2022 Points of Light Inspiration Honor Roll
Celebrating Outstanding Individuals Who Help Brighten Communities
Celebrating Outstanding Individuals Who Help Brighten Communities
The Points of Light Inspiration Honor Roll was created to celebrate acts of service, kindness and civic engagement by individuals who create change in communities around the world. It recognizes the people who take action, in both large and small ways, to improve the lives of others. This year, we continue to see individuals step up like never before. More people are volunteering, using their voices, giving back through work and taking action when they see a need. We are excited to uplift these stories and show how in communities worldwide, the power of people continue to drive us forward.
Meet our honorees!
Lucy has been volunteering for the Pink Berets since August 2020. She became their volunteer Wellness Lead in 2021 and earlier this year stepped into the role as Chief Operating Officer. She has been hosting weekly virtual yoga and travels to TX often to facilitate retreats and programming. She co-leads advocacy initiatives with Pink Berets founder, Stephanie Gattas. She serves in various boards and volunteers for several veteran service organizations such as the Minority Veterans of America.
Haris is dedicated to championing social mobility opportunities for young people from low-income backgrounds. Haris has made it his primary mission to work with leading organizations, community leaders and local government to ensure every child has a fair chance at achieving their desired objected and their dreams are not stagnated due to their postcode. “Talent is divided equally; however, opportunities aren’t” is a strong belief system for Haris. He works to increase, support and fulfil the aspirations of young people both in his local area and internationally. Haris is the founder of Diana Award 21′ winning Social Enterprise which has enabled over 500 women to start their own businesses through a micro-financing fund that operates in some of the most disadvantaged communities in Pakistan. Haris is also the co-founder & director of Bubl Venture Studios, the Corporate Venture studio for the world’s largest education company Pearson Plc. He is a Board Member for the GLA’s Young People’s Recovery Mission and a Board Member for the EY Foundation and Partnership for London where he acts as a Digital Health Ambassador as well as advises on policy for young people.
Around 15 billion batteries end up in landfills every year, where they start fires, cause pollution and contribute to global warming. But only around 1% of people know about the importance of battery recycling and how to access recycling facilities. When Nihal learned about this, he decided to do something to make a difference. To do this, he started a non-profit organization — Recycle My Battery — in 2019 at the age of 10.
Through Recycle My Battery, Nihal runs educational campaigns to teach people about the impact of batteries and how they can recycle more easily. He also installs free battery bins in schools, libraries and office buildings.
In under three years, the organization has had a lot of success. The bins have collected more than 185,000 used batteries, and the campaigns have reached an estimated 3.5 million people. To help coordinate this, Nihal has recruited more than 200 volunteer school kids, and the organization is entirely run by kids.
To have an even greater impact, Nihal aims to expand to other countries, recruit more volunteers and spread his messages as widely as possible. Currently, he is in the process of expanding operations into Canada, India, with plans for UAE and other countries in the near future
When Sindhu Surapaneni was 11 during the 2020 quarantine she taught over 400 free art lessons via Zoom and Facebook Live. When she was 12, she donated $4,000 to an organization that feeds the homeless through her art sales. At 13 years, she is teaching art in-person to local elementary schools that don’t have art programs in their schools. She received a gold presidential award for volunteering over 500 hours. She has impacted thousands of kids experience a world of creativity, empathy and inclusion through her art and stories. She took the initiative to show her support to Ukrainian refugees by working with students from elementary schools in the area to create 1,080 cards to be sent over to the refugees. She creates art on inclusion and diversity to impact the community positively and donates all the funds that she gets from selling that art to the organizations that serve the homeless. “Everyone is
loved here!” She created this art so that every kid who walks by it feels loved and accepted irrespective of all the differences. She is planning on donating 100% of the funds from all her art. Through her journey, she wants to show anyone can impact, influence and inspire anyone at any age.
In his freshman year of high school, Vivek went on a trip to his grandparents’ house in Cambay, India where he visited a disadvantaged school along with his family. When Vivek saw the situation in the school, he knew he had to help change it. The students were sitting on the floor with almost no supplies, and learning from a teacher who had just a chalkboard. After seeing these conditions, Vivek talked to the students and learned that their aspirations were incredibly inspiring with many of them wanting to be doctors, lawyers or astronauts. In the conditions that the students were learning in, it was apparent that they weren’t getting the support they needed to further their academic aspirations, so Vivek formed the organization For the Students, by the Students to help fight for this cause. His first step was working with a local rotary club in Cambay to donate bags of school supplies to all students in the underserved school. Then, back at his home in New York, he spearheaded dozens of drives working with organizations such as local libraries to collect and donate thousands of school supplies to underserved schools across the country and spread awareness of the education epidemic through frequent social media posts.
Ankita is a passionate advocate for quality education and gender equality for girls worldwide.
Addressing the education disparity in her community, she co-founded a non-profit organization, Digital Educate, whose mission is to provide education, mentorship, and access to digital media to marginalized communities worldwide. She teaches free programming and leadership classes to youth. During the Covid pandemic, she taught 350+ students globally. To promote girls’ participation in STEM, she led a girls coding contest on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals for 80+ girls from 10 states and 3 countries.
She is also the founder and host of a podcast, Power2LeadHER, that connects women change-makers to aspiring young women leaders in high school. She interviews women leaders across industries on their leadership journeys. Her podcast has reached 400+ people from 14+ countries and she continues to build an inclusive community that allows young women access to these opportunities.
Dr. Gray has been helping victims of violent crimes for three decades. A survivor of violence herself, Dr. Gray vowed to always help those in crisis get to a place where they could make safe and good decisions for their health. And she has always made good on her vow.
An unfortunate event would change the course of Dr. Gray’s life and how she not only interacted with the community, but with victims of violence and providers as well. After returning to the workforce from a brief hiatus, Dr. Gray was informed by a colleague that an individual she knew had taken their life, after being retraumatized during a legal process. Dr. Gray was devastated. When she asked what happened, the staff responded, “We were short advocates and unable to provide the appropriate help the individual needed.” Dr. Gray began to wonder how she could help prevent future tragedies from occurring. She started volunteering 10 to 15 hours a month with victim services agencies. She also started a business to assist providers in being more trauma-informed in their care delivery. She felt that it was imperative that she created a way for service providers to always have assistance if they needed it. To date, Dr. Gray continues to help resource victim services agencies.
Joshua Crans, a US Navy veteran, is a passionate advocate for volunteerism and environmental innovation. His impact resonates at Verizon and beyond, both regionally and globally. At Verizon, he serves as Citizen Verizon and Green Team Champion partnering with nonprofits and mobilizing employees to volunteer on habitat restoration activities. He has contributed hundreds of volunteer hours over eight years and encouraged other employees at various Verizon PNW offices to contribute to their communities.
Joshua has spearheaded initiatives to reduce plastic waste in consumer products and diesel consumption as well as electronics recycling. He represents Verizon as One Young World Ambassador, a global forum for young leaders. In 2019, he introduced carbon “calorie” labeling to empower consumers to make informed choices. In 2020, he was one of three global winners for his innovative work “Advancing Zero Wealth Concentration via Micro-stocks”.
Undoubtedly, Joshua epitomizes an inspiring commitment to volunteerism!
Jean has been volunteering for over 15 years on the streets, with different organizations . Her husband’s job has over the years had the couple moving to different locations throughout the state of Georgia. That never stopped her from becoming involved with organizations like The Bridge Ministry in Atlanta. She has also served with Fish for Kids in Monroe, GA. Jean has been instrumental in setting up and running Backpack Buddies and Family Promise, and feeding the homeless in Savannah. She’s also gone into camps and had bible studies for the past several years with Golden Harvest.
While she has a 501c3 organization, Jean believes there are great organizations out there that need some helping hands. She wants to love those whom society has deemed unlovable, clothe those in need and feed the hungry with unconditional love. In 2005, she began mission work in Peru that continues today. Every summer she goes into the streets, schools, orphanages, hospitals and prisons showing those in a developing countries that they are loved.
Ruby Tilghman, 17, of Panama City, Florida, is a fierce Fine Arts advocate, founder of the non-profit, Many Mini Musicians and author of “Ruby’s Recital,” a children’s book about finding your passion. Having identified a key component disappearing from her school district’s curriculum due to budgetary cuts, Ruby built an organization, compiled a board of community professionals to oversee it, partnered with an accredited foundation and provided Fine Arts grants directly to classrooms. Over the last six years, Ruby has hosted community concerts featuring young musicians to raise money to support Fine Arts programming throughout her state and positively impacting thousands of students. She is also the founder of the Youth Community Arts Alliance where she mentors students across the country on how to impact their own communities through Fine Arts initiatives. She has inspired countless young artists and given them the tools to pursue their passions and use their unique gifts to enact positive change.
Khloe is an international philanthropist with the heart of gold. Khloe started how own charity at the age of 8 to support women experiencing homelessness, she uses her platform to inspire and motivate other youth to be change makers and one a year she installs water pumps and bathroom facilities in schools that don’t have access to clean safe water. Through the years Khloe has been a community leader. Khloe has lead community service projects that span from organizing hygiene events in homeless communities, providing essential mask during the beginning of the pandemic, providing, leading global youth activations, helping other youth identify and find their passions, supporting youth in Ghana, supplies over 10,000 kids with school supplies, and the list goes on. Khloe is an example of how one person can make a ripple effect to inspire other youth around the world to be change makers. Khloe knows that one person can’t ham the world, but one person can make a difference. Khloe has inspired so many and helped other youth see their potential by being a great role model. With all that Khloe does, she is a dual enrollment student that has excellent grades.
Hannah has struggled with mental health conditions since age 8. She had to leave school at 14-years-old due to her mental health worsening to the point she could no longer attend.
After years of struggling for support and exhausting her options, Hannah felt defeated, but the pandemic gave her new motivation to support the next generation. After the schools closed due to COVID-19, she was still out of work but wanted to do all she could to help so she began to volunteer. In 2020, she volunteered 250 hours over six months.
Hannah then launched a youth-led access initiative, One/Third Project, and has since brought on several volunteers to help provide academic, employability and emotional services to young people with disrupted educational histories.
Hannah has since been nominated for a few awards, been featured in media outlets and been invited to a number of events as a guest speaker on behalf of young people across the UK. She is grateful to have a small platform to give a voice to those who may have been left behind by the systems in place currently. If her experiences can help just one young person, she has done a good job in her eyes.
Ashley Kyalwazi founded The MV3 Foundation when she was a second year medical student at Harvard Medical School. Ashley is the daughter of Michael and Winnie Kyalwazi- Ugandan immigrants who came to the U.S. seeking opportunities that were not afforded to them growing up in a country being run by a dictatorship. As a first-generation, low-income college student hoping to become a physician, Ashley faced many challenges on her path to becoming a medical student and recognizes the impact that meaningful mentorship and early exposure to careers in medicine had on her educational trajectory. In 2020, in her second year of medical school, Ashley founded The MV3 Foundation in order to bridge the gaps that exist for many Black students who hope to enter into health or biomedical science fields. In doing this, her goal was to create a national community that supports young Black scholars across the country by increasing access to academic and professional mentorship and resources, so that they feel empowered to not just see themselves in these fields, but confidently believe in their ability to be positive change makers throughout their careers. The Foundation completed a 6-month pilot program and begins its inaugural program this Fall.
When COVID shut the world down, Kaysie knew immediately that it was imperative to keep the community together and engaged – even if distanced. Her long-time dream came to fruition and she started the nonprofit Orange County Children’s Museum.
Since the shutdown they have implemented over 150 events, activities, classes, virtual family nights, arts & crafts, take-and-make kits, DIY decor, food truck nights, parades, scavenger hunts, game nights, holiday celebrations, graduation parades, online contests, a 5K, time capsules, educational materials, free photo shoots, mobile DJ parties, car parades, homemade gifts for hospice patients and more! While 2020 was hard, she’s thankful for it. It allowed her to show her girls that we are able to endure hard things; we don’t give up, we can thrive in the midst of uncertainty, it’s okay to be scared, and it’s also okay to be brave. And to always act with a kind and philanthropic heart. Her hope is that they were able to, or one day will be able to, recognize that we kept our sense of community close to heart, and did our best. In the middle of every awful situation, you can always find people helping. We are the helpers!
For the last 53 years the Commanding Officer of Patrol Borough Brooklyn South Auxiliary Police with 13 police precincts and over 800 volunteer police officers under my command. We patrol the streets and Houses of Worship in our commands ensuring the safety of the communities. I also created the first F.E.M.A. Community Emergency Response Team in NYC in 2002 Battery Park city CERT then Port Richmond CERT in Staten Island, Brooklyn South CERT in Community District 14 Brooklyn and finally New York 1 CERT in Borough Park Brooklyn. All these teams after I created and trained them as a FEMA CERT Instructor were grandfathered into NYC Emergency Management. In 2004 I trained the entire New York State Guard Division of Military and Naval Affairs at Camp Smith NY. In the same military capacity I was the Logistics Section Chief on the podium at Pier 92 the backup home of NYC Office of Emergency Management, and was the only one on duty when Flight 587 crashed into Belle Harber Queens and set up the Command Post and all equipment necessary to deal with the crash. In November 2012 I was Charlie Company Commander for 24 NYS National Guard and 15 State Guard soldiers for three and a half months at Citifield, the NY Guard is all volunteer.
Cashenna A. Cross is a decorated retired veteran of the United States Air Force and an accomplished Department of Defense and community and international leader (NATO) with more than 30 years of community service and experience in government, planning and project management, and philanthropy. On August 18, 2021, Mrs. Cross was sworn into a four-year term as Mayor of the City of Glenarden, Maryland where she became only the third female and the 18th Mayor in the City’s 82-year history. She previously served on the city’s ethics commission Vice Chairman. Selected by county executive of Prince George’s to serve on the Hope in Action Task Force addressing the countywide disenfranchisement of our youth. A 25-year financial member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. having served all-mankind diligently in the arts, health and wellness campaigns, math and science and international engagement. Wife and Mother of two superstars committed to serving our community and youth engagement through screen acting and theater. Leads the community outreach to reach 6200 everyday and provide support for the good of the served community. Believing in the fruits of the spirit principles with God’s grace and mercy has received countless accolades.
Sharon loves to volunteer and has been giving back for over forty years. She began volunteering in high school and her passion for service continued to grow over the years. She is a wife and mother of two, an Air Force veteran, former Space Shuttle Program team member, and author. Even though she has a very busy life she always makes time to serve others.
She adopts families for the holidays, distributes goodie bags, coats, blankets to the homeless. She reads to children at local day cares and libraries and dresses in costume for most of her visits. She performs random acts of kindness paying for washers/dryers at local laundromats. She also helps lay wreaths on fallen soldiers’ graves.
She cooked breakfast for the Houston Ronald McDonald House residents, donated books, and pajamas to kids in foster care, donated bras and panties in support of women in prison, participates in 5K walks helping raising funds for various organizations, and cleans up beaches.
Sharon also shares her time and wisdom as a mentor with The Patti Grace Smith Fellowship and TWST4Girls and is waiting to be assigned a “Little” through BBBS. She was recently recognized for her community service efforts as the winner of Houston’s Remarkable Women contest.
Aashraya is a transnational practitioner of sustainable development goals, a social educator and an innovator who has voluntarily designed over a dozen projects in gender for the empowerment of women and girls. Looking at the dire condition of public schools in India, where girls drop out of school when they start menstruating in India, Aashraya invented India’s most affordable non-electric sanitary pad vending machine that costs only $28 to dispense biodegradable pads. His initiative, ‘Menstrual Hygiene Friendly Spaces,’ is working towards menstrual equity, installing pad vending machines at all public schools, with education on sexual and reproductive health and rights.
His initiative supports over 50,000 underserved and tribal school-going girls with free biodegradable sanitary pads every month, which helps them continue their school. Recently, he has also designed a $1 cloth pad/period underwear and a $10 biodegradable incinerator for menstruators in rural India.
Aashraya has been a part of several bilateral and multilateral projects of the British, Indian and Australian governments; however, alongside his work in foreign affairs, he enjoys volunteering for programs in gender and solving community problems using innovation.
Melina Moghadassian is an Artist, Producer & founder of Humans for the Arts based in New York. Melina is an alumni of the Stella Adler studio of Acting. She has appeared in a performance at the Stella Adler Studio called “A Bright Room Called Day “ directed by John Gould Rubin and in an off Broadway Show called “Almost Maine” by John Cariani. Melina is currently training with Hollywood coach Bernard Hiller to develop her craft more. Melina, Actresses Eliana Ghen and Sandra Gitau produced and starred together in their short film called “ Bridesmaids Tale” which got also accepted into the Outshine Film Festival. In 2021 Melina founded her Nonprofit called “Humans for the Arts” to foster academic, emotional, economical & psychological advancement through Arts education and Art therapy for disempowered youth and youth at risk. Outside of Humans for the Arts, Melina is teaching acting classes to students who want to pursue acting as a profession. Since the age of 15 Melina has been actively volunteering and contributing to communities/ cities and countries. Through her support & engagement, Melina could succeed in building a school in Kongo and support Shakiras foundation “Pies Descalzos” For Kids in Columbia.
Aaditri an 8year old has been volunteering for past 2 plus years for a great cause in saving and protecting the planet. She is a member of Recycle my battery a non-profit organization. She has spread lot of awareness in our community by collecting batteries, conducting drives and also by educating many about the importance of recycling in all the ways. She made a positive impact on us. Her great ideas and thoughts towards saving the planet were remarkable. Her articles and art works towards saving environment were very impressive and were easily understandable to all ages. Many kids and adults got inspired with her work and joined the cause. She made an great impact to society. She placed bins at schools, libraries and many other communities. Her global presentations in spreading the cause and educating people were very interesting. Her positive attitude and hard work will make a great impact on our society. She recycled more than 10,000 plus batteries and volunteered more than 700 plus hours. Once asked Aaditri mentioned by doing this I would like to save present and future generations. Well, it improved the overall quality of life and protects the ecosystem and need to be diligent and focused and can surely achieve wonders.
Pallavi Priya is a sustainable lifestyle content creator and digital influencer from India.
She has more than 10+ years of volunteering, planning & event organizing experience into social and environmental sector. She is the founder of a social initiative ‘Cause for Celebration’ which works on the objective of serving, empowering and uplifting the uderprivileged section of the society.
She is the Global Youth Climate Network MTE Climate Ambassador representing India. She runs a digital initiative across the social media platform called ‘Ecofriendly World’ which works in line with SDG 13 and spread awareness on climate action.
She is a Podcaster and spreading solutions about climate crisis through her Podcast ‘Ecofriendly Kind World’ which is available on Anchor, Spotify and Google Podcast and heard in 30+ countries.
She has conducted more than 1000 meetups, DIY sessions, Go Green Challenges on environment protection initiatives and awareness on eco friendly products and have reached 10,000+ individuals from across the world.
She has planted 10,000+ trees till date and convinced people around to join me to tackle climate change through tree plantations.
Sanya Pirani is a sophomore at Prior Lake High School, Minnesota. She is the founder/CEO of Sanya’s Hope For Children (a nonprofit organization) as well as the youth ambassador for the CAP Agency in Scott, Dakota, and Carver Counties since 2015. Sanya’s Hope For Children (SHFC) was founded in January 2017 with a commitment to supporting local & global impoverished children and helping children by transforming communities one life at a time. With half the world’s population under age 25, SHFC’s mission is to help young people gain the basic necessities of life, fund educational endeavors, find their voice, take action, and make an impact on vital community issues. Sanya currently gives back 100% of her fundraising profit to the community in need. At only 15 years old, she is already making an impact on a large scale. Sanya’s service journey began when she was seven and a half years old. Under Sanya’s leadership, SHFC has successfully raised over $70,000 to 120,000 worth of goods and monetary donations every year for homeless and marginalized families. Sanya launched her online marketplace to sell her products and 100% of her profit is dedicated to helping children and families in need.
