Barbara Shaiman

Daily Point of Light # 3593 Nov 12, 2007

Over the past thirty years, Barbara Greenspan Shaiman has dedicated her life to serving her community. Professionally she has been a teacher, a counselor and a businesswoman, and has presented nationally and internationally. Her most recent contribution to her community has been through the creating of Champions of Caring, a not for profit organization that she has devoted all of her time and energy to.

Barbara is the daughter of Holocaust survivors. Her mother Carola Greenspan is the sole survivor of a family of 65 people and her father Henry worked for Oskar Schindler, the basis of Steven Spielberg’s film Schindler's List. Given her family's history she has worked to ensure that "the disease of silence and indifference never be allowed to triumph." She believes that investment in our country's youth by inculcating the values of service and social justice in these young leaders will lead to a strong and compassionate nation.

In 1995 she founded Champions of Caring, a 501© (3) "dedicated to sensitizing and educating young people to take active roles in improving their communities." Since its inception, more than 2,000 high school students from the greater Philadelphia region who have given 750,000 hours of service have participated in its Recognition Program and 200 have participated in its Ambassadors of Caring Leadership Program. In addition, 5,500 inner-city students have taken its unique character education/service-learning school curriculum—Journey of a Champion that promotes academic excellence, prejudice and violence reduction, and active citizenship.

Under her leadership, Champions of Caring has become a dynamic and growing non-profit organization recognized throughout the region as a model for encouraging young people in their service, developing their leadership skills and helping schools in their efforts to nurture successful and compassionate young citizens. Champions of Caring build connections among teenagers who are otherwise isolated from one another both physically and socially. The teens who participate in Champions programs and are engaged in advocacy, outreach and community service come from all socio-economic, ethnic, and religious backgrounds and work together to find solutions to problems plaguing their neighborhoods, the nation, and the world.

As Philadelphia is a city that has become increasingly plagued by violence, Barbara's work with Champions of Caring is now more vital than ever. Champions takes an innovative approach to social change by teaching young people to be the catalysts for these changes. While other groups focus on mobilizing adults, Barbara has dedicated her organization to train the next generation of leaders and social activists.