I finally got to see the movie The Butler this weekend and realized there was so much I didn’t know about the Freedom Riders and the push to change our world through non-violent ways by Martin Luther King.
And Nelson Mandela recently passed away sparking many thoughts about how to reconcile, forgive and work toward peace while at the same time still standing up for your principles.
CNN has created this series on CNN Heroes: Everyday People Changing the World, and I wanted to share them with you today. Check out the CNN site for videos and more explanation of how these 10 people were recognized in 2013 for changing the world around them.
Dale Beatty – Community Crusader. Dale Beatty was a National Guardsman serving in northern Iraq when his legs had to be amputated after his Humvee hit an anti-tank land mine. He co-founded Purple Heart Homes, which has helped build or modify homes for dozens of disabled U.S. veterans.
- Georges Bwelle, MD – Medical Marvel. Dr. Bwelle saw his father go from a simple broken arm to an infection in his brain. With only 1 doctor for every 5000 people, he decided to become a doctor. Since 2008, he and his team have provided free medical care to about 32,000 people in his native Cameroon.
- Robin Emmons – Community Crusader. After her brother was taken off the streets and put into a halfway house, he became diabetic because the nonprofit couldn’t afford fruits and vegetables. Since 2008, Robin Emmons has grown 26,000 pounds of produce for those who lack access to healthy food in Charlotte, North Carolina.
- Danielle Gletow – Championing Children. Foster children don’t often get what other kids do, but Danielle Gletow is trying to help change that by posting their wishes online. Since 2008, the nonprofit has granted more than 6,500 wishes for children living in 42 states.
- Tawanda Jones – Championing Children. 15-year-old Destinee Williams says, “Gangs and drugs are a huge deal. Kids get into gangs to feel safe so they won’t get killed.” 42% of the population is living below the poverty line. Tawanda Jones started a drill team that provides discipline and inspiration, helping at least 4,000 graduate high school in Camden, New Jersey.
- Richard Nares – Medical Marvel. Richard Nares, who lost his son, Emilio, to cancer in 2000, started a program called “Ride With Emilio” to provide transportation for low-income families and their children battling cancer. “No child should miss their cancer treatment due to lack of transportation,” Nares says.
- Kakenya Ntaiya – Community Crusader. After graduating from college in the U.S., Kakenya Ntaiya returned to her Kenyan village and opened its first primary school for girls. According to the Kenyan government, only 11% of Maasai girls in Kenya finish primary school.
- Chad Pregracke – Defending the Planet. Chad has made it his life’s work to clean up the Mississippi River and other American waterways. Since 1998, about 70,000 volunteers have helped him and his nonprofit remove more than 7 million pounds of garbage from 23 rivers across the country.
- Estella Pyfrom – Community Crusader. Estella Pyfrom’s “Brilliant Bus” is a mobile computer lab that provides tutoring for low-income children and adults. Working as a guidance counselor in Palm Beach County, she noticed that fewer students had access to a computer after school. Without a computer at home, or reliable transportation to get to a computer, Pyfrom feared that many of these students would get left behind.
- Laura Stachel, MD – In some countries, a lack of reliable electricity is to blame for deaths during childbirth. Dr. Laura Stachel witnessed this tragic truth during a trip to Nigeria five years ago. She and her husband are now delivering a solution: the “solar suitcase” is helping health-care workers deliver babies safely and saving their moms in 20 developing countries.
These people saw a need and stepped up. I’m sure none of them expected to be seen as a hero. They were just doing what needed to be done.
Who do you know, or who have you heard of that are focusing on shaking up the world today like MLK, Nelson Mandela, and these 10 CNN Heroes?
What am I doing? I’m inspiring business leaders to attain their dreams. I’m focused on helping others change their world and those around them. I’m changing the world for the better one leader at a time. How about you? What are you doing to change a little piece of your world? Share with us in the comment section!