Rayansh Boddu has been volunteering for more than 2.5 years recycling used batteries. He is passionate about saving Mother Earth in whatever way he can. He works almost every day after he is back from school by attending local events to spread messages or by placing battery bins in near by locations for collecting used batteries. Not only just batteries, he is now volunteering to collect the used electronic items to donate to people who are in need. He also has become an Earth Buddy on Save Soil movement to spread awareness about saving our own soil to save our lives. He is an inspiration to many at this very young age (9years). He is a public speaker and does express in public about what he is wishing everyone to do. His favorite quote “A Small Drop in the ocean can make a big difference in the world. I’m just a drop in the ocean, if more people get added to it. Together we can make a HUGE difference” Also, Remember There is No PLANET B!!!
He always uses the above two quotes to bring the attention from audience in saving mother earth in whatever way we can.
After retiring in 2019, Katheleen heard a news story that the local animal shelter was over-crowded and under-staffed and that was her catalyst to get involved. Katheleen learned of multiple duties she could help with to enhance the shelter’s mission to keep animals healthy and socialized, which increases their potential for adoption into a forever family and home.
She comes to the shelter every week and along with the pets and scratches, gives dogs exercise, playtime, and reinforces their training skills, and she also works with new volunteers to provide one-on-one mentoring on the shelter’s best practices for dog interactions.
When able, Katheleen cleans cat kennels, showcases dogs at adoption events, and transports dogs and cats to area vets for vaccinations and spaying/neutering. Katheleen finds that every day with shelter animals is rewarding, whether it is because she was able to provide basic kindness and comfort or because she was able to earn tail wags, kisses or snuggles. Seeing a dog or cat be healthy and happy in the moment is a joy, but there is nothing better than seeing them leave or discovering they are gone from week to week because they were adopted!
Maria is the daughter of Mexican immigrants and was the first in the family to graduate college. She grew up in North Alabama having a passion for the arts, photography/video, music and technology. This led her to study Digital Arts and Design at Full Sail University in Winter Park, FL.
To quote the phrase from the musical “The Sound of Music,” “How do you solve a problem like Maria?” This truly represents what it’s like to be Maria. Any obstacle she has faced, she has done so with passion. From arts and music, civic and social causes and now currently volunteering with Teach-Technology Organization, Inc., her motivation is always having a curiosity to understand issues people face and how best to serve them.
In 2020, COVID-19 struck and for Maria it began a journey of disability. The stigma was no longer enough to avoid her silent struggles with mental health. She couldn’t do her job anymore — at least not like before. But despite her disability, she wanted to volunteer.
At Teach-Tech she was able to use her design and social media skills in a way that wasn’t too taxing yet allowed her to flourish. With Teach-Tech being remote, it’s made her realize the possibilities of working again with some accommodations.
Ava Tsapatsaris is passionate about making a difference and leading positive change. She is the founder of Uniting Against Breast Cancer, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that serves as a patient navigation service to connect underserved women in New York City, Westchester County and Long Island to cost-free breast cancer screening services in their area.
Since middle school, Ava has enjoyed her role as a three-time Emmy-nominated lead on-air reporter for My9’s Teen Kids News, where she has used her platform to amplify the mission of the Loukoumi Make A Difference Foundation. In Advanced Science Research, a three year honors course at her high school, Ava has published two scientific research articles on barriers to breast cancer screening among medically underserved women and the effectiveness of mobile mammography in reaching marginalized patient populations with Dr. Melissa Reichman of Weill-Cornell Medicine. As the project leader for The Loukoumi Make A Difference Foundation Treatment Room at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Ava has raised over $15,000 to fund a literacy and treatment room for the patients at St. Jude to learn and receive treatment simultaneously. Ava’s goal is to be a physician and medical correspondent.
Jessica Burke is a sophomore at Hamilton High School in Chandler, Arizona. She is the founder of Otium, an internationally recognized food science blog. Jessica has always been involved in the world of food, regularly throwing herself into any cooking class she could attend. During one of the classes, she was making a marinade for a chicken recipe. Curious, she asked how the chicken attains the flavor of the marinade. To her surprise, the teacher did not have an answer. She was shocked; how did this professional chef not know the science behind his art?
Stemming from the desire to help teach her cooking instructor, she was introduced to food science and how the food industry works. Furthermore, she started to realize how detrimental the restaurant industry is on the environment. On average, 85% of food in a restaurant is wasted. In the summer of 2019, she decided to share her passion of food science by creating this blog, Otium. She shares informational posts about the science and culture behind the food industry. The community is what drives the project. Questions are sent from all over 90 countries asking questions such as what is an instant pot. Currently, over 3 million individuals visit the blog monthly.
Zohaib has been volunteering since the pandemic began in March 2020, when all of our lives changed. Many things in the world were unsettling, but as a former hematology patient, Zohaib could not stomach the fact that the doctors and nurses who helped save his life just a few years back did not have the proper PPE to help others in such a giant health crisis.
When a close family friend who was also a distressed ER doctor came over to Zohaib’s house to borrow some swim caps to cover her hair for her shift in the ER, Zohaib got the idea he could maybe find shower caps for the entire ER staff to use as PPE for headgear. Zohaib quickly checked with the ER if that would help and they said they would take anything unopened. So he quickly started calling local area hotels that were empty and not only found hundreds of shower caps but also gloves, masks and sanitizer. As more hotels became eager to help, Zohaib’s efforts grew into collecting several thousand units of PPE for the frontlines of Metro DC. To date he has been able to give back to over 20,000 frontline workers. His efforts have been recognized by VA Governor Northam, President Obama and many media outlets. He continues to provide free PPE kits for anyone who needs it (unhoused individuals, hospitalized children, etc.)
Palakh Khanna is a 19-year-old youth changemaker, social entrepreneur, mentor, teacher and environmentalist. A world record holder, she is also working as a Harvard Innovation Fellow and a GirlUp India cohort member.
Palakh is the founder of Break.The.Ice, an International Youth organization working towards discussing taboo topics and creating an enlightened youth community. A UN SDSN Youth member organization, Break.The.Ice has impacted more than 25,000 individuals and has members from over 10 countries. Along with Break.The.Ice, Palakh has also been teaching underserved children English. She is also a mentor under the Desh ka Mentor program by the Government Of Delhi, where she helps young children navigate their lives and hone their skills more efficiently. The youngest coach and panelist for the Business Blasters program, a Govt. Of Delhi initiative, Palakh is working towards creating a better society for all!
Jessica has been advocating for women and girls in Liberia for the past ten years. Her passion for this field has led her to start a nonprofit to cater for the needs of women and girls. She is one of those people who is always speaking up about violence against women on social media. She goes beyond her boundaries to help marginalized women — not just advocating for women, but also creating programs to empower them economically. She goes to rural communities educating women on how to stand up for their rights. Jessica is so passionate about her vision that there’s no obstacle that can stop her. She is a determined, innovative, irresistible and caring leader. She has impacted so many lives both in and out of Liberia. She is the voice of the voiceless.
Sixteen-year-old Srikar Surapaneni from Ridgeline High school in Liberty Lake, Washington, has volunteered to teach free math lessons at elementary schools since the age of 11. During quarantine he taught math competitive tips and tricks to kids for ages 7-17, including 45 free lessons on Zoom to over 1,500 kids. He not only taught math to kids but also to adults with autism. He kept the students engaged and entertained with fun magic tricks during his math lessons.
Once school went back to normal, Srikar started back with in-person volunteering, contributing his time teaching competitive math at middle schools. Other than math and magic, he also volunteers his time sharing about Indian culture with the greater local community. He serves the unhoused by packing food and delivering meals to them. He also serves as a youth board member for Liberty Lake Parks and Recreation, Junior Advisory Board for Spokane County interstate fair and Indian Youth Club of Spokane.
Dr. Kathy L. Tatum used her own experiences with childhood trauma to eventually serve as founder and president of Collaborating Voices Foundation. The organization’s mission is to rescue families from human trafficking and domestic violence, to stop hunger, to plant community gardens, to do outreach with unhoused individuals, to help veterans and to educate the community in financial literacy, government contracts and running nonprofits.
Kathy has been Congressionally recognized and has won multiple awards, including the White House AmeriCorps Point of Light Presidential Lifetime Volunteer Award 2021 and the SME Humanitarian Award 2021.
Roshan Shah is founder of VoicesGo, an organization dedicated to improving the lives of people with disabilities. The mission of VoicesGo is to offer resources to families, parents, students and school districts to empower people with disabilities to procure a communication device. This can be done through insurance, grants, scholarships and loans, so that when they leave a school district so they can continue to experience inclusion and to communicate fully.
Roshan is President of his high school’s Best Buddies Chapter and volunteers at Sports4Exceptional Athletes. Roshan is also an active member of the UCSD Youth Advisory Council which brings diverse youth together to address community health issues.
Roshan is also winner of the Digital4Good and a Riley’s Way Fellow. He plans to use the funds he raised and from the grant from Riley’s Way to create a lending library of communication devices and application for students who can’t speak in San Diego County. He is also working on proposing a law in the California State legislature to systematically support students with special needs.
During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, James, under the guidance of The Office of Contra Costa County Supervisor Gioia and in partnership with The Men & Women of Valor, delivered relief supplies to senior centers, health care centers, children’s centers, and homeless shelters located in some of the San Francisco Bay Area’s most vulnerable or economically burdened urban communities.
He found donors, forged and cultivated partnerships with business owners, managers, and even Native American tribal leaders from some of the most recognizable business franchises operating in Northern California while simultaneously engaging in the hands on creation, collection, restoration, preparation and redistribution of PPE materials and all usable equipment available.
He invested more than 2,000 hours and recruited 36 volunteers to provide an additional 200 hours. James devoted all his available time, resources and strength toward producing, innovating and most importantly delivering as much of these materials as possible. By the end of his campaign he had amassed 3 tons of relief supplies, including 30,000 sq yards of fabric. Comparable in size to more than 400,000 2-ply face masks or nearly 5 football fields of fabric, along with collecting 23 working sewing machines and much more.
Since the age of nine, Jae has maintained active duties as a leader and worked with youth to increase interest in STEM subjects. He is a student advocate for an awareness organization called “Love A Sea Turtle” (LAST).
LAST is a youth-led organization that highlights youth empowerment and environmental conservation. Through innovative programs providing leadership, summer camps for underserved youth, a platform to learn about real-world issues, and a way to engage with his surrounding community, he has guided this coalition into an internationally recognized organization. Over the past seven years, Jae developed a passion for the environment and strived to make his own change. This led to him creating his own initiative, Better Bag Solution, and co-leading the umbrella organization, Plastic Free NC.
Better Bag Solution is an eco-initiative that focuses on the harmful effects of single-use plastic bags, finding an alternative and educating the general public. While partnering with local businesses and restaurants, he has given away nearly 1,000 reusable bags and educated countless citizens in his local area. With his personal projects, Jae hopes to inspire change in others and broaden his impact throughout the state.
Ray has been helping several immigrant seniors for two years to improve their English and prepare for the citizenship language exam. The seniors are all over 65 years old and come from outside of the U.S. They didn’t speak English before immigrating and had no clue how to prepare for the Citizenship Language Exam. After Ray learned about their dilemma, he decided to help these seniors to improve their English and prepare for the exam.
Every time Ray has free time, like Thanksgiving break, winter break or summer break, he comes to the senior living house and offers free English tutoring classes. Ray prepared many learning materials and went over each of the 128 questions in the 2021 version of the Civil Test issued by USCIS and helps the seniors understand the questions one by one.
As immigrants from abroad, the seniors truly feel the love, friendship and social support from what a teenager does. Ray shows what good citizenship means and sets a good example for other kids to follow.
Jennifer’s service story begins at a young age when she participated in mission projects in Washington, DC with her parents. It is here that she learned what serving others really meant. Entering adulthood, she still looked beyond her teacher duties to find ways to serve others. After retiring, Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast. Training with the Virginia Beach CERT team and partnering with her church, she made several trips to Mississippi to help with recovery.
Her church asked her to coordinate missions which included running an outreach ministry and food pantry. It is here that she was inspired to work with the unhoused. It was during this time that she made connections to other faith groups, nonprofits and city departments to find ways to serve the under-resourced.
After 12 years of volunteering as director of Potter’s House at Virginia Beach UMC, she stepped down to be able to spend more time with family. That did not mean that she stopped serving others. As the city opened the Housing Resource Center, she helped its Day Center. She also became a part of BEACH Faith in Action and BEACH Community Partnership to share resources found in the community.
Christa is a first-generation student. Once she got to college, she realized there were questions she didn’t know she should ask when looking at careers. In college, she benefited from the structure of a good mentor who helped her identify strengths to map her educational experiences.
In 2022, Christa began volunteering for Speakhire.org. The organization’s goal is to help students explore secondary education opportunities as they may be adapting to new languages and cultures. These students likely have the same questions and uncertainties that she did in high school. Talking with students about the value of volunteering and contributing to the community is a part of her mentoring philosophy.
Christa has volunteered for 11 years at Healing Through the Arts, a nonprofit that curates an annual art show of student-created work which is donated to hospitals and area medical facilities. She is a photographer who frequently collaborates on creativity workshops with Lehigh University’s Art Gallery and the Office of Student Affairs.
She teaches by example, translating the soft skills used in photography to a variety of career experiences and also fostering creativity, mental health and mindfulness in everyday life.
Kean co-founded the Environmental Droners as a means to identify trash areas utilizing drone technology. After receiving a GripTape Youth Driving Learning grant and additional financial support from “Love A Sea Turtle” (LAST), a drone was purchased and the program was put into action. Polluted areas are filmed, groups and organizations are contacted to lead clean-ups, and local collaborative efforts have led to the recent development and implementation of a SmartTrash app. Kean is determined to make an impact through the use of technology for a clean environment. He has been successful in his efforts through community partnerships with students, scientists and conservation-focused organizations.
Danyell has been volunteering in the community for four years. She helps unhoused individuals and families and the needy in Ascension, East Baton Rouge, Livingston, St. John the Baptist Parish and St. James Parish, and has also helped a family in Lafourche, Louisiana.
She hosted a Christmas Gift Giveaway, along with a Christmas Eve Jambalaya Plate giveaway in December of 2021. She has provided Disaster Relief Supplies to all the parishes listed above along with Lafitte, Louisiana. These supplies included disaster clean up buckets, MRE’s, water, frozen foods for hot meals, hot meals to the families in Walker, Louisiana with the help of The American Red Cross and Agape Baptist Church.
Danyell continues to help the community by providing clothes, baby food, diapers and non-congregate shelters (motel/hotel) stay to unhoused individuals/families. She provides care packages, words of encouragement, non-perishable food, hot food, water, drinks, hygiene kits, clothes, shoes, bibles, first aid kits, feminine products, dog food and cat food, and has even helped individuals get new IDs and drivers licenses when they need assistance. The smallest gift goes a long way and it’s always a pleasure to help.
Yasmin is an esthetician that has dedicated much of her life to caring for the unhoused population in Los Angeles and Orange County in a unique and personal way. Every day, she positively impacts the community by giving them hope and caring for them. Providing skin care, hygiene and essential services to unhoused people, Yasmin is showering the world with love, one person and one human interaction at a time.
LuKesha Tate has been volunteering for over ten years by serving the communities from the Southside of Chicago, Illinois to the South Suburban areas and Northwest Indiana with Better Sister and Brother Growth Network nonprofit organization. She helps provide meals to unhoused individuals, participates in clothing give aways, is active in community outreach, participates in events against domestic violence, takes part in toy/back-to-school drives and helps deliver mobile food boxes to families and elderly individuals during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Roselyn started her own nonprofit organization to spread cheer to nursing homes all over her state. With Roselyn’s Caring Canvases, she creates personalized canvas paintings, each a bit different, for every resident in each facility. To date, she has painted 512 canvases and continues to paint more each month. She also teaches painting classes using new skills she learns in her 6th grade art class at school. Roselyn loves art and loves honoring her grandfather, who passed away from Alzheimer’s, through this project. She loves seeing the excitement and smiles when she delivers her paintings. It’s also fun to see a resident’s happy face showing off their own painting after an art class. Roselyn’s kindness shines through her special work.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, global health came to the forefront. The whole world had to heal together to come out of this pandemic and that’s what Meha’s mission is for Ayuda Foundation. With Meha’s passion and leadership, Ayuda has become an international organization supporting global health. Ayuda’s achievements include helping thousands with COVID relief efforts across Asia, from Egypt to Brazil to the war relief efforts in Ukraine. With COVID converting into an endemic, Meha is determined to support global health awareness. Donating monthly health kits to homeless and low-income families and school students and conducting awareness workshops are continuing efforts of Ayuda.
Jeffrey is the 17-year-old founder of Golden Age Karate. He was awarded inclusion in the USA Martial Arts Hall of Fame and earned his blackbelt in Tang Soo Do at the age of 13. Jeffrey decided to take his martial arts skills and travel to a less-served community of seniors to help change their outlook on life. Jeffrey began traveling to nursing homes and homebound seniors to teach them martial arts.
When the pandemic hit, Jeffrey developed a YouTube Channel that allowed his classes to both continue locally and expand to other states and eventually around the globe as his story was picked up by a South African Media outlet and utilized in the airports, malls and Ubers in South Africa. Jeffrey also developed a program that would help to improve the memory and overall health of his senior students, leading to a decrease in medications and slowing of memory loss of his students.
As in-person classes resumed, Jeffrey found out how valuable his classes were in reducing the sedentary behaviors of his students while improving their outlooks on life. His seniors felt both valued, and valuable as they began to feel stronger and more empowered. The seniors took ownership over their health again and turned into hundreds of real life Ninja Nanas across the US.
Therapeutic Play Foundation (TPF) is a 501(c)(3) organization that helps distressed school-aged children and their support systems with access to non-traditional, culturally inclusive arts and play based therapeutic services through education, outreach and advocacy. The vision is to heal the emotional wellbeing of our global community through play. TPF is based in Pasadena, California but serves Los Angeles County, surrounding areas and anyone in need. TPF has been operating since 2015 but, in 2020, the organization experienced exponential growth as the COVID-19 pandemic unearthed the national need for comprehensive mental health services for families and especially children. However, although the pandemic subsides, the rising expectations for accessible, quality therapy services. In fact, with violent acts occurring in public places once considered safe, the need for building resilience and coping is now imperative. Nakeya considers it her mission to empower wellness and self care routines for all.
Nakeya serves as President of the Board for TPF and is also faculty at CSU, Northridge and leads Innovative Wellness Consulting as CEO. Her commitment to being of service to collective wellness and mental health is proven.
Don is the embodiment of public service. As a boy, he saw a story in his local paper about the new town manager, and he knew that was what he wanted to be. Despite humble beginnings, that’s exactly what he did. His family was poor, so he enlisted in the Army. He served for a year and a half in Germany, which enabled him to attend The University of Maine under the GI Bill. He did so well that he was recommended for full fellowship in the MPA program at Wharton.
After short stints in city management in Skokie, IL and Oberlin, OH, he took the job of town manager in Arlington, MA, where he served for 34 years, until he retired in 2000. At the time, he was the longest-serving municipal manager in the state. During his tenure, he tirelessly advocated to turn the town’s defunct rails into trails. Upon his retirement, the town named the bike path in his honor. Don always knew he wanted a life of public service, and he spent 50 years of his life dedicating himself to exactly that.
Last summer Arav was given the opportunity to volunteer at the Jeena Organization for the Yahaan event. This event was an opportunity for differently abled individuals to express themselves by performing in front of large audiences by displaying their learned talent obtained during instructor-led classes.
As a volunteer, he was able to assist the administrative team set up numerous props, website sign-ups and technical factors for the event. The most important part of the volunteering experience for him was the opportunity to truly engage and help these individuals embrace their true talent culturally and artistically by fulfilling their dreams of performing on a larger scale. The class Arav helped teach was the tabla and Indian classical music performance class where he instructed these children on the basics of the Indian instrument “tabla” while also giving singing lessons and showing them how to stay calm under the pressure of large crowds. In general rather than simply being a volunteer for an organization, he felt enriched teaching what he loved to a strong group of people who have been shunned in the artistic community. He will forever cherish that experience and hope to partake in future events.
Sunook Yoon’s story began in the summer of 2020, when he first got the chance to volunteer with a local environmental organization, LAST. Since then, Sunook has participated in multiple cleanups, community events, and leadership programs, while developing and learning skill sets to overcome challenges. Now, he is seen as a leader and advocate for the community, focusing on the issues regarding the environment.
Working with another LAST student, Sunook has co-founded the Environmental Droners, a project dedicated to reducing the amount of pollution in the environment by implementing technology. Using drones, Sunook has identified countless trash sites and polluted areas to raise awareness by using social media, communicating with local governments, and partnering with local organizations and businesses.
Sunook has also collaborated with students and scientists at East Carolina University’s Water Resource Center to help develop the Litter Locator App. This app allows users across the world to document litter with photos and georeferenced locations, resulting in the involvement throughout communities. Sunook is dedicated, hard working and exemplifies what it takes to be a leader and change-maker for the world.
As a young child, Patt watched her mother care for children and others. It always made people happy. She knew that’s what she wanted to do when she grew up. So she did civic acts like feeding the unhoused and volunteering. In 1995, she contacted businesses that donated to a Christmas party for kids. The results were overwhelming, so this became an annual event at various kid-themed and high-end restaurants with quality gifts. People who were positive role models to come speak to the youth about the dangers of street gangs, staying in school and about their professions. Benny the Bull (the Chicago Bulls mascot) would perform.
Patt’s charity, Monday Night With The Kids, operates with volunteers. Throughout the years she takes underprivileged youth to sports events at Chicago Bulls, Bears, White Sox and Cubs games.
During Thanksgiving time, she goes to Chicago’s Lower Wacker Drive area, feeding the unhoused. Patt has been off work since February 2022 and continues to go to food pantries to feed seniors and others. Since COVID-19, she has purchased meals and gives to unhoused individuals daily.
Miss Rodgers is the founder and executive director of Miss Rodgers’ Neighborhood, a community-driven, nonprofit organization established in 2015, working to create services and generate resources for unhoused, economically disadvantaged and at-risk youth, individuals and families throughout Los Angeles.
She’s also a formerly unhoused and incarcerated single mother of two with a passion for helping others heal and reach self-actualization. Her certifications include Human Services, Family and Addiction Studies, Victimology and Conflict Resolution.
Volunteers are always needed for Miss Rodgers’ Neighborhood, and there are nothing but stellar reviews from previous participants!
In Miss Rodgers’ Neighborhood, the community is family, and their unity is their wealth.
An early morning knock on the door in 2017 would unfold a parents’ worst nightmare. Laura’s youngest son had been murdered. From their loss they created JLK in Jarrod’s honor, with a mission to reach kids before they make life altering decisions, offering them hope, sound guidance and programs and initiatives that address societal traps. They fund various programs, speak to many youth groups and fund necessary causes all aimed at teaching values, honor, responsibility and integrity as well as building character.
They believe that no family should have to endure such a great loss. However, parents can’t be everywhere and that is where self awareness and good judgement comes in. Wisdom is imparted upon young impressionable hearts and minds through engagements and role plays. There are many different avenues kids can take in life, and Laura helps them to understand that it is in their best interest to take the roads less traveled, to soar as an eagle rather than being a chicken pecking in the dirt. They have seen dramatic results in the kids they work with, and they celebrate their successes and encourage them to have a hand out to help others up. It’s just that simple.
Being a single mom with a demanding full-time corporate job has not stopped Doris from dedicating her time to help the most vulnerable students succeed in life. For nearly three decades, she served on the board of Youth Communication, a NYC nonprofit that provides powerful, teen-written stories and professional development to help educators and youth workers engage young people. She held sessions with students to enable them to protect their privacy while navigating the web. As a mentor to dozens of students at the seminal early college P-TECH in Brooklyn, created by IBM, she offered them guidance in building academic, professional and technical skills they need for today’s work force.
Doris continues focusing on opening up educational and leadership opportunities for Latino youth by volunteering as a board member at ASPIRA of New York and promoting the importance of science, technology, engineering and math, serving on the board of the Harlem Gallery of Science which prepares youth from marginalized communities for careers in the tech sector. As a Dominican immigrant, Doris is happiest when she can be a role model for Latino students so they can visualize all the opportunities available to them to make their dreams a reality!
Lauren has been volunteering since she was 4 years old. She began by sharing practical gifts with the senior members of her church. She has executed a Loose Change Art Show where her art work was displayed and coins donated benefitted a local charity.
In 2016, she was selected out of 5.2 million students by the State Board of Education as Hero of the Year because of her heart of service.
At the age of 12, she began her own community service academy where she works alongside 26 young people on service projects throughout the year. Lauren’s Academy focuses on food distribution, as well as supporting seniors and unhoused individuals.
Lauren believes there is a need for young people to be involved in service. Her academy’s foundation is built on training and leading future servant-leaders. This is one way Lauren continues to make this world a better place one act of service at a time.
In every facet of Lauren’s life, she has attempted to be a positive role model. Her goal in life is to achieve success in the medical profession, provide leadership opportunities for the youth, live a life that impacts others and help her community.
Lauren plans to attend Spelman College in the fall, where the motto is “A Choice To Change the World.”
Alyssa has dedicated almost 20 years in serving her community. She began volunteering as an EMT firefighter in middle school and continues to volunteer today. Her early volunteering led to an undergrad and graduate pursuit to serve others in a professional setting.
In 2019, right before the COVID-19 pandemic, she took on a new position in local government to serve her community in a greater capacity. She lead a team to set up mass vaccination sites, mass testing sites and response to the pandemic in collaboration with stakeholders in the community. She noticed a need for increased services and volunteers which led to spearheading multiple grants to bring needed funds for those community needs.
She leads the local Medical Reserve Corps and focuses on recruiting new volunteers. She ensures the community is prepared by teaching hands only CPR, Stop the Bleed, first aid, emergency kits and safety training to residents, volunteers and county staff. Alyssa focuses her volunteer, professional and academic pursuits to better serve others. She is always looking for the best way to serve others and broaden her service reach.
Everyone in the world possesses unique narratives and wisdom that often goes unheard. Considering this, 14-year-old Murshidul established Team Bertho, a platform where he compiled life lessons globally & made them available to everyone.
Using the means of art, education and media this youth-led organization documents, designs and conveys human wisdom from different citizens. With an inclusive approach to collect stories from a diverse multitude of different races, ages, genders, statuses and occupations, today it has reached about 450,000 people and received participants from 79 countries.
The popularity of Team Bertho owing to Murshidul’s outstanding leadership has earned him remarkable accolades including The Diana Award, Fellowship at The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust & UNICEF Meena Media Award. He’s also the author of the book “Fueling Hope,” a compilation of anecdotes collected from various individuals that portray admiration to the world and its people.
The visionary mind of Murshidul aspires to construct an empathetic society by providing everyone the advice harvested from human experiences. In the future, he intends to further extend his network and create a global platform where everyone will be connected through their shared life lessons.
When Lorelei Darling was just a month shy of 8-years-old, she took her first step into the world of philanthropy. As the holidays approached, the young activist-to-be collected gifts to give to kids in foster care. Within a week, Lorelei collected a table full of gifts and decided to host the toy drive yearly.
At age twelve, Lorelei began to notice a lack of support for older youth in foster care. She researched the struggles of teens in the system, such as “aging out” of foster care, and the unfortunate tie between people in foster care becoming unhoused individuals later. She changed her Toy Drive to an annual Teen Holiday Drive. Instead of toys, Lorelei collected gifts for teens and Transitional Age Youth such as clothing, books, school supplies, hygiene kits, gift cards and more.
Fourteen-year-old Lorelei came to a realization. She yearned to do more for underserved teens. When she entered her first year of high school, Lorelei started a nonprofit of her very own called Teens4Teens.
Now, Lorelei is 17 and December 2022 will mark the ten-year anniversary of Lorelei’s Teen Holiday Drive. Teens4Teens grew with its founder. Lorelei is not only an advocate for foster and unhoused youth, but also provides underserved youth with essential items all year long.
During the height of the pandemic in 2020, when educational institutions were impacted by the lock down, a teenager based in Dubai decided to take it on herself to be a spark for positive change in the field of education for young women across the developing world. She launched an all-girls nonprofit organization called SpunkGo – Social Media for Good, which offers free educational webinars from professional speakers to young women typically in remote and rural settings.
The purpose of this non-traditional education protocol is to encourage young women to empower themselves and inspire them to grow professionally and personally. Fast forwarding to 2022, SpunkGo has grown leaps and is now present in over 20 countries across Africa and Asia, from Bangladesh to Ghana, and is run collectively by 30 young women who call themselves SpunkGo Ambassadors.
With a membership of over 5,000 young women worldwide, SpunkGo has tied up with KeyNote Women Speakers who assist Netra with high impact speakers. Netra has also partnered with Simbi Foundation, where SpunkGo members record books for displaced children in Uganda to listen to. SpunkGo also supports an orphanage in the Dandora regions of Kenya.
Rose Wilson is a trailblazer whose accomplishments have left a last impact on the Lubbock community. Elected in 1978, she was the first African American woman to become president of the Lubbock NAACP. She, along with other community leaders, advocated for North and East Lubbock to have representation in city government by spurring Lubbock to adopt single-member districts in 1984. Her advocacy paved the way for minorities to be elected to Lubbock City Council.
At the age of 94, Rose continues to be on the Executive Board for the Lubbock NAACP, and she serves on the LIFE Inc Board of Directors where she embraces the empowerment of people with disabilities. She also serves on the board for the South Plains Food Bank and on the Community Housing Resource Board. She is deeply involved in volunteering for Habitat for Humanity.
Her recent volunteering activities have included the League of Women Voters, Legal Aid of Northwest Texas, East Lubbock Community Alliance, Texas Access to Justice Foundation and the Lubbock Area Client Council. She is passionate about helping children and provided a home and trips for children for many years. Rose elevates and empowers all people.
Jonathan started Rescue Alliance as a way to be a advocate for abandoned and neglected animals. Soon after Jonathan realized that the problem was bigger than he anticipated so he started the Community and Disaster Pet Food Bank. Not only does he rescue animals locally but he responds to areas affected by hurricanes and flooding to save animals in disaster zones. Since the inception of of the pet food bank Jonathan has collected over 100,000 pounds of pet food and supplies and distributed it to families in need.
Michelle has been a volunteer for three years and has worked to increase awareness about the declining bee populations and ways to get involved in environmental conservation. She has been a member of the organization Love A Sea Turtle (LAST), a nonprofit focused on youth leadership and advocacy.
Over the past three years, Michelle was exposed to leadership and learned ways to help the community through volunteering and service learning through LAST. Through her interest for food and STEM education, she formed the Community For Environmental Sustainability as a way to help raise fresh produce for underrepresented communities and teach youth ways to help the ecosystem such as beekeeping and gardening.
She currently helps manage the Greenville Community Garden and Orchard and also works with ECU Sustainabilibees, a club dedicated to increase awareness about honey and native bees. She has helped donate thousands of pounds of canned goods and fresh produce throughout Eastern NC and is also working on teaching youth how to do beekeeping at summer camps. In the future, she hopes to get more teens involved in service learning throughout the county and expand her initiative to gain larger outreach.
Devina is a person who has always been selfless and dedicated to service. Her personality and principles led her to establish her nonprofit organization, DJ Center for Youth, Inc. (Center), which integrates the arts and academics. Through the Center, which she supports during her personal time and is powered solely by volunteers, she teaches to youth and their families the importance of servant-leadership and youth philanthropy through community stewardship.
She elevates the youth she works with and is around because she ensures that their voices are the ones leading community projects. She onboards youth leaders through training and workshops and then she steps aside and lets them lead. Devina shared, “the overarching goal of the Center is to develop a positive impact on the youth within our community with hopes this will create more socially conscious youth.”
The Center’s service-learning projects provide intentional programs and activities that are predominately hosted in BIPOC communities to address community needs through education, awareness and action.
Devin is an individual who has experienced addiction and mental health and uses her journey to instill passion and make changes within her community. Devin has a heart of service and is always willing to jump in and help wherever she is needed. Her overall vision is to create a community where recovery is not only possible but probable through restoring hope, repairing lives and rebuilding community.
Devin is the recipient of the Great State Hero Award for Crisis Assistance and the 2021 Chairman’s Award from the Wilkes Chamber of Commerce. She has served on the Substance Use Advisory Council for the Appalachian Regional Commission, the NC Peer Support Advisory Council, Peer Voice NC, the Peer Justice Initiative, the NC Recovery Advocacy Project, the Northwest Regional Opioid Collective and NC Harm Reduction Advocacy.
Her story and her work have been featured in The Economist, The Winston-Salem Journal, NC Health News, Spectrum News, and the Wilkes Journal Patriot. Devin enjoys being present for her kids, family, and community today, and enjoys spending time with her 6 rescue dogs.
Katie has been volunteering at the Lone Tree Library since 2014 serving the public in various roles. She currently volunteers in the online bookstore as well as the onsite Second Chapter bookstore. She has dedicated her service to help the community with affordable, gently used books from donations and deleted library collections.
She is always helpful to patrons and staff with a happy, “I can do this” attitude. She had struggled with reading in her early years and now as an adult has overcome her difficulties through using the resources that the library offers. However, her main accomplishments are the connections she has made with the library staff and is always welcomed with open arms. Some staff members have shared that their favorite day of the week is when Katie volunteers!
Sabrina Guo is an award-winning young journalist, poet, activist, nonprofit founder, humanitarian, musician, mathematician and public health researcher. She’s had a lifelong and vested interest in advocacy and change, especially for young girls around the world.
Since 2018, her organization Girl Pride International (GPI) has worked to shift the narrative of socio-economically disadvantaged migrant and displaced girls through advocacy, education, leadership opportunities and material support, radically altering the trajectory of their lives and transforming them into female leaders.
GPI’s Ambassadors Scholarship Program funds over 80 students in Kenya, where she’s built classrooms and maternity houses, prevented child marriage and is now fighting drought and food scarcity in the Samburu region. GPI Samburu (recognized by the Kenyan gov) is impacting 2,000+ students and 800+ impoverished families.
Through GPI and her COVID-19 relief org LILAC, Sabrina raised and disbursed >$173,000, donated 270,000+ PPE, 1000s of meals, impacting 60,000+ people & collaborating with dozens of state & local officials and community leaders. She leads 300+ members and works alongside politicians, cultural figures and business leaders to achieve her vision of service!
Kalash is a social entrepreneur, young scientist and mathematician. Her notable work in social welfare is commended and known for being impactful.
Inspired by the culture of student-volunteering in Singapore, Kalash was determined to motivate students in India to do the same. Determined to initiate, lead and solve, she went on to work on the most immediate problems that caught her attention.
Being in the field of education, Kalash founded Fun Learning Youth, a nonprofit dedicated to empowering underserved youth through education. Through research and experimenting, she found the most effective impact method: teaching and mentoring personally, using the world’s most interactive learning methods. Beginning with a couple of students in her backyard, the organization grew into a movement with 30 volunteers and 6 core members mentoring 700+ students on-ground in 10 cities across India and abroad! Fun Learning Youth’s mission and impact is to decrease dropout rates, improve attendance, and bridge the educational gap.
Kalash is a part of Ashoka Young Changemakers 2022 and Harvard Student Body’s entrepreneurship society. She has founded and worked with many other organizations with varied interests. Her goal is to make education more reliable, accessible and interesting for everyone.
Claudia Jones is a university professor born in Mexico and currently working at University of Alaska Anchorage/Mat-Su College. She received her degrees in International Trade and Business (Bachelor’s) and Business Administration with an emphasis in Finance (Master’s).
Claudia is a trained marketing professional and has an E-Leadership Plus Certificate. She teaches Spanish as a second language. She is currently a PhD Candidate in Education.
She is a member of GSL Network which forms leaders worldwide. Claudia is an honorary member of JUPV A.C. (nonprofit organization) which empowers Mexican youth. At Mat-Su College she is a member of the Diversity and Inclusion Action Committee and founder of the Spanish Club.
She’s the founder and president of MORE Latinoámerica, a nonprofit organization founded in the US. Its main objective is to offer free and quality education to Spanish-speaking people to help bridge the gap in gender equality. MORE Latinoamérica is present in more than 11 countries and have benefited more than 20,000 people.
In 2022 she won two awards for her dedication to helping women advance their education: USA TODAY’s Women of the Year honoree from Alaska, and the 2022 Alaska Mother of the Year®.
Lisa has been serving her community for over 20 years. She started a nonprofit food bank in 2000 and served dozens of families with food boxes and/or hot meals to sustain them. She walked 920 miles from her home town of Brewton, AL to Washington D.C. in 2005 to deliver a letter to then-President Bush about hunger and poverty in Alabama. She believes that being hungry is the loneliest feeling in the world and no one should go hungry. After talking to one of her clients and learning that her they couldn’t afford a cup of coffee at a local restaurant, a fire ignited in Lisa to have a restaurant where money didn’t matter…just service and good food. Lisa kept that dream in her heart for seven years and on March 26, 2018 her dream was realized. Drexell and Honeybees Donations Only Restaurant opened its doors to the public… and the rest is history!
Justin Liu is a high school student in Southern California. He is the Lead Coding Instructor at Youth In Code (YIC), a 501(c)(3) NPO sponsored by the Hack Foundation. As an avid follower of Points of Light, Justin was nominated for the Inspiration Honor Roll for an endeavor that he is highly passionate about: as part of YIC, Justin recently launched the international YouthHacks Initiative, one of the largest student-run learnathons and hackathons in California.
YouthHacks has raised $2600+ in charity money, partnered with 14 leading tech organizations, and been featured on VoyageLA’s Inspiring Stories series. Over 150 participants of all ages from Africa, India, Lebanon, the Philippines, Mexico and the U.S. heard from industry professionals and were enriched with programming knowledge by coding instructors. The event hopes to address the disparity in STEM education, especially for underprivileged students from less fortunate backgrounds.
Justin is currently expanding YouthHacks’s team in preparation for hosting the event again next year.
Heather has been active in her community for over 15 years. She recently moved from Virginia, where she was in local support groups helping women and children survivors of abuse. Heather also helped donate to Toys for Tots and helped raise over $2,000 for the soldiers overseas for supplies.
Heather helped her local Salvation Army by donating canned foods and blankets. She was an active member of the local food bank, volunteering her time to feeding families in her area. Heather moved to Florida and became active in her community providing canned foods every two weeks to the Salvation Army near her home. Heather has donated and raised money for St. Jude’s Children Hospital, as well helped anyone who has asked of her help in any way she can. Heather is a kind-hearted and loving soul wanting to make a difference in this world, spreading love and positivity anyway she can.
Shaylon has strong passion for making a change in the world and constantly questioning the status quo. For over 20 years, equitable access for all has been a driving factor in her career choices and community engagement. As a single mother of two, she knows first hand the resources and support that a family needs to thrive, not just survive.
Throughout her life she has either been on the receiving end of services or offering resources through a community organization or government agency. This multi-layer look at life has fueled her curiosity in finding ways to make services and opportunities available for all and change or replace rules and regulations that are outdated. She involved her children in service at an early age and now they not only continue to volunteer on their own but encourage others to do so as well.
During the pandemic, Shaylon not only found a way to keep herself and her children entertained, but encouraged others to read more books by Black authors. She launched Book Mecca, an platform that highlights Black authors through a multitude of ways, including interviews, book-themed events, community panels and a personally curated online Black bookstore.
Rebecca has always admired the military. Her father was an MP in the reserves. As a kid, she used to play with his military hat. He loved helping people, and that’s where Rebecca got her love of helping others. She started working for the Army and the United States Marine Corp over a decade ago, enjoying being able to help those who needed it.
There would be days at work when she wanted to make sure that a survivor of assault got all the services that were afforded to them. She stayed after hours, sleeping in her car, to make sure that the individual was helped. She received an award from the National Organization for Victim Assistance, “Exceptional Military Advocate.” It meant a lot to her. She worked hard to establish herself as someone who would always stand up for the rights of others.
Rebecca went back to school recently to obtain her Masters of Science Degree in Forensic Behavioral Science. It was important for her to go back to school, so she would be able to help survivors of violence the best way she knew how. She knows it’s time to get out into the world and make her mark helping others in the public sphere, and hopes she can continue to inspire people to pay it forward and to do and be their best!
While primarily raising funds for children impacted by domestic violence, Siena found that children also needed comforting while being displaced from their homes.
For years, Siena has been putting together Comfort Kits. These kits contain necessities for children who have to flee their homes in a hurry, while leaving behind many of their belongings. One of Siena’s most memorable moments in volunteering was when she brought Comfort Kits to her local missionary, The Toll Street Missionary. As Siena was bringing in the kits there was a little girl, sitting in the corner who was scared and withdrawn. The little girl just stared at Siena, and when she approached the little girl with one of the Comfort Kits the girl looked unsure, apprehensive, and afraid. When the Reverend told the little girl that it was okay, Siena approached her with a smile and a warm heart, and the little girl’s eyes twinkled and the biggest smile came to her face.
That little girl reminded Siena of her own experience with violence, when no one would listen to her. Siena learned at a young age that a child’s voice often goes unheard or unrecognized in our court system. From that day forward she vowed that she would use her voice and fight for ALL children’s rights.
Hurshneet Chadha founded Project Smile AZ to spread smiles to all, A to Z. The project started over a dinner table conversation to help the mental health of hospitalized patients and as a way to spread positivity. The project expanded over the last two years encouraging people across the globe to be smile makers to spread messages of hope and do simple acts of kindness that anyone anywhere can do.
With an “army of smile-makers,” he hopes to bring kindness and positivity to anyone in need. Through his project, Hurshneet has encouraged more than 1,000 smile-makers across the globe and shared handmade cards, upcycled gently used books, dental hygiene kits and snack bars for youth. The project has reached close to 30,000 lives in the last two years. His goal is to reach at least 100,000 over the next year.
Sudharsan Gopalakrishnan doesn’t sit still when it comes to volunteerism and service! The rising high school senior’s eyes opened to the difficult realities of food insecurity, bridging the technology gap in his community and across the nation, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic since 2019. Sudharsan decided to combine his strengths — STEM, mentorship and education — in a variety of service programs and volunteer opportunities for the betterment of his community.
As an elected Teen STEM Project Leader for the California State 4-H leadership team, he has launched various tech workshops and projects to bridge the technology gap among youth members in 4-H and his community. Additionally, he is also serving in the National 4-H GIS/GPS Leadership team as an elected only Teen Leader and Geomentor representing California for the “Where’s the food?” high-impact project initiative to fight food insecurity among communities of color and low-income families to bring awareness to how vast and pervasive food insecurity is and to create healthy, food-secure communities and strong, equitable regional food systems by ensuring fresh and local produce is accessible and affordable for all using GIS Technology.
Vidhi Bubna has founded Coral Warriors, India’s first ever coral conservation organization focusing on raising awareness about coral bleaching and marine biodiversity. Vidhi is also working on raising funds to increase accessibility for young adults and women from underserved communities to learn scuba diving so they can see coral bleaching firsthand.
Vidhi’s work has impacted 21,000 people so far. She has set up regional heads across different states in India who visit rural schools to conduct workshops about marine life and climate change. Coral Warrior, a children’s book about Vidhi’s work, scuba diving journey and conservation initiatives, is set to launch in 2023 with the aim of inculcating climate consciousness among children from a young age.
So far, Vidhi’s work in coral and marine conservation has been featured in Forbes, The Telegraph, Hindustan Times, Times of India and other national publications. She was also invited and awarded on national television for her work at Coral Warriors and for starting the unique non profit organization in India.
Krishna Saproo, a teenager, has started an initiative called MaunitvaNirakarn that focuses on mental health and wellbeing. MaunitvaNirakarn, which translates to “Inner Peace” in Sanskrit, is a movement to help youngsters living with mental illness diagnoses to find a safe space to express themselves and talk openly about it. The foundation focuses on people’s mental health and raises awareness through awareness programs.
Krishna shares that often students and people who talk about their mental health challenges and issues are either mocked or ignored. Through Maunitva Nirakarn, Krishna and his team are trying to build a safe ecosystem for such people and provide them an accommodating environment where free, open and forward-thinking conversations around mental health can take place.
Krishna’s initiative is mainly concerned with mental health, climate change and gender neutrality. It advocates the causes of sustainable development. He is working on an application that could provide mental health assistance to people at a subsidized rate. Going forward, Krishna plans to help accommodate mental health as part of the formal school curriculum to evolve a better understanding of the topic among students.
Kelly Kim is a rising sophomore at Leesville Road High School in Raleigh, North Carolina. Kelly is a passionate and bright youth changemaker, who is avidly involved in youth activism, social justice and STEM.
As the president of Dear Asian Youth Wake County, she leads a diverse group of Asian youth in the Triangle Area of NC that work to promote intersectional activism and social awareness in her community. Her work with DAY has included AAPI-owned business partnerships to host fundraisers, community discussions and various other projects that have brought the Asian community together. Kelly has been highlighted as one of DAY’s most committed chapter leads, and DAY’s mission is exemplified through all of her work.
In addition, Kelly has recently revisited her interests in environmental activism and founded a nonprofit known as SEAL Sustainability, which is dedicated to creating a local & global community for environmental sustainability through youth leadership and service learning. She hopes to expand SEAL’s initiatives and impact in the upcoming months.
Through her work ethic and character, Kelly exemplifies and possesses the qualities necessary to be an impactful leader and changemaker on a local and global scale.
Asha Collins is driven by the belief that science and healthcare are powerful tools to improve people’s lives and transform our society to be fundamentally more inclusive. Her work focuses on creating new realities from that belief.
She serves communities around the world to provide them with greater access to science and resources. She has conducted health community service in Central America, wrote the blueprint to establish a clinical trial unit in Ethiopia which then became a Center of Excellence for East Africa, launched an inaugural event sponsored by one of the world’s largest banks to support underrepresented healthcare entrepreneurs and leaders, and is an activist for inclusive space exploration.
In her work with underrepresented healthcare entrepreneurs, Asha helps entrepreneurs connect with funding sources, advises them on business strategy and hosts educational webinars with leading industry experts to help the entrepreneurs learn the written and unwritten “rules of the road” when it comes to building scalable venture capital-backed companies.
On this planet and beyond, Asha is focused on leveraging science and community to enable breakthroughs that will maximize human potential and success for humanity.
Stella Kudah is a humanitarian who believes that leading by example not only enhances the learning experience, but it also adds to the growth and transformation of the community. Stella was born at Agbozume in Ghana but raised in Nigeria. Having experienced the challenges in both countries, she became a teacher after her family returned to Ghana to provide lifelong learning to empower the Ghanaian child. She then rose to become the Headmistress.
As the Country Representative of Friends of Adaklu, an NGO, she empowers community members through liquid soap-making, pastries baking and cassava farming. On the education front, she coordinates bursary programs for needy students, reading club to promote the culture of reading among students, a pen pal program with schools in the USA for cross cultural learning and the Pedal to Excellence program to enable students’ bike to school. These programs promote a healthy lifestyle, economic autonomy and lifelong learning. She says, “I am motivated and inspired because of the difference I see when I make a small change, and for me that change is like the ripples a single drop of water creates.”
In 2019, Manthan established the Churning Joy Foundation (CJF), an Oracle and Tata Trust backed nonprofit organization. Through his strenuous efforts, CJF managed to set up 5 Farm Producer Organizations (FPOs) and made a substantial positive impact on 500+ farm-based micro-entrepreneurs across 10 districts in Jharkhand.
Sustaining this enterprising spirit, CJF successfully established 20+ rural micro-businesses across 15 districts in Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. This conglomerate of small ventures aimed to create a sustainable livelihood for India’s rural population. During COVID-19, CJF facilitated relief work across 70+ villages in collaboration with 50 volunteers.
Manthan was awarded the prestigious (Princess) Diana Award in 2021 by the Duke of Sussex for creating a sustainable positive change. He was Listed in “25 Under 25” by BusinessWorld & Talerang and was selected for the Changelooms Fellowship – a leadership and incubation program by Pravah and Oracle. Manthan is currently working as the executive assistant & policy advisor to the Cabinet Minister in the Delhi Government, where he is leading governance reforms in the Revenue and Transport Departments.
Dimma is a founder and team leader of Mawejje Creations, a social enterprise that revolutionizes the fashion industry in Uganda using plant-based substances. Through his work, Dimma has managed to train & equip over 200+ young people on how to turn banana fiber waste into fashionable products.
During the lockdown, he cofounded Eco-Crafts, an online platform that uses social media to enhance service delivery, and create more employment opportunities for laid-off workers in different communities. To bridge the gap between customers who are in love with beautiful handmade products and the artisans who bring these amazing products to life, more than 5+ boda-boda cyclists have been employed to date, over 1000+ products have been delivered. Over 20+ young people have been impacted both directly and indirectly.
He’s a trainer/facilitator at Kyusa, fellow at African Presidential leadership program batch 3 2020, ATCG Innovation Award winner 2020, TOP 40 UNDER 40 Vision Group 2020, Global Environmental Award Nominee 2020, Pursuit Incubator Fall Cohort 2020, Ignite Innovation Lab 2020, YALI RLC COHORT 38 2020, African Change-makers fellow 2019 and Visionary Leader Award Nominee 2019.
Pat Biliter was one of six people who worked together to create an innovative volunteer handbook for new and current volunteers at Holden Forests and Gardens (HF&G), a leading cultural and scientific institution in northeast Ohio. The other volunteer members of the handbook task force were Rachel Frances, Kathy Kaderly, Sandra Cobb, Ken Mountcastle and Sandy Kovalik.
The team worked under the leadership of an HF&G staff member, Tracee Patterson. The comprehensive, digitally interactive and beautifully illustrated document received high praise from hundreds of volunteers and staff at HF&G, and it raised the bar for similar handbooks published by volunteer organizations across the United States.
It is now being used by volunteers at all HF&G campuses, including the Cleveland Botanical Garden and the Holden Arboretum in Kirtland, Ohio, which receive some 350,000 visitors per year. The handbook is the main reference document used by volunteers to educate our visitors about the wonder, beauty and value of trees and plants for creating healthier communities.
Prajwal NH is a 15-year-young entrepreneur and innovator. He is honored by the India Book of Records as the “Youngest Microsoft Certified Azure AI Engineer Associate.” He is continuously involved in creating and implementing mindful innovations which won him state, national and even international levels of recognition and awards.
In an attempt to promote the value of water in general and to support country-wide efforts on water conservation & sustainable development of water resources, the Department of Water Resources, Government of India awarded him as the “Water Hero” and he won the renowned National Level Gandhian Challenge by the Atal Innovation Mission, NITI Aayog in conjunction with UNICEF.
He is the co-founder & CPO at the registered start-up, “CloudAttack Edutech Private Limited.” About half a million graduated engineers remain unemployed due to a lack of industry-required abilities. His start-up CloudAttack entailed the goal of bridging this gap by educating these valuable resources on Cloud Computing at the industry level through the medium of a fun mobile game to make India the world’s leading technology hub by offering the best opportunities for its citizens.
Dr. Havemann has served her community in many facets throughout her life. As an educator, Allison strives to help her students feel empowered, safe, confident and capable. As a naturopathic physician, she holds space for her clients who often feel lost and alone on their wellness journey, and helps her patients know that they are the captain of their wellness experience.
As a Girl Scout volunteer and member for the past 35 years, Allison takes great pride in her troop as she aids them in becoming young women of courage, confidence and character. Dr. Havemann has recently founded the Jersey Shore chapter of Herbalists Without Borders, is the current co-organizer for the Ocean County chapter of Holistic Mom’s Network and was a co-organizer for the New Jersey Freedom Convoy, which brought together community members in NJ and the surrounding area, from all walks of life, who believe in medical freedom and bodily autonomy for all. Dr. Havemann was recognized by the Asbury Park Press as one of NJ’s top holistic health practitioners, is rated as a “Top Doc” in her field, and was a 2019 recipient of Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore’s Phenomenal Women Under 40 award.
For the last 20 years, Daniel Craig has been a full-time teacher for Nashville Metro Public Schools district. During his tenure with the district, he worked at Cora Howe Special Education School where he designed and executed a work-based learning program for its high school students. Daniel has always been a very driven, responsible and impactful person committed to social justice endeavors that nurture equitable opportunities.
In 2016, Daniel co-founded Bridge Builders Program, Inc., a nonprofit organization within the Nashville community. Through Bridge Builders Program, Inc., Daniel has mentored over 300 young men, provided business professional suites for college graduates, and secured partnerships with Nashville Sounds, Ronald McDonald House, Nashville Rescue Mission, Welch, TSU, Fisk, Metro Public Schools and the LGBTQ community. Over this past year, Daniel has secured a great number of grants from both public and private institutions. One most impactful has been a grant through Panera Bread, where volunteers deliver baked goods to the homeless at Nashville Rescue Mission or the families at Ronald McDonald House of Nashville.
Cash is a young conservationist focused on freshwater ecosystems. Plastic pollution is not just an ocean problem. The Tennessee River, where Cash lives, is the most polluted with microplastics than any river tested to date so he knew he had to do something about it. He started cleanups and has now removed 17,000 pounds of trash from this river.
Another source of plastic pollution, specifically in Tennessee, is fishing line. Cash had an idea to make, place and maintain monofilament recycling bins. These bins collect fishing line from fishermen and this discarded line is then melted down and made into fish habitats. This process takes something that can cause so much harm to animals, and turns it into a habitat to improve the river and it’s ecosystems. Cash now has 40 bins in 7 state parks and is working closely with state and local government entities to expand this program.
Cash knew he had to find a way to fund this project so he collects aluminum cans that would end up in a landfill from businesses. This aluminum is recycled (with a significant decrease in greenhouse gas emotions than making new aluminum cause) then the money Cash is paid for the aluminum is how he pays for more monofilament bins. It’s a closed loop system!
Naman Gupta is a young leader currently serving Nirmaan organization, BITS Pilani chapter as the vice president. He has been inspiring the 200+ volunteers’ team benefitting 500+ beneficiaries across Pilani, Rajasthan. With his regular visits to the nearby village area the poor health and sanitation status of the village caught his attention. This young man took to his shoulders to contribute his bit honestly.
Naman and his team were then driven to work and aid the village with the facility of better sanitation. 20 restrooms were successfully constructed over the next two months with a budget of 1.5 lakh funds raised by the organization. Another remarkable highlight was organizing free vaccination camps where his team successfully vaccinated 150+ people with the support of a government hospital in Pilani.
This young man lives by the true spirit of giving back to society while making the best of everything. His extraordinary leadership skills have made his organization reach new levels.
Aanand co-founded a 501(c)(3) organization, Magical Motors, which provides assistive technologies to children with developmental disorders (such as cerebral palsy). He was inspired to do so by discerning the lack of alternatives to pediatric electric wheelchairs, which cost thousands of dollars and take years to receive, which can hinder children from realizing their full potential as independent individuals.
He creates these assistive technologies by modifying ride-on toy cars such that they are hand-controlled, not foot-powered. This allows a child to nurture their social, motor and developmental skills, and also allow car-builders to gain an interest in the STEM field, while cultivating leadership and collaboration skills. In fact, he is introducing this program, which is self-curated by Magical Motors, in high schools, STEM organizations, medical centers and schools, and therapy clinics across the country. He is also exploring implementing Magical Motors cars in pediatric surgery centers and palliative care and rehabilitation facilities, in an effort to create a more inclusive environment and ensure that every child has the right to independent mobility!
Benoit is the founding president of the organization Charité Sans Frontières (CSF) working in Burundi in Central Africa. CSF is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide assistance to vulnerable populations in Burundi through good deeds. The vision of CSF, which translates to “Charity Without Borders,” is that of a world without any exclusion.
He distributed food and non-food items to child heads of households, the elderly and people living with disabilities in camps for people displaced by floods. He approached the people suffering from leprosy in the period of COVID-19 for the sensitization to the contamination and prevention of this pandemic and shared with them the Easter meal to give them hope. He shared Easter meals with the sick and the guards of the big hospitals of the capital Bujumbura to give them back the smile. He rehabilitated the houses of vulnerable people in the villages and distributed health insurance cards to the elderly, allowing them to receive free medical care for one year. Its concern is the promotion of volunteerism in good deed activities.
I believe purchase power is extremely important in life. Not only do I find it is important to know what you believe and stand for it, but to support it through businesses and companies that focus on and empower people to be better. One of my highest priorities in life is to try to live a life that focuses on family, health and clean living. I will spend months researching companies that use clean ingredients, support a family life worth being proud of every day and believe that healthy clean living is what is needed to be healthy and living your best life. Find something you believe in, and support it. From what ingredients is in your food, to what they support, to how they treat their employees, it matters.
Social entrepreneurship has many turns in its landscape. Working in an unknown and leanly resourced field can bring many challenges. When the social attitude toward the field furthers perpetration, the work takes on a new challenge.
When initially studying the field of cultic abuse and coercive control, Tabitha found the peer-reviewed academic works few and lacking statistical substance. The general view of victims of cults was that they were grown adults who made unfortunate choices in life. The concept of coercive control is often lost on the average person.
Tabitha created a nonprofit victim service outreach agency designed to resource victims of cultic abuses and coercive control with an integrative multi-disciplinary approach. This includes those who have left or who are trying to leave their environments. Little-to-no federal funding presently exists to cover this emerging victim population, so Tabitha works to study the process of creating policy implementation to fill the gaps so that victims of coercive control can be represented under the Victims of Crimes Act and Violence Against Women Act. There is much more work to do, but Tabitha is always up to the task, as long as more lives are freed from coercion.
Melody is the founder of the Eva Lee Parker Fund. Named after her paternal grandmother, the fund provides emergency financial support for Black women experiencing domestic violence. Funds can be used for transportation, housing costs, clothing, food and other necessary items. To date, the fund has provided more than $22,000 in emergency funds to survivors of intimate partner violence. The Eva Lee Parker Fund also provides community programming to inform and educate the public on how everyone is impacted by domestic violence.
As a social entrepreneur, Melody is the owner and Chief Domestic Violence Disruptor at Courageous SHIFT, whose mission is to disrupt the impact, biases and stigma surrounding domestic violence in the workplace, sector and community, because every survivor deserves to be valued, supported, safe and respected. Through speaking engagements, workshops and training, Courageous SHIFT prepares organizations for the impact of domestic violence in the workplace, domestic violence agencies to serve their clients and communities to better support survivors.
Merrilyn Thompson is the director at HAVAdopt Children’s Christmas Project, a gift-giving program for local children who may not receive gifts during the holiday season. Children in the program are identified through day care centers, local schools and other local charities serving children. Once children are identified, the team reaches out to the community of residents and businesses to “adopt” a child by purchasing clothing, shoes, jackets and pajamas as well as a gift from the child’s wish list. While most sponsors are extremely generous, some only provide a few items and sometimes the team has children who have not been adopted. When that happens, they put their fundraising skills to work to provide similar and number of gifts for each child. We gather the donated gifts, hold a “wrap” party utilizing many local volunteers then distribute the wrapped gifts to the parents/guardians.
Sunday is a single father of two who volunteers with many organizations, such as Feeding America, Children Miracle Hospitals, Hope Family Service, Goodwill and Salvation Army. He is also volunteers in service to his church, The Bridge Church, in Bradenton, Florida.
Chase Hartman of Tampa, Florida is a community changemaker, youth leader and “kidpreneur” dedicated to finding solutions to some of the toughest challenges in our country.
Sixteen-year-old Chase co-founded a non-profit called Eco Brothers and an award-winning book distribution project called “read.repeat.” at the age of 10 when he learned many kids in his area didn’t own books. Focusing his efforts on improving literacy rates, he’s now distributed 200,000 books and impacted the lives of 45,000 students in Hillsborough County, Florida. Chase champions the need for more books-with-diversity and dual language books in local Title-1 schools and has worked to raise $65,000 to purchase them.
His nonprofit, Eco Brothers, also focuses on environmental issues and he’s raised $30,000 to support conservation causes. He enjoys the challenges of leadership opportunities and served as Senior Patrol Leader in Boy Scout Troop 46, where he achieved the rank of Eagle Scout. For the service project required for this prestigious rank, he designed and planted a butterfly garden at his former elementary school and purchased butterfly habitats for each classroom to learn more about the importance of the declining monarch butterfly.
Since she was a kid, Vinaya Gunasekar has worked to make STEAM education accessible to everyone and make STEAM learning engaging and fun for all students, K through 12.
Now at age 14, Vinaya is an environmental activist, educator and STEAM changemaker who is passionate about recycling and using technology to benefit our earth in innovative ways. She is an advocate for environmental justice in her community and works to ensure that everyone, regardless of background or age, gets the exposure they need to science and technology. Vinaya is the youth ambassador of a non-profit organization (called the STEAM Connection) that makes learning about robots accessible to all.
Right now, she’s working on making STEAM accessible to hospitalized children and is co-hosting an environmental education podcast called Hands-On Techie Talks to introduce kids to STEAM, as well as being a part of her high school’s coding club. She’s currently working on a robot called Auto-Oscar that aims to collect and sort trash and recyclables on school campuses to make them safer learning environments, as well as educate students on the impact of pollution on the world – one robot at a time.
Terry is a strong veteran ally and advocate within her community. As co-chair of our veteran’s employee resource group, she educates, brings awareness and encourages participation in veteran and active military causes and challenges. She has brought to light many challenges like civilian transition, service related issues like PTSD, traumatic brain injury, homelessness and toxic exposure, and has spearheaded fundraising and volunteer campaigns for community partners. She started an internal outreach program for our internal veterans to ensure they feel supported and appreciated.
Terry also serves on a local nonprofit board, Sacramento VERG, which brings employers together to collaborate on meeting the needs of local veterans and their families. The goal is to ensure they thrive in the region as Terry brings rich content to networking presentations and the coordination of local events.
Additionally, Terry is an active volunteer for Folsom Mask Makers who at the start of the pandemic, sewed masks and scrub caps for healthcare workers due to the PPE shortage. Terry has since sewed 400 masks and crocheted 200 beanies for homeless veterans and cancer patients. Terry lives with purpose and finds volunteering to be that passion and purpose!
Shamiya Lin is a senior at Obra D. Tompkins High School who is passionate about education and getting involved in the community. Upon realization of the lack of opportunities for underclassmen, she co-founded Youth Inventa, a nonprofit organization connecting students with professionals from several of the nation’s well-known institutions through three respective free summer programs. After working with ONE Campaign since 2019, she learned about the areas in our world that most needed help in supporting children through education. Shamiya is also part of Education of Will, a non-governmental organization working to protect the educational rights of Rwanda’s children by ensuring the basic needs such as nutrition, clean water, and electricity. She wishes to participate in a year of service after graduating college and assist areas that most needed.
Noreen uses storytelling as a powerful driver for change. Through her nonprofit organization, Tell a Story Foundation, Noreen nurtures individual and community narratives and shares authentic stories told by real people to contribute to a humane world.
During the COVID-19 lockdowns, Noreen launched a t-shirt campaign called Together for Good to raise funds that could support the most vulnerable families of her community with food. Noreen also brought together a group of friends to make hand-sanitizer to share with at-risk households in Kiwanga.
Noreen has documented stories of over 60 unsung community heroes in Uganda to remind us that ordinary people can do amazing things and that we can all be leaders
Noreen has connected over 100 people to join fireside storytelling sessions as a tool to share stories and build conversations around social issues that affect the community. A June 2022 fireside session raised $350 to support marginalized children in the Namutumba District of Uganda with school supplies and meals.
Noreen has also used storytelling to raise autism awareness. Her autism-focused story sessions culminated in a charity walk that raised $300 to renovate a local school that supports learners with autism.
Keita Franklin grew up in a military family where her father served in the U.S. Navy for over 20 years. As a military spouse, she also spent years in military communities throughout the United States and Europe. These two experiences offered Keita the opportunity to experience first-hand the challenges facing military families and veterans.
Throughout her 28-year career as a social worker, Keita has served as a tireless advocate for the military and veteran community. Her professional work also included a large portfolio of volunteerism. Recognizing the difficulty of transitioning out of military service, she has helped veterans with resume support and job coaching. She has also supported veterans in their educational pursuits. Keita has helped them with parenting struggles, always willing to chip in and offer a meal or a listening ear.
A recognized national expert on suicide prevention, she is often called upon by colleagues, friends and neighbors to help veterans in crisis. Keita serves on numerous nonprofit boards and volunteers countless hours to the veteran community including at food banks – delivering food to homebound veterans and has consistently helped veterans with the challenges of life after the military.
Sheletta Brundidge is the founder of ShelettaMakesMeLaugh.com, a podcasting network that celebrates culture and creativity in communities of color. With her 10-weekly shows, Sheletta doesn’t just provide a platform for marginalized people to have a voice in mainstream media, she also uses her podcasts to do positive things in the community.
Whether she is giving out carbon monoxide detectors to people who can’t afford one after five of her family members died from the deadly gas or delivering children’s books to the library in Uvalde after the town was rocked by a mass shooting at an elementary school, Sheletta is always actively looking for ways to help the people heal. Known as the “pop up problem solver,” community leaders and politicians alike turn to Sheletta to come up with creative ways to find answers to difficult dilemmas.
After George Floyd was killed, Sheletta held the first and only town hall in Minneapolis that involved politicians, police, preachers and everyday people to help the community begin to heal and come together. Sheletta has a way of leading with love, light and laughter that brings out the best in others.
Srijanita Maurya is a teen changemaker who founded The Animal Patronage when she was a tenth-grader. Now, at 17, she is gearing up to write her twelfth-grade exams and carving out her own path as a social entrepreneur. She won the Global Kids Achievers’ Award 2022 and was named a Harvard Innovation Fellow that same year. In the summer of 2022, she gave her first TedX talk in Chennai IT.
It’s been eight years that she has been working for animals with her mother in her local area. The pandemic cut us off from the rest of the world and put us into our homes. It was during this time that she started her organization for animals, to spread awareness through social media.
Her organization The Animal Patronage is a youth-led organization that works for animal welfare. It is a global nonprofit organization based in India that aims to educate, inspire and empower youth to work for those who are speechless, who can’t speak for their rights and to make a difference in society.
They started in 2021 and since then, they have been hosting podcast for and by students. Besides their frequent pop-ups that aim to empower young youth through providing inspiration and ways to work for the environment, they also bring awareness posters and digital workshops.
At the age of 6, Kady McKenna created eTreasure, Inc. to recycle and repurpose old electronics to keep them out of landfills. She learned at this young age that one person’s eWaste (electronic waste) could be another’s eTreasure!
Since then, she has become a young environmentalist collecting thousands of electronics by hosting public collection events. She has also written an award-winning children’s book, “Sammy the Cell Phone Gets Thrown Away” to teach children the importance of electronics recycling. She collaborates with local businesses and charities to repurpose and repair laptops and tablets for needy youth in order to bridge the digital divide and turns old cell phones into “minutes” so soldiers overseas can call home
Courtney has been at Desert Financial Credit Union for five years, where she has been managing the Random Acts of Kindness and Teacher Appreciation programs.
Random Acts of Kindness is a program that aims to create exceptional experiences throughout Arizona. Such acts can range from throwing a 100th birthday party for a member to providing $15,000 to a family whose firefighter father needed help with medical bills after being diagnosed with ALS. Since the program’s inception in 2018, more than 30,000 Random Acts of Kindness have been completed, totaling nearly $2 million. Courtney manages a Random Acts of Kindness committee of 14 team members who help brainstorm and execute these events, and they are on track to complete more than 10,000 Random Acts of Kindness in 2022!
The Teacher Appreciation sends team members into schools to say thank you to teachers at underfunded schools by providing needed supplies and classroom items. Additionally, Courtney manages the Adopt-A-Teacher program that provides fourteen selected teachers with $5,000 worth of supplies to better their classrooms.
Lastly, Courtney has been a devoted volunteer and volunteer captain and will complete more than 100 hours by the end of the year!
Audrey is an avid young changemaker through STEAM, education and mental health and inclusion advocacy. When countless students’ access to learning tools withered in the thick of the pandemic, it fueled Audrey’s inspiration to bridge the education gap. In the autumn of 2020, she started a nonprofit organization called Fast Fluency International Tutoring Program. Audrey watered the flowers of international students’ English conversation skills by mobilizing her team of 30+ high school students through friendship forums and expos to enhance confidence.
She also noticed the lack of mental health education in Taiwan, so she initiated mental health workshops by teaching hundreds of Taiwanese elementary students how to build resilience and maintain a healthy mind. Additionally, she leads her peers in forming friendships with special needs students through Best Buddies. She believes in the vibrance neurodivergent individuals bring to the world, inspiring her to code an app called Theia. Theia shines a light on synesthesia, or how conjoining distinct concepts can enhance memory. Audrey’s impact could be felt through 2,400 people with over 600 hours of community service.
Saffron has always been passionate about connecting with her community through volunteering, but when the pandemic hit, all of the volunteering she was involved in abruptly ended. At the same time, she watched over FaceTime as her grandparents began to suffer from loneliness. Saffron and her sister, Shreya, brainstormed ways to combat their loneliness. Before they could even try out any of their ideas, the solution presented itself! Their grandmother, Ba, received a beautiful card from her friend that she couldn’t stop showing off on FaceTime. Seeing how happy a handwritten card made Ba, the sisters decided to spread the love in their local Boston area by founding Letters Against Isolation (LAI) in April of 2020 to send uplifting letters and cards to isolated seniors.
In August of 2021, the sisters established LAI as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit to make their commitment to fighting senior loneliness permanent. They’ve since raised over $30,000. This has funded their Stamp Scholarship Program and a senior-to-senior pen pal program. LAI has a community of over 28,000 volunteers from across the globe who have collectively sent over 500,000 letters and cards to the 30,000 seniors we serve in the US, UK, Australia, Israel and South Africa.
Miguel Tercero is a 23-year-old from El Paso, TX. He is looking to bring awareness to a burnout pandemic. He leads fundraisers and challenges based on movement and exercise. He successfully completed a “25 pushups a day” challenge and a $200 campaign for leukemia. Miguel will be lining up events like this monthly and encourages his community to join him on his journey of mental and physical wellbeing.
Diane was named 2021 volunteer of the year with Desert Financial Credit Union with 229 hours of service. Diane has opportunities to volunteer throughout the community since she started with Desert Financial in 2008.
Some of her favorite nonprofits to work with are Free Arts, Meals on Wheels, Feed My Starving Children, Solid Rock Teen Center, donating and helping at blood drives. They have virtual volunteer events for employees to participate, with such as no-sew blankets, lunch bags for Meals on Wheels, painted Kindness Rocks, crafted cards to send to seniors, encouragement cards for teens, fundraisers for Phoenix Childrens Hospital and team leaders for the American Heart Association. Diane sent birthday cards to kids throughout the country who could not celebrate with family and friends, plus baked items to share within her neighborhood during COVID.
Volunteering makes her happy, and she tries to do as much as she can to help others. It is heartwarming for Diane to know she may have brought a smile to a face, making a blanket to keep them warm. She feels blessed and honored to work for Desert Financial, an organization with the passion to help and encourages their employees to reach out to the community.
A smile can truly have a positive impact on another person’s day. With Kathy Krogmeier’s happy disposition, she flashes those smiles often and thrives on getting others involved in new interests.
Of her own wide-ranging interests, Kathy’s favorite is being a Blank Park Zoo volunteer, which she began in 1986. Shy Kathy, who was terrified of speaking in public, found herself involved with presentations, moving from animal handling to leading the presentations. Today, you would never guess this evolution, as she is one of the most outgoing volunteers at the zoo.
You will find her in many roles, but she loves to speak with visitors about the animals and what we can do to protect the environment. She’s often found near the Giant Aldabra Tortoise, Chilean Flamingo, and Eastern Black Rhino exhibits.
In 1996, Kathy became an integral part of starting the first Conservation Committee at the Zoo. Conservation efforts have now evolved to all areas of the zoo, and moved from fundraising to a percentage of all dollars spent at the zoo supporting conservation work. Kathy is so proud of the zoo’s leadership. In 2021, this support totaled $45,000 from a very modest-sized zoo. And her question is: what are YOU doing to help our planet?
Mary founded the Midwest Veterans Closet to identify a need within the military community, especially among unhoused individuals and veterans at risk of losing their homes. In 2014, she borrowed a landscaping trailer and began asking (begging) for donations for veterans who needed a hand. Since the trailer was parked in a remote area in Wadsworth, IL, donors could access it, but those needing services could not due to lack of transportation. Also, it was too far for most to walk to it.
Two months later, she moved the goods to a brick and mortar without a dime to pay for anything. Operating on a shoestring budget, the landlady gave her two months of free rent, and the veterans assistance supervisor provided rent payments for the following three months. Since Mary is a civilian, she was shocked by the need. Fast forward to 2021, her Food and Nutrition Resource Center has provided 514,619 pounds of food and over a million pounds of life’s basic needs: clothing, shoes/boots, linens, furniture, holiday decorations, gifts and more with her vast network of donors. She is on track to exceed these numbers in 2022. She serves our military heroes including Cook County and surrounding counties.
Sanya, a current junior at Phoenix Country Day School and an avid youth changemaker, is passionate about entrepreneurship and social advocacy. She co-founded a nonprofit organization, HealthForHER, that is dedicated to helping provide necessary health and educational resources for underserved women and their families. HealthForHER was started back in December 2020, following the peak of COVID-19. Sanya decided that she wanted to make a positive impact within the community by developing something that could be long-lasting in helping others, especially after seeing the massive impact of the ongoing pandemic around her.
Her organizational and leadership skills have guided HealthForHER to an international scale with ambassadors in five countries. In addition, Sanya is a member of the National Charity League’s Camelback Chapter, in which she has served many leadership roles such as president, tea chair and nominating committee member. Through this, she continues to further her passion for social advocacy by volunteering and coordinating numerous charity events. Lastly, Sanya is beginning an internship with the Democrats of Legislative District 4, where she continues to participate in community outreach/mobilization.
Agnieszka has been working in non-governmental organizations since 2009. She has always wanted to work with people and for people, as the social background and the possibility to help others were very important to her. She started her career at the Maltese Foundation, which encouraged people with disabilities to return to the labor market. Currently, she works at the Volunteer Center Association.
She does not always meet people who are beneficiaries of projects, as she worked as a project coordinator, manager of an NGO, and now CEO and chairman of the board, but she appreciates her work as service. In her private activities, Agnieszka looks for opportunities to help. For example, she joined the Christmas aid in her parish. When the Russian aggression against Ukraine began, she was also sure that she wanted to help, both as a leader in her organization and in her private life.
The Volunteer Center Association quickly started to help by gather information and promote various activities for displaced Ukrainians. Agnieszka and her family opened their home for the mother with a little daughter who were escaping the war, and have now stayed together there for 6 months. Agnieszka does not consider her activities as a great merit, but rather enjoys the opportunity to help and make good use of her skills and powers.
Ten-year-old Snigdha has become expert on the importance of recycling batteries in order to protect the environment. As a volunteer with Recycle My Battery, the Plainsboro, New Jersey fifth grade student is helping to facilitate the safe disposal of different types of batteries that, if improperly discarded or thrown in the trash, can leach toxic chemicals into the soil and contaminate groundwater.
She has been an active volunteer for the past two years, helping to recycle used batteries through proper process and educating people on safe disposal. This work involves giving presentations in different communities and at community events, as well as running battery drives, collecting used batteries and disposing of them properly.
As an advocate for equities in healthcare and education, Aliza is the co-founder of Medicine Encompassed — a 501(c)(3) organization that merges the backgrounds and skillsets of student groups to leverage this field.
Her organization stands on the values of peer mentorship and diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), which she strongly believes is a catalyst for greater social productivity and building authenticity in any workspace. With Medicine Encompassed, these qualities have paved avenues for the creation of a STEAM-based medical curriculum (500+ lessons and resources), a mentorship and research program (reach across 4+ continents), an accessible publication, 30+ community events and direct impact through school engagements (via the Project Cultivation initiative). She was also recognized as a 2021 T-Mobile Changemaker Challenge Grand Prize Winner in Education and a Youth Volunteer Program Honoree for her state’s Governor’s Awards.
Aliza values the power of democratizing resources for all groups and bringing experiential learning techniques for young folks. Rooted in her efforts, a highly diverse community calls for inclusive platforms; this idea is reflected with Medicine Encompassed’s 30+ initiatives across 40+ countries.
CaTyra serves on several boards in her Rochester, NY community, including Innova Girls Academy (the first and only all-girls elementary charter school in Rochester) and the Rochester Black Authors Association. She reviews board documents, promotes the organizations’ events and shares community events for outreach. She is excited to volunteer her time and talents for the betterment of her community.
CaTyra launched the Literacy Love Scholarship. Love for Words sponsors an annual scholarship for high school students in Rochester. Each year two or three students receive funds to pay for supplies, materials, courses, programs, etc. CaTyra loves being able to pay it forward. She received several scholarships that helped her fund her education. The Literacy Love Scholarship legacy is to promote reading and writing in the African-American community.
CaTyra completed three terms of AmeriCorps. She served in her hometown of Rochester as well as Savannah, GA. CaTyra also makes in-kind donations to the community. She donated over 100 books in 2020. Recipients included the Boys & Girls Club of Rochester, Lyell Branch Library, School 34 and the Brothers & Sisters Unisex Salon.
Indu has been working with her region’s Student Service Learning Leadership Team for the last three years. With this team, she worked to spread the passion for service learning by promoting different service initiatives and of course engaging in service herself. Indu worked with a plethora of service organizations like Bkind, Gigi’s Playhouse, Orphan Grain Train, Operation Gratitude and more!
She also plans and executes different seasonal service projects with the SSL Team to help make their mark on the community. As a student leader, she helped plan several of the Teams Impact projects, the most notable being the Winter Clothing Drive, where they collected over 800 pieces of warm clothing to donate to unhoused individuals. Another notable initiative is Project Healthcare Heroes, where the team assembled over 100 care packages that were filled with personalized letters, notes, cards, snacks and more to show their gratitude and support to the healthcare community during a very tiresome and lonely battle against COVID-19. These packages were sent to the Anne Arundel Medical Center and the UM Baltimore Washington Medical Center. Additionally, she works to address child food insecurities by establishing community garden programs at schools.
Shaurya Dosapati, now 12 years old, is working to save the planet through Recycle My Battery, a nonprofit that helps recycle batteries and educate people on the importance of doing so. He has been an active volunteer for the past two years, collecting batteries and delivering multiple presentations around his community.
Shaurya is an executive team member of the technology team for Recycle My Battery and works on creating apps and other web pages and tools to help members to share the information on the organization’s different activities and creating awareness about how to recycle batteries and recycling benefits.
He runs battery drives and gives presentations to different communities and at community events to make people aware and give them more knowledge about recycling batteries. Batteries may contain toxins such as mercury and zinc, and if they are not recycled properly, they can overheat and cause fires, or their chemicals can leak into the ground, poisoning both animals and people. Shaurya is volunteering to make the earth a better place.
Lena’s genuine love for language acquisition and cultural discoveries led her to the language/intercultural coordinator position in Peace Corps Ukraine. For 20 years she’s been coordinating language and cultural adaptation program for Peace Corps volunteers in Ukraine.
Lena heard from Points of Light about the need for a Ukrainian cultural competency resource guide for people who work on the ground with Ukrainian refugees. Driven by the genuine desire and goodwill to describe the values and diversity of her country, Lena went beyond just sharing the existing cultural resources. She also reached out to her friends and colleagues who became displaced in multiple European countries as a result of Russian aggression to solicit their insights and advice on the best ways to deal with people from Ukraine who fled the war.
Hearing their feedback on the guide and eliciting their first-hand experience as refugees has been critical to shaping this resource with the endorsement of Ukrainians. Lena has worked tirelessly to reach out to people, share materials, collect feedback and reshape the guide. This has enabled Points of Light to build this roadmap to effective connection and communication with the people of Ukraine.
Vijay Prakash is a profound environmentalist and climate justice advocate working for several green organizations to reconstruct environmental situations all around the globe. His venture GECS, which stands for Global Environment Conservative Society, has promoted environmental justice worldwide by conducting cleanups, plantation drives, summits and many climate action policies. GECS has the purpose to spread awareness about climate change and other environmental issues along with empowering people to take climate action as a part of SDG 13, made by the United Nations.
Vijay is a youth climate activist focused on guiding today’s youth on the path of making this world sustainable, and his hope for a greener world has resulted in efforts and litigations that reached over 20 nations. Many organizations and associations have facilitated him for his selfless work toward mother earth. He aims to make a climate change-free world by reversing the impacts of the disaster.
Dr. Tan realized his American dream after resettling in the U.S. for a new life in 1980. He has been a practicing pediatrician in one of the underserved areas of Long Beach, California for over 30 years.
Dr. Tan is imbued with a sense of responsibility to get involved. He founded the Cambodian Health Professionals Association of America (CHPAA) in 1997 in Long Beach. It is an all-volunteers a non-partisan and non-religious nonprofit organization, with no overhead expenses, whose purpose is to promote health of the disadvantaged Cambodian-American communities with mentorship, role modeling and scholarships.
CHPAA has undertaken annual medical, surgical and dental missions to provide free health care with free medications to the people of Cambodia. Hundreds of volunteers are paying out of their out-of-pocket expenses for airfare, ground transportation and room and board. CHPAA has successfully conducted 10 consecutive missions to Cambodia, impacting so many people who otherwise would not have received the care they needed. After the pandemic-induced hiatus, CHPAA is to resume its next mission in January 2023.
Jennifer strives to embody the power of art and creativity to lessen the stress, anxiety and trauma the elderly may face daily. She has provided enhancing hands-on art classes at no cost to help seniors step out of their hectic lives for a moment and experience the wonderful and creative realm of art beyond their imaginations.
These goals have been executed by teaching at various senior residences throughout Orange County, California, bringing the future and the present to them through her lessons. Through this, Jennifer believes that art can become a source of healing for aspiring virtuosos no matter their time in life, ultimately sparking the next generation of artists.
When we usually mention the next generation, we often don’t consider seniors. They might be deemed “disconnected” and left in the past. However, Jennifer’s art classes, or rather her fixated mindset, aspire to break through this stubborn status quo to bring hope and light to the senior residents that they can still make a difference, that they are our generation and the next. Confidently, they can break down this barrier by looking into their world through their creative lens, retained from the art they create, guided by Jennifer Kim.
The idea for GiveNKind happened when Emily was running a prom dress bank and saw the difference that the right donated goods could make for nonprofits and their ability to carry out their mission. After working for years on a website to connect goods to nonprofits, Emily changed the model in 2018 to begin intaking goods. First starting to warehouse goods in her basement, she then moved the operations to a storage facility and finally to a warehouse space. As the mission grows so does the impact!
GiveNKind has partnered with major companies and fulfillment centers to take goods that would have been landfill bound and instead, take them into the warehouse where volunteers sort and catalog the goods. Hundreds of nonprofit partners have access to this catalog to select items they need for their clients and programs. Last year GiveNKind distributed $7.4M in goods – connecting items to nonprofits from all areas of the nonprofit sector. Emily and the GiveNKind team have plans to expand the warehouse space and operations to make a greater impact for both the environment and our communities.
Desmon has been involved in his panhandle community in Texas for over a decade. He serves on the board of the Panhandle Cancer Cure Foundation, helping to support and raise funds for local cancer patients experiencing financial challenges. He has spent thousands of hours working on projects to help those in need during the fight of their life. He has also volunteered with various youth organizations to help organize work days and events, as well as raised money in the community.
He served as a member of the Texas State Guard, where he was awarded the Texas Humanitarian Service Ribbon, and his work as part of the VTM production team at TTUHSC Amarillo during the COVID-19 pandemic earned him the Texans Caring for Texans award. After this, he continued to work with the city and local clinics to store vaccines through his role at TTUHSC. Desmon also serves as a poll monitor and volunteers on voter registration drives with Common Cause and other non-partisan organizations to increase civic participation in his community.
Desmon believes that there is no opportunity for change that is too big or too small to undertake and tries to model that every day. His goal is simple: to leave the world better than he found it.
Adelina Sambala is a development practitioner with 10 years experience in development projects and programs. As CEO and co-founder of Up with community organization in Tanzania, she has designed and lead a safe water project through drilling local Boreholes in primary and secondary schools in the Kilelema ward, Kigoma region.
Before, the schools lacked safe water to serve more than 2500 students who carried buckets of water from home or ponds for drinking and washroom uses when they are in schools. Lack of clean and safe drinking water and inadequate sanitation led to the increase of waterborne diseases within the school and surrounding communities during the rainy seasons, when students draw water from local shallow wells. Female teachers and students are often the most vulnerable and the situation was also a big challenge for menstrual hygiene management. Provision of water has allowed female teachers and students to do other chores and increase school performance and wellbeing. More than that, the schools started organic vegetables gardens to create awareness about environmental conservation.
As a shy eighth grader, Jagger attended her first service-learning trip to Orlando working with Give Kids The World in support of terminally ill children and their families fulfilling their Make-A-Wish trip. This gave Jagger a taste of who she could be and the difference she can make.
Through SaLT, a local non-profit, Shop N’ Drop was created. Shop N’ Drop is a service program providing groceries and personal items to approximately 1,265 people in 306 families who are food insecure and economically impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
As the youngest member of the team, Jagger jumped in with her full self, wanting to support the families. The team consisted of two adults and three students, and together they were able to create ways to safely support the families in need. Shop N’ Drop is not a drive-up food pantry, but rather a community support system for families through COVID-19 relief and recovery.
Since May 2020, Jagger has made contact with every family served, via phone calls or text messages. Jagger’s relationships with the families have grown so much. Two years later, Jagger is proud that she is still volunteering each week and taking on responsibilities she never thought possible.
Sarah Goody is a 17-year-old climate activist and founder of Climate NOW. Climate NOW is an international youth-led organization focused on educating and empowering young people to take climate action. Climate NOW was founded in 2019, and has since worked with over 10,000 youth from across the world and presented to over 70 K-12 schools from around the world.
Sarah is the chair of the Corte Madera Climate Action Committee, she is making history as the youngest person to chair a committee in her town. Sarah has spoken at schools and rallies and has appeared on podcasts and shows as a guest speaker. She is a published author, with work in Teen Vogue and The San Francisco Chronicle. In 2020, Sarah received the Princess Diana Award, the highest accolade a young person can achieve for social action or humanitarian efforts.
Jessica cofounded Farm Discovery in 2007. After witnessing the way people live around the world she knew that our solutions to a better, healthier more equitable world lie with our most basic needs: water and food.
She set out to work on improving water quality, food systems and ultimately human and ecological health through the empowerment of people, individuals, communities and citizens. Farm Discovery works with thousands of kids, youth and families to regenerate health in food, farming, nature and community.
By learning to grow, cook and eat food that is healthy and healing for the environment, Farm Discovery’s students become stewards of the land, their personal health and the wellbeing of the community.
Jane began volunteering at the Community Service Center of Morgan County – WellSpring/HopeSpring, a shelter for families experiencing homelessness, in 2017 after seeing a post on Facebook looking for individuals to serve as volunteer receptionists. The longer she volunteered at the shelter, the more skills she provided through administrative avenues. During COVID, Jane continued her service by taking on more administrative assistant responsibilities while other employees weren’t able to work.
Jane currently plays an important role in the shelter by assisting the executive director, serving as the data collector and analyst for the residents, clients and services the shelter provides, helping to ensure the shelter is compliment with awarded grants. She joined the Community Service Center of Morgan County – WellSpring/HopeSpring Board of Directors in 2021. In addition to her loyal service to CSCMC – WellSpring/HopeSpring, she works full time as a CT Technologist at the local hospital and serves on a national level for Psi Iota Xi Sorority, a philanthropic organization that she joined more than 20 years ago.
Christopher has overcome multiple brain surgeries, reconstructive arm surgeries, strokes, seizures and repeated hospitalizations. His health issues were so severe that he physically died at 9 and 16 years old. His strokes left him legally blind with a very limited field of vision. Finally, he was diagnosed with Loeys-Dietz Syndrome Type 4.
Despite all his challenges, he started doing community service when he was just six years old. These volunteering experiences led him to open his own nonprofit foundation, 1Boy4Change, Inc., when he was thirteen. He has been involved in multiple philanthropic ventures, including providing heat alarms and first-aid kits for police K9 teams, coffee for soldiers overseas, wishes and family aid projects. He ran a program for adults and children with ongoing medical challenges to tell their unique story through beads: the “Warrior Beads” program. He continues working with service dogs for US Military Veterans.
He has a very deep-seated faith that drives him to help others. Christopher doesn’t want to live with the regret of not doing something when he could have done something!
Piyush Malik is a startup executive, entrepreneur and board advisor. He has always been passionate about sustainability, engineering entrepreneurship, DEI, youth empowerment, education and volunteerism. He has served on industry consortia as well as several nonprofit boards for the past 20+ years, including American Society of Engineers (ASEI) where he’s the national chairman and founding president of its Silicon Valley chapter.
Piyush is always ready to help build the next generation. Over the decades, he has been a STEM champion in schools and Technology Advisor to Fremont School District and now University of California. He was recognized in 2013 by President’s Volunteer Services Lifetime achievement award and in 2022 by NCWIT Aspirations in Computing as educator/mentor.
A thought leader in digital, data analytics, applied AI/ML and other emerging technologies, he is a frequent speaker at conferences and contributor to publications. He was recognized previously by IBM with Academy of Technology appointment and IAIDQ with Leadership & Service Excellence award in 2015 and recently for his exemplary contributions to profession as well as society by National Association for Asian American Professionals with a 2022 NAAAP100 award.
Yating Tang is a high school student from Long Island who is passionate about anti-bullying efforts, lifting up the marginalized and combating gun violence through activism and art.
Yating’s volunteer efforts focus on vulnerable communities locally and worldwide. She is a Youth Board Member of LICAB, the largest anti-bullying organization on Long Island. LICAB offers subsidized therapy, tutoring, and after-school activities for youth harmed by bullying. As the director of fundraising for Girl Pride International, Yating coordinates events that empower displaced and refugee girls.
In 2022, Yating created a digital portrait of journalist Marie Catherine Colvin for Women’s History Month, highlighting the atrocities of the war in Ukraine. Syosset Advance, Newsday and Oyster Bay Herald covered the dedication, and the latter featured the artwork on its front page. She also created art used in the March For Our Lives event in Long Island, calling attention to the national gun violence crisis.
Sheraz Alam, a young boy from Bengaluru, has single-handedly built a nonprofit platform called eNGOy that connects donors to non-governmental organizations. It helps NGOs receive funds for their functioning from individuals who want to make a difference in the lives of the underserved.
Within just a few months of its creation, the platform got over three hundred NGOs registered from every single state in India with users from fifteen different countries. India, USA, Netherlands, Canada, France, Germany, Saudi Arabia and Singapore are some of the countries from which his platform has users. He is working on adding quadratic funding to the website, which exponentially increases donations. This would make him the first-ever person in the world to have used quadratic funding for NGOs.
He has been lauded by professors at IIT Mumbai and the alumni of IIT Chennai and IISc. He has been volunteering at NGOs like Child Rights and You, iVolunteer and other local NGOs since the age of 11. He has been recommended for the Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Bal Puraskar 2023 (highest civilian honor for Indian citizens aged under 18) by Nirmala Sitharaman (minister of finance of India) and Tejasvi Surya, youngest member of Indian Parliament.
Eight years ago, Nicole R. Smith answered her calling as a volunteer administrator and has since made it her goal to encourage, assist, educate, uplift and elevate those who are the cornerstone of volunteering: the Leaders of Volunteers. She created two virtual meet up groups during the pandemic for people to commune, idea share and support each other. She published 101 Affirmations for Volunteer Administrators with the simple purpose of encouraging leaders of volunteers.
She created the podcast “From the Suggestion Box” so others who lead volunteers can relate to the outlandish feedback they receive, but more importantly how to navigate it and laugh a little while doing so. She is committed to encouraging people to be resilient in pursuing their goals and to diversity and inclusion, even mandating diversity training in several organizations for every new volunteer joining their program. She paves the way for the next generation by mentoring participants Tessitura’s ECD program and starting and growing 4 different internship programs. Passionate about community, in her current role, Nicole provides people the opportunity to disrupt the cycle of homelessness while simultaneously counteracting stereotypes commonly held regarding homelessness.
Fourteen-year-old Sanya Sujdak (pictured in the foreground) is in the early stages of a lifetime of community engagement and empowerment. Growing up, she spent her summers in her mom’s birth country, India, where she gained perspectives on the different ways people can lead successful and fulfilling lives. These trips also reinforced in her the idea that having an open, multicultural mindset means being able to get out of your own “cultural comfort zone” in order to best reach those in the most underserved communities.
This idea is what lead her to FORA (Forging Opportunities for Refugees in America). This local, nonprofit organization provides sufficient education for refugee children in America, as they believe literacy is a human right. These children have had limited or interrupted education while Sanya has not. These children have had to move to a new country and pick up the pieces of their schooling while Sanya has not. After realizing this, she was motivated to work with FORA as a summer intern and continue throughout the fall. The experience has developed her ability to understand the situation of others. She’s making visible differences at FORA, but there’s still a long way to go.
Wesley Tilghman, 16, of Panama City, FL is a conservationist advocating for being a responsible consumer of Florida’s natural resources. He is the founder of Conservation Brothers, a program focused on protecting and preserving the environment while also creating opportunities for young people to become more aware of their role in conservation and make a measurable impact in the environment.
Wesley has had the opportunity to host beach clean-ups with over 100 miles of shoreline cleaned of trash, debris and discarded fishing line. He has also started an initiative to provide fishing line receptacles at boat ramps and fishing locations throughout Florida, to eliminate improper disposal of fishing tackle. For the past four years, Wesley has been an active participant in a multitude of conservation activities including: Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Sea Urchin round-up, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Program for Oyster Bed Restoration and assisting with Sea Turtle nest excavation with Turtle Watch. Wesley continues to u
Alan Steinberg is a passionate civic leader with the desire to improve the Houston community through education, advocacy and civic action by connecting people who can turn challenges into opportunities.
Alan lives a life of servant leadership that started as a volunteer in a nursing home while still in elementary school, standing on a stool to help make photocopies and delivering goodie baskets to residents. He continues to embody that concept today through his multitude of volunteer service.
Today, Alan is most often found in a cowboy hat volunteering with the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, an organization that raises over $20 million annually to support youth and education. Alan has volunteered with the show for the past 15 seasons and currently serves on nine committees.
Additionally, Alan serves on Houston’s Clean City Commission, and the boards of multiple organizations including the Memorial Management District, Leadership Houston, Plant It Forward Farms and Keep Houston Beautiful. Alan also volunteers with the American Red Cross Texas Gulf Coast Region, the HAY Center for Foster Youth, the Alief Super Neighborhood Council and serves on the Advisory Council for Volunteer Houston.
Suzanne Massey takes the joy of community-building and support seriously as head of the Santander Consumer USA Foundation. She is responsible for $60 million, $10 million of which is applied in community grants throughout many locations in Texas, Arizona and Florida. She established five strategic pillars of giving to address community needs more effectively and this has allowed the foundation to better target impact with a J.E.D.I. lens.
She was an initiator behind the foundation’s commitment to address the digital divide. An early investment in a converted school bus that became a Mobile Learning Lab served under-connected communities before the pandemic. In 2020, the digital divide in our country became even more apparent and the foundation partnered with a national agency for digital inclusion work through digital literacy and education, laptop distributions and connectivity.
Beyond funding, Suzanne connects with the business for volunteers to benefit nonprofits. She was instrumental in the expansion of the Santander volunteer program using a communications campaign asking colleagues to serve 20,000 volunteer hours before the start of 2020. Employees responded in abundance and Santander had over 24,000 hours that year!
Aspen Taylor Hanohano is a 12-year-old seventh grader from Hawai’i. She speaks fluent Hawaiian and adores her culture and ‘Ohana (Family). Aspen Taylor is an advocate for Child Abuse Prevention (Parent Bullying) and the B.R.A.V.E organization, a national anti-bullying campaign. She prides herself in educating others about bullying and serving her community.
In a year, she has completed over 250 hours of service. Aspen Taylor is the creator of BRAVE FOOTSTEPS, a flip flop campaign to bring awareness to parent bullying. This campaign made an impact nationally. She collected over 850 pairs of flip flops from across the U.S. She is also the creator of Aloha Bags of Hope and filled over 200 back packs and bags with necessities children need when they are removed from their home due to abuse.
Aspen Taylor started You Got RAOK’d by AT (Random Acts of Kindness By Aspen Taylor.) She delivers local goodies to people and professionals in her community who are often overlooked or underappreciated. Aspen Taylor has a platform, Don’t Hush Up! Stand, Speak and BE Brave, encouraging victims and bystanders to be brave enough to stand their ground, speaking up for themselves and others.
Kathy started working with an inner-city 4-H club in 1999. The kids she works with are lower-income and the group tries to show them how to succeed in life and be a better person in their community. Kathy and her husband work hard to help break the cycle of poverty with these kids by showing them that they can give back, save for the future and spend with the profits of their hard work.
The little club celebrated its 50th year this year and they try to stick strongly to the 4-H motto: “To make the best better.” The club will do a fundraiser each year and we will either give money back to an organization in our community and/or donate time for the organization. Kathy also serves on the county’s extension education advisory board. This allows her to have input into the programs 4-H offers in the county so she can be a voice for the kids as well. She also volunteers with her church as the treasurer and works as a nurse to try to help patients who are struggling get access to the services they need on a daily basis with in the community.
Dwishojoyee is a young person whose journey began when she started accompanying her parents to their organization as a child and interacted with change taking place hands-on, as her parents strived to oyster a space for slum-pearls. This experience was the incubator for the changemaker in her.
In 2020, she was in 10th grade when she started her own organization, The Soft Move, with the vision to enhance the relationship people have with activism. That’s the reason she christened it “the soft movement,” a movement for real, solution-oriented changes.
Thus, to her, these never came as an extracurricular activity on her resume, rather a lifestyle.
One of their projects, The Paper Bag Project, has enabled small vendors in India to switch to upcycled alternatives from plastic bags who were unable to despite the ban in India due to financial constraints. So far they’ve reached 17 cities and have replaced over 10,000 plastic bags.
She has been recognized as an Ashoka young Changemaker and a Global changemaker for her work, recently. Dwishojoyee continues to learn from everyday experiences and strives to make changemaking a simple set that everyone can take up and contribute towards.
For thirty years, Judy Winter has dedicated her life to improving the lives of children with disabilities, including ten years as a certified therapy dog team in Michigan elementary schools and at Michigan State University. Her commitment to volunteerism resulted from her son, Eric’s, birth diagnosis of cerebral palsy in 1990. Winter has worked passionately to create needed change and greater awareness for Eric and others with differing abilities.
The Outstanding MSU Alumni has published dozens of articles on the subject. Her 2006 book, “Breakthrough Parenting for Children with Special Needs: Raising the Bar of Expectations,” was groundbreaking. When Eric died suddenly in 2003 at age 12, Winter co-founded the Eric “RicStar” Winter Music Therapy Camp to honor his music gift and provide music therapy for people of all ages with disabilities.
Now in its 20th year, this nationally recognized camp has served more than 2,000 campers and hundreds of families/friends/professionals. RicStar’s Camp has received recognition from President Joe Biden, Michigan Governor, Gretchen Whitmer, singer/songwriter Camila Cabello and L’Oreal Paris. Winter is now executive producer on a documentary film about camp entitled Camp RicStar, currently in production.
Katina has been volunteering over 40 years. Her passion is to support, assist and empower individuals to adapt and function in their environment by utilizing resources. During her teenage and young adult years, Katina volunteered at local hospitals and nursing homes and always had a zeal to care for those who sometimes couldn’t care for themselves. She also helped out with church and community events, often being the organizer and executer.
As a middle aged female, Katina experienced life-altering events including a traumatic brain injury and shattered right ankle. She didn’t let this stop her from fulfilling her calling in life. She founded a nonprofit called Wear It Well, whose goal is providing dignity and hope to those facing life’s adversities through educational programs. They offer after school and summer programs for school age children, workforce preparedness programs for adults, host initiatives to provide necessities and hygiene items and house a clothing closet. For the past five years, Wear It Well is a well-known group serving MS and TN, making a major impact and enhancing lives by renewing the mind, body and soul. Katina holds an undergraduate degree in business and a masters degree in management and leadership.
Veronica Maturino is an advocate for small business development and a champion for underserved communities. Veronica actively commits time and effort to support the need and aspirations of others. Throughout the course of her professional life, Mrs. Maturino has helped thousands of aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners to realize their dreams of business ownership and self-sufficiency. Recently appointed to the Council on Underserved Communities by the SBA, Veronica exercises her voice to ensure that the needs of people of color and minorities are met.
On an international basis, Veronica has worked with up-and-coming leaders to fulfill their visions of women and girl empowerment. In recent years Veronica was recognized for making a difference in the lives of women and girls by the Oklahoma Journal Record. Embracing the idea that women and girls should build one another up, Veronica works tirelessly to advocate for the collective voices of women to rise up in an effort to create a pathway for a better tomorrow and more opportunities for women and girls in the future. She supports the activities of girls in the Oklahoma area through sponsorships that enable them to excel in their life goals.
Debra started her volunteer work with Interfaithworks of CNY, Senior Services Department in 2019. They match volunteers with seniors living in facilities for weekly visits. Debra was matched with a wonderful 99-year-old man named Luigi. They became fast friends, and then the COVID-19 pandemic came and visits stopped.
They continued to speak over the phone almost daily. Luigi called Debra’s cell phone as she was driving to her father’s nursing home where he was passing away. Despite it being a difficult time for both, Debra and Luigi got their vaccines and made sure to see one another as soon as it was allowed. Luigi somehow had a condolences card for Debra on our first visit. She was so moved by his compassion and resourcefulness, while she was there to help him.
After attending an Interfaithworks Inservice at zoo, she bought Luigi a fluffy stuffed elephant at the gift shop. It became a wonderful bundle of joy for all who entered his room as they held it sitting with him. At age 101, Luigi passed away and as Debra attended his services her heart was broken. Then during his funeral, she saw a priest holding Luigi’s stuffed elephant and sharing a wonderful story of how Luigi gave it to him after a recent visit. Immediately Debra felt such peace and consoled by Luigi!
Recognizing that hope for a positive future gives power to present leaders, Rebecca Henderson has served on more than four dozen nonprofit boards of directors, ranging in scope from local to international. Her volunteerism spans over half a century of service.
Often working behind the scenes to accomplish goals that benefit a variety of communities, Rebecca sees the power of collaborative partnerships. People often say, “You see a situation and try to make it better with your leadership, connections and service.” Whether it’s taking brownies to the local fire station or chairing a major event for one of her beloved nonprofits, Rebecca works tirelessly to bring a smile to the face of other people.
While most of Rebecca’s nonprofit work has been through the auspices of membership-based organizations, such as the Girl Scouts, the Junior League and Rotary, she also has given her time to a variety of other community benefit organizations. Some of them include the Johnson City Community Health Center, the Children’s Advocacy Center of the First Judicial District (in Tennessee) and Ballad Health, a regional hospital system.
Rebecca strives to be a leadership level community influencer, as she serves with significance.
Ziyu Yu is the assistant director of Membership and Recruitment for the student-run and award-winning nonprofit, Long Island Labor Against COVID-19 (LILAC). She is also the assistant director of Fundraising for its parent organization, Girls Pride International (GPI), which provides opportunities for girls worldwide.
Over the past two years, Ziyu has helped raise over $11,000 to benefit LILAC’s COVID relief efforts on Long Island and beyond. She has promoted the freedom of the press through GPI’s ART in ACTION initiative Marie Colvin Tribute Series. She is also an integral part of the LILAC’S ThankYou & WeCare Artwork Series, creating over 15 paintings that have been displayed in hospitals, nursing homes, legislative buildings and libraries throughout the Long Island area.
Most recently, she helped raise funds to help build a maternity ward and an additional classroom in the Samburu region of Kenya. To combat gun violence, she represented GPI in the March for Our Lives Long Island.
Norm is the lucky human of a therapy dog team with his two dogs, Oliver, a Cairn Terrier, and Opal, a miniature Dachshund. Every time they volunteer, Norm sees Oliver and Opal perform joyful miracles with the people they visit each month. The team is a nationally-registered therapy dog team with Therapy Dogs International. Weekly, they volunteer with two Norbella Assisted Living facilities in Prior Lake and Savage, Minnesota, with hospice, memory care and assisted living residents, along with twice a month visiting two hospice patients, once a month with Eastern Carver County Schools with a special education program with young adults with autism and once a month with a local library helping young children to become better readers.
Norm has been volunteering for 12 years with Oliver and three years with Opal, serving their fellow humans by bringing love, joy, empathy and caring to uplift their lives every month. These two canine partners are truly “angels in disguise” and Norm is the lucky human who gets to hold their leashes and lead the team on this beautiful journey of love and service.
Annsley has written and published her own book that focuses on the importance of inclusion. She has also created programs and hands-on activities that complement her book. Throughout the past 6 years, Annsley has volunteered her time by going into elementary and middle schools to read her book and present her inclusion programs. She has reached thousands of students from her efforts and will continue to do so!
In 1999, Jessica sat with her children, ages one, two and three, for their bedtime. She passed the time by making a blanket. Who could she give the blanket to? Her children each had a blanket of “their very own”, allowing them to feel loved and safe. In the quiet space she thought of hearing how children in foster care have so little of their “very own.” Her heart was deeply moved that all children deserve and need to feel loved. Watching her children hang onto their blankets inspired her to share the blanket she was making with a child in foster care.
A simple request to friends & family to make “just one blanket” was the start of My Very Own Blanket, an organization that has grown to 2022’s goal of impacting the lives of 30,000 children living in foster care.
My Very Own Blanket exists due to the kindness & dedication of “Blanket Angel” volunteers and is all-inclusive, from individuals, students, seniors and adult day care centers to civic, faith and business groups. Each “Blanket Angel” makes a blanket for a child, one they will never meet, with the goal to share their time and love with a child who deserves to be loved! After 23 years, Jessica’s vision still holds true: “When we all do a little, together we can accomplish a lot.”
Mindy began Patches of Light, an organization that assists families with a child facing a catastrophic health diagnosis and financial hardship, 23 years ago. The organization began due to her family’s own experiences with children diagnosed with a catastrophic illness: cancer and a congenital heart defect.
Mindy took her experiences and began helping families in her community facing similar situations, but soon realized that there were families outside her community also needing help. With the guidance of a hospital social worker she formed an organization that now assists across the United States and beyond.
Patches of Light is a volunteer based organization that works diligently to provide assistance to families so that they can remain together during their child’s diagnosis, treatments and hopeful recovery. The children being assisted are facing mental health, illness or injury that will in all likelihood change the family structure in a negative way. Providing support allows a family a moment to breathe and to know they are not alone in their fight for wellness.
Her motto is, “believe in the light, be the light.” She believes in, and is, a light to families facing the dark times that come with a sick child.
At the height of the pandemic, Netra Easwaran, now a senior at Horace Greeley High School, took note of an alarming trend: a sharp decrease in community volunteering. Organizations had lost the ability to interact with volunteers in person, leading to a noticeable decline in volunteer recruitment, turnout and retention.
To counteract this, Netra conceptualized “Project Certify,” a campaign that aims to certify nonprofit and community organizations for the President’s Volunteer Service Award (PVSA). She led this program under the aegis of New York State Senator Peter Harckham.
Project Certify has now certified over 15 organizations, including fire departments, ambulance corps, public libraries, grassroots civic education groups and food pantries. The campaign has since impacted upwards of 900 volunteers, who now have the opportunity to receive federal recognition for their efforts. The program endeavors to bolster the volunteer numbers and engagement of the newly certified organizations, thereby maximizing their ability to serve the community. Netra was awarded the New York State Senate Youth Leadership Award for inspiring like-minded youth to play an active role in society.
Andrea has served as a Volunteer TN board member, DOVIA board member, ALIVE board member, CCVA Outreach committee member and in leadership positions with the local Junior League of Memphis for many years. In her board positions, she is committed to educating others that volunteerism is another part of life and not just a requirement. She also strives professionally and personally to promote volunteer opportunities in her local community.
Andrea obtained her Certified Volunteer Administrator (CVA) to better advocate for the field of volunteerism. In addition to her service on the board, she has volunteered with fellow board members to support Tennessee nonprofits like community thrift store/food bank and YMCA. Outside of her board services, she is also an advocate for young women. She mentors and advises the next generation of leaders to pursue a seat at the table because their voice is needed. She loves encouraging others! Andrea’s heart for her community and service is why the Greater Memphis community is a better place.
Angela has served on the Shelby Farms Park Conservancy Board and as the Past President of the Tennessee Recreation and Parks Association (TRPA).
Angela is a true advocate for those who are underserved and underrepresented in the field of Parks and Recreation. To this end, Angela’s service has been to educate and promote access. On a national level, Angela volunteers with TRPA and the Women’s Earth Alliance.
On a state level, her involvement has provided several opportunities to partner on initiatives providing access to all as it relates to equity, recreation and parks. Two of these initiatives are the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC)’s “Tires to Trails” and the 2030 Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP) initiative.
On the local level, Angela is an advocate for debt freedom. She is now a local Public Service Loan Forgiveness advocate, sharing information and providing hands-on support to those in need. She is a true encourager, and her efforts are felt in Memphis and beyond.
Matisse first started volunteering three years ago at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. He first wanted to get involved by volunteering for political campaigns as it was an election year, but as the pandemic continued into the summer, he realized there were other ways that his community needed help. The Iowa City farmer’s market had been canceled that summer, but an online version was started by a local nonprofit called Field to Family. Matisse started spending his days helping them pack and distribute the hundreds of online orders that they were getting every week.
As more things opened up in-person again, Matisse continued to expand the realm in which he volunteered. He started doing more special events, such as the Iowa City Summer Arts Festival. He also began volunteering as a cashier at a local thrift store that he frequented called Crowded Closet. The online market is still going, albeit at a smaller capacity, but Matisse continues to explore new and interesting ways to give back to his community.
Typhani has been actively involved in volunteering for most of her life. It was something she was born into and as she grew older, she developed her own platform issues and advocacy involvement. Some of the organizations that she has devoted her time to are: American Cancer Society, Central PA Humane Society, March of Dimes, Toys for Tots, Sideline Cancer, Moms Demand Action, Children’s Miracle Network and Burgi’s Low-Life Riders. As a fourth grade teacher, she instills kindness and encourages her students to pay it forward.
Growing up, Typhani was bullied throughout her entire school career. Having supportive parents, she learned how to transform those painful experiences into something positive. That is why she created Bookworms Against Bullies, which is geared towards helping people overcome bullying by sharing a love for books. She is an anti-bullying motivational speaker who speaks at college and elementary classes and has published numerous articles on the topic. She recently published her first children’s book, “#87 Sent from Heaven,” in memory of her father. The book is available to purchase, but she will be donating books and proceeds to different organizations throughout the year.
Shrusti Amula is the 16-year-old founder of the nonprofit Rise N Shine. She started the first composting program in her area and now runs it in eight public schools. The program has diverted over 35,700 pounds of food waste from going into landfills. That’s 1,605 gallons of gas avoided, 236 seedlings planted and miles driven offset of 35,860 miles. This program has been very instrumental in helping schools get green certified.
Taking inspiration from her composting program, Senate Bill 124 was passed: a grant program to compost school waste. In support of this bill, she ran a postcard campaign that received the support of 6,000 community members and testified at Capital Hill. After seeing how much uneaten food is thrown away, she realized that the same is true for unsold food in the business. She partnered with various businesses to recover unsold food and distribute it to local shelters and food banks in her community, championing both climate change and hunger. Rise N Shine has been able to donate over 50,000 meals, $75,000 worth of meals and over 1,000 volunteer hours. Finally, Shrusti opened the first food recovery program in her county schools!
Zach was 7 years old when his parents asked him to start taking out the trash. He wondered where all of the trash went and how this affected the planet. Researching areas where he could best help, Zach was alarmed to learn that 300 million books are discarded into landfills each year and that a lot of parents throw away stuffed animals that their kids have outgrown because many resale shops don’t accept them. He began organizing collection drives and so far, he’s succeeded in keeping 150,000 pounds of used items out of local landfills and saving 6,000 trees by promoting the reuse of books.
In 2017, he launched a service project called Zach’s Planet and in 2019 he teamed up with his brother to create a 501(c)(3) nonprofit called Eco Brothers, working to help the planet and its people.
Zach, now 13, and his brother have collected 200,000 books, distributing them to Little Free Libraries in all 50 states, as well as to 45,000 local students. He’s also collected and upcycled more than 4,000 gently used stuffed animals, making them into pet toys and donating them to animal shelters in 42 states. Zach even caught the eye of Drew Barrymore and was invited on her show to discuss ways everyone can help the environment.
Osborn Murray III began veteran alliance as he enlisted in the US Army as a 35N SIGNT Intelligence Analyst, stationed at Fort Gillum, Georgia, and served with the HHC 221 Headquarters Company, during which time he was in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
In 2012, Osborn would be treated at the Atlanta Medical VA Hospital for Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), a broken neck and other medical issues. After two years of intense comprehensive treatment, his psychologist suggested he volunteer in the community to help, and after two years, Calalus Charities was started.
Since 2014 Calalus has been able to give not only food, but also new clothes, shoes and free health care events to the community. The organization has served over 3,700 members with its Homeless Veteran Initiative.
Calalus Charities started in January 2014. Receiving in-kind funding from various partners ensured members residing in the Metro Atlanta area would be connected. As chairman of Calalus Charities, Osborn oversees placement, case management and partner training. He knows the importance of “keeping your word,” standing for advocacy with a “boots on the ground” approach.
Catherine uses her gifts in the visual arts to be an advocate for mental health and wellness programs and enjoys participating in poster contests for suicide prevention, mental health awareness, character education and internet safety.
What began as packing Christmas boxes for people in El Salvador and pulling her little Radio Flyer wagon to neighbors to collect food for the Louisiana Baptist Children’s Home grew into a life of service. Catherine joins her church on annual weekend mission trips to the Dallas/Fort Worth area to care for Nepalis and Bhutanese displaced people. Catherine enjoys meeting the needs of these individuals and families by moving furniture, helping them do chores, passing out blankets and clothes, sharing the Gospel and playing with the children at the park.
Catherine teaches art lessons during summer children’s camps at Common Ground Community Center. Common Ground is committed to helping those who may be hungry or lacking other basic needs. Catherine regularly serves in the food pantry on Thursday nights at Common Ground. She enjoys getting to know people and helping those experiencing food insecurity.
Mr. Copes’ Chickasaw High School students have formed Life Changer Manufacturing, where they are 3/D printing prosthetic legs for people in developing countries. Last year his students traveled to Latin America where they fit over 50 amputees with prosthetic legs.
This year, schools from across the country are joining his students in the manufacturing of prosthetic legs. COVID-19 has shut down schools around the world. Many schools don’t have access to online learning. Mr. Copes’ construction classes are converting a shipping container into a solar powered computer lab to give to a school in Latin America that has never had electricity. This will allow the students access to online learning opportunities.
His 7th grade students are building beach wheelchairs that will allow people access to beaches. Many of Mr. Copes students and volunteers have received the Presidential Volunteer Service Award. This year it is expected that over 100 people will receive this award through their participation on these projects.
Shyam is a 12-year-old middle school student in Chesterfield who has a passion for the environment. He is an executive board member of Recycle My Battery, working with local leaders to deliver recycling bins, oversee volunteers and coordinate drop-offs of batteries to safe recycling centers. He has been educating countless amounts of people in the community about the environmental impact batteries can cause and the importance of recycling them properly.
Shyam and many other passionate kids at Recycle My Battery have been working with local schools to set up battery recycling bins for easier recycling and to help spread the message. As awareness grows, so does the team. With success comes challenge as the team looks to help more communities that don’t have bins or other resources readily available. With the world’s rapid increase of battery use, their aim is to conserve mother earth.
