can donate to their causes through Google, which is waiving all transaction fees

(CNN) -- This year's top 10 CNN Heroes are working hard to make a difference in the world, and you can help by donating to their causes through Google.

Google is waiving all transaction fees so that each Hero's designated nonprofit gets 100% of the funds.

These donations are also tax-deductible in the United States.

To learn more about each nonprofit and where your money would go, here are the top 10 Heroes in alphabetical order:

Pushpa Basnet
Nonprofit: Early Childhood Development Center
What it does: Gives dozens of children in Nepal a place to live while their parents are incarcerated. Many children in Nepal actually have to live behind bars with their parents because there's nowhere else to go and there isn't an adequate social safety net. Basnet's group also provides a day care program for young children who live in prison.
Basnet says: "I hope that ECDC is soon able to expand its services so that it is able to accommodate more children who are still living behind prison walls. ... We are working to rescue them and give them a better life."
Donate to the Early Childhood Development Center

Wanda Butts
Nonprofit: The Josh Project
What it does: Provides low-cost swimming lessons for hundreds of children in Toledo, Ohio. Most of the children in the program are minorities like Butts, who lost her 16-year-old son because he didn't know how to swim. Statistics show that minority children in the United States are more likely to drown than white children.
Butts says: "Our objective is to change the drowning statistics. Drowning is preventable if you know the rules. Awareness, education and knowledge are key. That was something I did not have."
Donate to the Josh Project

Mary Cortani
Nonprofit: Operation Freedom Paws
What it does: Helps U.S. war veterans train their own service dogs. Many Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans are suffering from invisible wounds such as post-traumatic stress disorder, and some of them are finding it easier to cope thanks to canine companions.
Cortani says: "Being a veteran myself, I understand loss of purpose, the mission. Training their own service dog gives them that and more. It gives them a shot at a quality life again."
Donate to Operation Freedom Paws

Catalina Escobar
Nonprofit: Juan Felipe Gomez Escobar Foundation
What it does: Provides counseling, education and job training to more than 2,000 teenage mothers in Colombia, where one in five girls age 15-19 is or has been pregnant. The group also runs a medical center that has brought health care to tens of thousands of children whose families couldn't otherwise afford it.
Escobar says: "I want my girls to be empowered. Earning money provides them with independence and allows them to gain back control of their lives."
Donate to the Juan Felipe Gomez Escobar Foundation

Razia Jan
Nonprofit: Razia's Ray of Hope
What it does: Operates a free school for girls in Afghanistan, where many terrorists will stop at nothing to keep girls from getting an education. There were at least 185 documented attacks on schools and hospitals in Afghanistan last year, according to the United Nations. The majority were attributed to armed groups opposed to girls' education.
Jan says: "It took a lot of determination and courage to build the first girls school in an area where the girls did not count. Now, with hard work, I have proven to the men of seven villages surrounding the school that this is the best thing that's happened for their daughters."
Donate to Razia's Ray of Hope

Thulani Madondo
Nonprofit: Kliptown Youth Project
What it does: Provides academic support, including tutoring, meals and school uniforms, to 400 children who live in the slums of Kliptown, South Africa. Kliptown has long suffered from high rates of unemployment, crime and school dropouts.
Madondo says: "(We) want to break the poverty cycle that has existed for many decades. This will be done through formal and nonformal education, where people will be empowered in things they are good at. ... We believe that if people are guided to what they are interested in, that is setting them up for success."
Donate to the Kliptown Youth Program

Leo McCarthy
Nonprofit: Mariah's Challenge
What it does: Gives college scholarships to teenagers who pledge not to drink while they're underage. Nearly $150,000 in scholarship money has been awarded by the group, which started after McCarthy's 14-year-old daughter Mariah was killed by an underage drunken driver in Butte, Montana.
McCarthy says: "I want this to be a platform for people to say: 'OK, I don't want to be like that guy who killed Mariah. But I need some help, because I'm getting group pressure.' ... I'm not asking you to say no to drugs. I'm asking you to say yes to yourself and a life of simple self-respect."
Donate to Mariah's Challenge

Connie Siskowski
Nonprofit: American Association of Caregiving Youth
What it does: Supports young people who have to take care of an ill, disabled or aging family member. Since 2006, the group has provided assistance to more than 550 young caregivers in Palm Beach County, Florida.
Siskowski says: "We're not advocating that children should do this or be in this position, but they are. So we want to make it as safe as possible and arm them with the knowledge base that they need."
Donate to the American Association of Caregiving Youth

Scott Strode
Nonprofit: Phoenix Multisport
What it does: Provides free athletic activities and a sober support community to more than 6,000 participants in Colorado. It offers dozens of programs every week, from casual walks and yoga to mountain biking and ice climbing.
Strode says: "Phoenix Multisport prides itself on our ability to help recovering addicts and alcoholics repair their self-esteem. Many of us in recovery had our dreams stripped away during our alcohol and drug use. The Phoenix Multisport community helps give those dreams back through standing on top of mountains and crossing finish lines."
Donate to Phoenix Multisport

Malya Villard-Appolon
Nonprofit: KOFAVIV (a Creole acronym that translates into the Commission of Women Victims for Victims)
What it does: Offers safety, medical care and legal aid to rape victims in Haiti. Gender-based violence has been an issue in Haiti for years, according to Villard-Appolon, and her group has seen an increase in rape cases since the 2010 earthquake.
Villard-Appolon says: "We tell people to come out of silence. Do not be afraid to say that you have been victimized."
Donate to KOFAVIV

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 7:45 AM EST, Mon December 3, 2012
Pushpa Basnet supports children in Nepal so they don't have to live behind bars with their incarcerated parents.
updated 11:56 AM EST, Fri December 7, 2012
Nepal is one of the poorest countries in the world, so it lacks the social safety net that exists in most Western nations.
updated 2:55 AM EST, Mon December 3, 2012
Celebrities joined CNN in Los Angeles to honor the top 10 CNN Heroes of the Year.
updated 1:59 PM EST, Wed December 5, 2012
The top 10 Heroes of 2012 are working hard to make a difference in the world. You can help by donating to their causes through Google.
Get a glimpse into the world of this year's top 10 Heroes. By seizing the day, they're making a difference that lasts a lifetime.
updated 11:50 AM EST, Fri December 7, 2012
This year's top 10 describe what the honor means to them and the causes they are so passionate about.
updated 11:15 AM EDT, Wed September 26, 2012
For many girls in Afghanistan, the simple act of walking to school can be a life-threatening journey.
updated 8:09 AM EDT, Wed October 3, 2012
Thousands of American children are responsible for taking care of a loved one, such as an ailing parent or sibling.
updated 9:02 AM EDT, Thu October 18, 2012
Haiti's terror didn't end when the ground stopped shaking. Reports of rape have been all too common after the 2010 earthquake.
updated 8:36 AM EST, Mon November 12, 2012
U.S. war veterans are finding peace and stability thanks to the calming influence of service dogs.
updated 1:16 PM EST, Tue November 13, 2012
Babies in Mississippi are less likely to reach their first birthday than babies in any other state. Why?
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT