Raised by parents who were heavily involved in the nonprofit sector, Rafael Babilonia learned early on the power of volunteerism and civic engagement. So it is no surprise that, as Hurricanes Irma and Maria threatened the Caribbean, the Puerto Rico native wasted no time in stepping up to help.
When Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005, Cheri Deatsch returned to her hometown to help rescue pets that were impacted by the catastrophic storm. In the years that followed, Cheri has continued to travel to communities affected by natural disasters to rescue animals in need – stepping up to volunteer in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, the Fukushima earthquake in Japan, severe flooding in Thailand, the Oklahoma tornadoes, and many more.
Some 15 years ago, Nick Katsoris was inspired to write a series of children’s books featuring Loukoumi, a cuddly lamb named after the sweet Greek candy. And in 2009, he released “Loukoumi’s Good Deeds,” which encourages children to make a difference by pledging to do good in their communities. The book blossomed into a movement, with the launch of the Loukoumi Make A Difference Foundation, which engages thousands of children each year to make a difference in the lives of others.
Volunteers across the country come together each October for Make A Difference Day, united with a common mission to improve the lives of others through service projects. And each year, TEGNA recognizes 14 outstanding project leaders, awarding $140,000 in grants that are donated to the charities related to the winning projects. As we prepare for Make A Difference Day 2017, Points of Light is recognizing these extraordinary difference makers with Daily Point of Light Awards.