This year's top 10 CNN Heroes are tackling issues both domestic and international
If you'd like to help, you can donate to their organizations through Google
Program note: “CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute” airs Sunday at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT, live on CNN. During the show, Dr. Sanjay Gupta will be providing exclusive backstage interviews that can only be seen on CNN.com and your mobile device.
Inspired by a CNN Hero and want to help?
You can make a tax-deductible donation to any of the top 10 Heroes through Google. The Heroes’ nonprofits will receive 100% of the funds, and all transaction fees will be waived.
To learn more about each nonprofit and their causes, here are the top 10 Heroes in alphabetical order:
Nonprofit: Gridiron Heroes
What it does: Provides emotional and financial support to high school football players who’ve sustained life-changing spinal cord injuries
Eddie says: “Gridiron Heroes is not about deterring anyone from playing football. … (But) these kids need help, and the families need help.”
Exploring the issue: When a high school athlete gets seriously hurt, the pain isn’t just physical. There are also emotional and financial consequences.
Donate to Gridiron Heroes
Nonprofit: American Widow Project
What it does: Connects military widows online and in person, providing a network of support and inspiration
Taryn says: “Our main form of communication with our husbands (was) Skype and Facebook. The Internet … it’s a safe haven, in a way. … It lets (the widows participate) at their own pace. … It allows other women who maybe are kind of afraid to step forward … (to) be like … ‘You know, they look like me.’ “
Exploring the issue: It’s not just widows who need support. The changing landscape of the U.S. military has created a tiny fraternity of men: the widowers of war.
Donate to American Widow Project
Nonprofit: The Time Is Now to Help
What it does: Provides personalized assistance, whether it be groceries, rent money or other necessities, to people who need help getting back on their feet
Sal says: “With this recession right now, there are a lot of people in extreme desperate need. People who are homeless, we’ll help them get shelter; people who are hungry, we’re going to feed them; people who have utilities off, we’re going to turn them on; people that need transportation, we’ll help fix their cars.”
Exploring the issue: About 46.2 million Americans are considered in poverty, 2.6 million more than last year.
Donate to The Time Is Now to Help
Nonprofit: Global Soap Project
What it does: Collects partially used hotel soap in the United States, reprocesses it and then sends it abroad to save lives in impoverished countries
Derreck says: “Because of our work, this world is going to be a better place than we found it – with no soap being thrown away and with no child or woman … or any vulnerable populous left without a bar of soap to fend off disease.”
Exploring the issue: In developing countries around the world, millions of children lack access to soap and clean water.
Donate to Global Soap Project
Nonprofit: Kids Off the Block
What it does: Gives young people in Chicago a place to hang out and learn valuable life skills so they can stay off the streets and away from rampant gang violence
Diane says: “What I want people to know is that the work that I and so many others do can literally be the difference between life and death for a generation that seems to have lost all hope. … If I can make a change in a generation, then my community’s going to get better – because they’re going to be the ones that take it over.”
Exploring the issue: In several cities around the world, streetwise “interrupters” are trying to stop teen violence before it starts.
Donate to Kids Off the Block
Nonprofit: Yayasan Bumi Sehat
What it does: Offers free prenatal care, birthing services and medical aid to low-income women in Indonesia
Robin says: “Because the cost of childbirth often exhausts the family’s income, the poor and even the middle-income people of the world find themselves in a downward spiral of suffering and loss, just when they should be celebrating the births of their babies.”
Exploring the issue: Many women in the developing world do not have access to contraception or maternal care.
Donate to Yayasan Bumi Sehat
Nonprofit: FONDAPS youth soccer program
What it does: Provides free equipment, coaching and food to hundreds of poor Haitian children and teaches them to become responsible citizens
Patrice says: “When you live in the ghetto, you don’t see the world outside. I try to bring hope for them … to show them that (their) life is not only the reality.”
Exploring the issue: Malnutrition is a major problem in Haiti, but ready-to-use therapeutic foods are helping children recover faster.
Donate to FONDAPS
Nonprofit: Caterina’s Club
What it does: Serves free pasta dinners to children, many of whom are poor and live in motels with their families
Bruno says: “In America, in our own backyards, we have kids who go to bed hungry. If we do something about it, we will have no hungry children in America.”
Exploring the issue: Food insecurity is spreading in America, and it’s particularly hard on one group: children.
Donate to Caterina’s Club
Richard St. Denis
Nonprofit: World Access Project
What it does: Collects discarded wheelchairs from the U.S., refurbishes them and then sends them to people living with disabilities in rural Mexico
Richard says: “In many rural, impoverished, uneducated areas of Mexico, people don’t even know what a wheelchair is. They don’t know what their disability is or why they can’t walk. They have no hope, no expectation for the future, and no resources to change their situation.”
Exploring the issue: Wheelchairs aren’t the only useful medical supplies being discarded in the United States.
Donate to World Access Project
Nonprofit: Infinite Family
What it does: Finds online mentors for South African teenagers, many of whom have lost their parents to HIV and AIDS
Amy says: “We all learn best from each other, which is why growing up in families and communities of caring adults is so important. More than 50 million children in sub-Saharan Africa do not have this opportunity.”
Exploring the issue: Online mentoring is starting to grow as an “effective and viable” alternative for young people, experts say.
Donate to Infinite Family