Ruth took the solemn decision to return to her home country Cameroon during a crisis after her studies in the United Kingdom. Her loved ones feared for her life, but for Ruth, this was an opportunity to give back to her community, to work with the thousands of vulnerable women and girls who are victims of the conflict and share her knowledge acquired from the Lord Ashcroft School of Business and Leadership, ARU UK.
Upon her return to Cameroon, Ruth made the following observations: the crisis has increased the number of women headed households, a huge number of children from women headed households were school dropouts, the high influx of internally displaced persons moving into host communities strained water resources which generated the problem of water shortage and a greater number of the women had no jobs.
Ruth liaised with partners and raised funds to send over 300 children from women headed households back to school. Ruth reached out to a U.S. partner and rehabilitated water stations to serve over 3,000 IDPs. Ruth is currently carrying out economic empowerment sessions with her team at Investing in People Worldwide (IPW) Cameroon to economically empower 500 IDP women and girls to help them take charge of their lives and continue to be female breadwinners for their families.
Farhin Ahmed is a social entrepreneur who revolutionized the social impact sector of South Asia as one of the founding figures of its immersive tech industry, most notably renovating the mental healthcare system.
Farhin’s first project, Oleek, debuted as the pioneering immersive tech platform in South Asia, which provided mixed reality marketing tools to local SMEs. Being diagnosed with ADHD at an early age, Farhin did not find enough mental health treatments in his country and so he used his experience with immersive tech to establish Inside, the first mental health platform in South Asia that offers VR therapy to its patients and has voluntary teams working across multiple countries.
Farhin, along with his team, has also organized mental wellness camps in local slums and brothels, assisting hundreds of victims from marginalized transgender communities and sex worker communities. His platform also organizes live sessions and workshops to reach out to thousands of candidates, aiming to serve millions in the long run. For his contributions, the Government of Bangladesh awarded him the 2019 National ICT Award, and he was selected for the UN Millennium Fellowship Class of 2021 to join its first cohort from Bangladesh.
Rakshita Jayaswal is a 15-year-old at Urbana High School. She is part of EKAL, Green Team and Recycle My Battery, organizations dedicated to making earth a better place to live.
Rakshita is known for being a part of the design team, putting together posters, flyers and websites to help educate people on what the organizations stand for and how they can help the cause. Rakshita is also known for writing articles for her community, Green Team, EKAL and Recycle My Battery.
Rakshita is the co-chair of Recycle My Battery’s PR and Media team and co-founder of Recycle My Battery club at her school. She ran a booth where she educated close to one hundred people on how their seemingly small contributions could help the environment, such as planting trees and recycling batteries. She convinced the Frederick YMCA director to add a battery recycling bin at one of their centers. Aside from running booths at community events, Rakshita is part of several food and clothing drives to help those in need. Rakshita has been a volunteer for over one and a half years. She plans on continuing to help the environment and serving the community.
Mihir Kumar is a 13-year-old student at Urbana Middle School who has committed to spreading environmental awareness regarding batteries and helping educate other young students in STEM. He is the Maryland Chapter lead and national executive board leader for an international organization called Recycle My Battery, a nonprofit that educates the public on recycling batteries and collects batteries to be safely recycled.
In the past year, Mihir has lead the Maryland effort in recruiting 45 new members to the team. He has connected with leaders in the community, leaders in government, university professors and other organizations. In addition, Mihir has given presentations at clubs and large social events and community events to spread the word about the importance of recycling batteries. Through the leadership of Mihir, the Maryland Chapter has recycled around 25,000 batteries.
In addition to Recycle My Battery, Mihir has also mentored two different community robotics teams and held online math classes to help students get ahead and learn more than just the content provided in school. He has participated in several different community events such as trash collection, planting trees and working in a pollinator garden.
After the tragedy on the Fourth of July in her hometown of Highland Park, Lili knew that she had to take action. Along with other community organizers from SaLT (Service and Learning Together), Lili worked tirelessly the entire summer to create and distribute “Highland Park STRONG” t-shirts to families all across her community.
Every cent collected from the sale of these t-shirts was donated directly to the victims and their families. This was important to Lili; not only did this help the families that were impacted, these efforts helped to bring Highland Park and the surrounding communities closer together when they needed each other the most. “Even today, when I see someone wearing the “Highland Park STRONG” message, I feel the heartfelt pride and a sense of connection to her community and people in it,” she says.
Lili has been volunteering with SaLT for three years. She helps out in various projects along with Highland Park Strong like Shop n Drop, which helps deliver food and other essentials to local families in need. Lili participates the student travel program, doing service in Puerto Rico, Orlando, New Orleans and more.
Aditi Senthilkumar, a 14-year-old freshman in high school, is propelling the next generation of STEM enthusiasts in the community. Over the past two years, working with local non-profits, Avanee and UrbanaSTEMM, Aditi has organized multiple free hands-on robotics workshops. Her workshops have inspired over 30 kids and even resulted in new teams being formed in the area!
In sixth grade, Aditi joined a robotics team and realized that the program could seem unfamiliar and intimidating to young kids, creating a barrier to entry. She wanted to change this, so she put together a fun and exciting program focused on the fundamentals of robot design, programming and friendly competition to take the fear out of robotics. Aditi hopes that her robotics journey will encourage younger girls to explore robotics and programming. She aims to promote diversity in STEM by making these workshops accessible to girls and kids from underrepresented communities.
Apprenticeship programs are among the most effective ways to close the skills gap and address unemployment—especially among those who have been historically left out of the workforce, like women and people of color.
Loree has pioneered the idea of teaching technical education to incarcerated men and women at Elmwood County Jail and mentored those students through their first 90 days of return.
Loree helped build a company that has been helping young people create career paths in construction, energy efficiency and other industries. Loree knows how difficult it can be to achieve goals when you don’t have any support or on-the-job training.
That’s why Loree helped CityLab Professional Apprenticeship Programs — to provide the skills people from broken families need to succeed. Loree volunteers for nonprofit organizations that help people build a better life through workforce development, mentorship and access to capital. She also mentors young women who are trying to get their first job in construction.
Charles Henry is medically retired combat veteran who served in Kandahar, Afghanistan with the 101st Screaming Eagles 96th Aviation Support Battalion. Upon his military retirement to San Antonio TX, Charles finished his education obtaining multiple degrees in business, public policy and IT networking. He then went on to start business Henry & Co. Consulting and Henry & Co. International.
Outside of business, Charles serves his community and the International community as well doing humanitarian missions in Nicaragua, Honduras, Mexico and Haiti. In 2021, The House of Henry Foundation was founded by Charles to build successful minority men by providing mentorship, etiquette training, financial literacy classes and scholarships.
Charles has been volunteering and serving veterans over 12 years in advocacy & legislation with Wounded Warrior Project, IAVA, Common Defense and The Mission Continues. Charles is a nationally recognized veterans advocate and is a true modern day renaissance man leading the way in business, politics and community service. “Service Before Self” is his trademark signature and mantra. Charles leads with service across the globe hoping to inspire others to continue their life after service as a beacon of light.
Aarna, 13 years old, is working on making the environment a more safe and better place by being a part of Recycle My Battery in Maryland. This organization spreads awareness about the dangers of throwing away batteries and strives to recycle batteries so that they are disposed of properly. They use special battery boxes, collect batteries and then ship them to a safe place to be recycled. Aarna has learned a lot about batteries from this organization and hopes to inspire other around her to help with this initiative.
Aarna has been an active volunteer for more than two years. Over the course of this time, she has volunteered in many different activities and been a part of many community events. Running booths at festivals, making videos, putting up yard signs and sending emails to congressmen for meetings are just some of the things she has done! Things like these help engage the community and get everyone around you to get to know about the program and implement recycling batteries into their daily lives.
Aarna is anticipating to continue working with this organization to help make our planet more safe and sustainable!
Jack was only 11 when he started his business creating something he’s always loved: charcuterie. Charcuterie is just a fancy way of saying meat and cheese plate. He named his business Jack’s Charc Bites and it was a runaway success!
Each week, Jack would take orders for his Charc Boxes from his Instagram followers and word spread quickly. Working only in his kitchen, he had limited supply, but he always sold out.
When he started his business, he wanted to make sure it also benefited the community, so 10% of his profits would go to a charity. His first charity was Rose’s House. Jack grew up going to Trader Joe’s with his mom and when he was 5 he met Pat Gonzalez, who worked there. A few years after they met, Pat was diagnosed with breast cancer. Pat realized there wasn’t a comfortable place to sleep for women being treated for the disease from out of town. When she beat the cancer, she created Rose’s House, so Jack wanted to make sure it was well supported.
Through his hard work and determination, he was able donates hundred of dollars to Rose’s House to support women being treated for this terrible disease. He also used his Instagram to spread awareness for Rose’s House. He’s honored his business can do such amazing things.
Holly has been volunteering for over 30 years in some form. In 2012 she received the Presidential Service Award and decided she needed to do more. As of 2022, she has an astounding 28,500 hours of service.
In 2018 Holly decided to add to open her own nonprofit app after many years of searching on how to best support the community and the undeserved as well as educated and give firsthand knowledge of homelessness, domestic violence and sexual assault survivorship and how it sometimes plays a role in an individual’s situations.
In a little less than four years Holly has been to 26 states putting up over 1,650 Walls of Love and helping almost one million people without any huge corporate sponsorships or grant monies.
Holly is excited to continue her journey and hopefully be to all 50 states by the end of 2024. Holly says that she loves her volunteers and the people who are kind and donate. She is also adamant about her favorite tag line, “It’s not a ME thing, it’s a WE thing and I’m nothing without all of my volunteers.” Most importantly she strives to “be the change” and she puts that into practice daily.
Snithika, a 10-year-old, has been passionate about the earth and started volunteering for past two plus years to save the planet. Snithika is working to save the planet through Recycle My Battery, a nonprofit that helps recycle batteries and educate people on its importance. She has been an active volunteer from Dec 2019, collecting batteries, conducting drives and educating many about the importance of recycling in all the ways to protect the environment.
She made a great impact to society by helping and educating people to recycle used batteries through proper and safe disposal. She placed bins at schools, learning centers and many other communities. She gave presentations at schools, libraries and YMCAs.
She recycled more than 2,000 batteries, educated more than 25,000 people and volunteered more than 200 plus hours. Her valuable message reached out to thousands of people through the social network. For all the services she has done so far, she got recognized and received Presidential Volunteer Service Award. Once asked Snithika mentioned by spreading awareness. Recycle today for a better tomorrow! Her hard work and positive attitude in protecting the earth will make a huge impact on our society.
Anika Doradla is a senior at North Shore Country Day in Winnetka, IL. She is incredibly passionate about human rights and environmental issues. Volunteering and service is one of Anika’s favorite hobbies.
For the past 18 months, Anika has volunteered over 200 hours at Forging Opportunities for Refugees in America (FORA), an organization that provides educational resources and tutoring to displaced people primarily from Myanmar, Syria and Afghanistan. Anika worked with displaced people, ages 5-15 to improve their math and English skills as well as help them build essential life skills. Her time volunteering at FORA is one she will always cherish.
Growing up as a child of immigrants, Farmington High School senior Seerat Bath has always been interested in the cultures and communities around her and finding ways to uplift them. She grew up speaking and understanding multiple languages. She has worked to spread this love of culture to raise awareness of social justice issues both within her school community and outside it.
Remembering her own difficulty navigating the U.S. as a first-generation immigrant alongside her parents, she sought to give back to young children in similar situations. She took this aspiration to Forging Opportunities for Refugees in America, where she works as a volunteer remote tutor, teaching math, English literacy and self-advocacy to displaced children to help them access education, finding a stable power in their voices to navigate the world around them and express themselves. Her work with displaced people has resonated with her, compelling her to advocate for a change in the use of certain refugee policies and calling out bias in the use of Humanitarian Parole.
She has also volunteered to help marginalized communities across the world gain access to English and math tutoring as a volunteer SAT tutor for Khan Academy’s Schoolhouse.
Sawyer began her volunteer work when she was just 6 years old, when her brother joined the Marine Corps. What started out as a few hundred care packages to him and fellow Marines quickly escalated to a few thousand packages each year, until December of 2017 when she learned her brother would not be coming home for Christmas.
This is when Sawyer started her “Sawyer’s Stockings Project” to send holiday cheer to members of the U.S. Military not going home for the holidays. In Sawyer’s first year of her project, she shipped 2,217 filled Christmas stockings to troops around the world.
In 2018 she founded her 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, Miss Sawyer’s Kids With A Cause. Sawyer felt that by attaining nonprofit status, she would be able to provide more care packages as well as stockings to military members and gain the support of the veteran community as well as supporters of the military.
Annually, Sawyer and her amazing volunteers now send over 25,000 care packages and over 10,000 filled stockings each year to military bases in over 70 countries and the US. Sawyer, now age 13, is also a national advocate for veterans and attends over 100 events a year with them as a keynote speaker and as a supporter of veterans’ issues.
Sam’s commitment to giving back to their community started in elementary school and continues today in their senior year in high school. In the last five years, they have completed over 1245 volunteer hours supporting 19 philanthropic organizations in their local community, including Meals on Wheels, Crittenton Services for Children and Families, Boys and Girls Club of Fullerton, Operation Gratitude, City of Fullerton, YWCA of North Orange County and more.
Sam found a special connection with the students at Crittenton Services and decided to focus their Girl Scout Gold Award project on helping these students — many of who are displaced people from other countries — learn about diversity, equity and inclusion through art. According to the UN Refugee Agency, by learning, playing and exploring their skills, displaced children can find ways to cope, drawing strength from their families and communities. Through their gold award program, Sam is combining their passion for service and their passion for art to help kids learn about and better understand the different cultures that they are experiencing as refugees in a new community.
Daniella has been volunteering with the nonprofit SaLT (Service and Learning Together) for a number of years. Yet this summer made the most significant impact on how she views the power of service and community.
On the Fourth of July, a mass shooting terrorized her hometown parade. It is pure joy when she thinks back to former memories of this parade. But unfortunately, for some children at the parade this past year, the only thing they took away was trauma, anxiety and fear.
After the devastating event, the SaLT team started distributing t-shirts to the community that read, “Highland Park STRONG.” The initiative was meant to instill unity and hope throughout the city while raising money for the Highland Park Community Foundation.
What started as a project distributing t-shirts out of a living room became a local movement. “Highland Park STRONG” was displayed throughout the city. Daniella had the honor of conversing with many community members, which opened her eyes to how different types of people were impacted. Daniella’s leadership and dedication helped to raise over $55,000. While Daniella has always had a passion for service, the impact of this summer has been life-changing.
From Port-au-Prince, Haiti to Monrovia, Liberia, Prerna Mona Khanna, MD has volunteered emergency medical aid to 15 countries over the past 22 years. A founding member of the Department of Homeland Security and a triple board-certified practicing physician, her medical service began with much-needed medical care of the Kosovo refugee crisis in 1999.
In total, she has provided grassroots hands-on medical care after five hurricanes, four earthquakes, two tsunamis, one monsoon flood, one plane crash, one terrorist attack, one typhoon, one war, two pandemics and two wildfires. She views the world as her community. She is tireless. Her boundless energy has enabled her to provide care and comfort to those at some of their weakest, most desperate depths of despair.
When disaster strikes, she is single-minded in determination. She puts her own challenges behind her and drops everything to get up and go, traveling to those in need, usually at her own cost. Other venues of her volunteerism include places such as Minamisanriku, Japan; Banda Aceh, Indonesia; Mumbai, India; Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic; Kathmandu, Nepal; Bantayan Island, Philippines and Suriname and Guyana. In addition to international work, she has assisted in U.S. disasters as well.
Glenn has been volunteering at the Balboa Park Visitors Center for over 21 years. In addition, he joined the Board of Trustees of Forever Balboa Park over 11 years ago. When the organization learned of Service Enterprise, Glenn was one of the first people who completed the training and was the only person in the training who was a Board member and a volunteer, rather than a staff member.
After training was completed, the organization fully adopted Service Enterprise principles and Glenn was the first chairperson of the Volunteer Engagement Committee, which was established to engage Trustees, program volunteers and staff in developing volunteer opportunities to further Forever Balboa Park’s mission. The organization was recertified as a Service Enterprise earlier this year and continues to build on its volunteer engagement priorities.
Brittany Schiavone is the founder and visionary-in-chief at Brittany’s Baskets of Hope, a 501(c)3 nonprofit. Her organization is on a mission to spread resources, hope and love to families who are expecting or have recently welcomed a baby with Down syndrome.
She does this by sending them welcome “baskets of hope” full of resources and celebratory gifts. Since delivering her first basket of hope in October 2016, she’s now sent over 1,800 baskets to families in all 50 states. Brittany has been featured in media from Forbes to Extra and The Mighty. In 2019, she was named the L’Oreal Paris National Woman of Worth Honoree.
Samantha Halbower is a 15-year-old living in Exeter, New Hampshire. Samantha began volunteering earlier this year. Almost immediately, she fell in love with the volunteer work she was doing. Volunteering at an organization called FORA, Samantha tutored displaced people from all over the world. Samantha helped these children develop important reading and math skills. Samantha absolutely loved getting to know each child and she hopes to continue to volunteer in the coming summers.
Hannah has volunteered at SaLT (Service and Learning Together) since her freshman year. She has worked regularly to support local families that are food insecure.
After the 4th of July Parade tragedy in Highland Park, Hannah recognized the heartbreak of the community she loved so much. She also realized an opportunity to take action locally to help heal the community by raising funds for the people that were so tragically affected.
Hannah worked all summer to help provide thousands of “Highland Park STRONG” t-shirts, yard signs, wristbands, and car magnets to those who wanted to show support for Highland Park. All the donations were given to support the victims and their families. Hannah’s commitment to this effort helped rebuild and inspire her community and helped to bring everyone together.
The Highland Park STRONG effort raised over $55,000 for the Highland Park Community Foundation. After a horrific tragedy, Hannah and her friends turned their love for serving their town into something more significant.
Saadhana Dara, a 7th grader, is part of a noble initiative to recycle batteries properly. She spent 300+ hours volunteering so far to make battery recycling the norm. She is leading Recycle My Battery administrative team to help grow the initiative to leaps and bounds. Saadhana reached out to U.S. Major Financial Corporates for bringing awareness and placed battery bins in their headquarters successfully. She has promoted individually about the initiative via blogs, vlogs, campaigns, radio shows, social media, skits, etc.
She has been awarded U.S. President’s Gold Medal for her voluntary service and the top-performing volunteer award for multiple months for her work. She is working on developing a kids’ mobile app to promote awareness with regard to recycling batteries. As a team, RMB grew from 10 to 250+ kids, placed 450+ bins, recycled 200k+ batteries, partnered with hundreds of schools and won 50+ recognitions. She truly believes in making the earth a better place to live!
Jubaier Hassan Munna has displayed multiple milestones in his journey as a social entrepreneur. He is the founder of Pet Adda, one of the pioneering pet activism platforms in Bangladesh. Jubaier organizes video awareness programs via various media platforms to reach out to thousands of pet owners, educating them about proper pet etiquette regularly, and he also helps them to recover their lost pets using advanced tracking technology.
In addition to animal activism, Jubaier also played a vital role in expanding the drone industry of Bangladesh, notably working with the Bangladesh Army to research and develop their drone programs, and with BRAC International to deliver emergency medical supplies during the pandemic. Jubaier contributes to work in different spheres of social impact and plans to launch the first wholly fictional drone delivery system in Bangladesh. Jubaier’s social service has landed him multiple awards and accolades, including winning the National ICT Award and gaining funding support from the ICT Division of Bangladesh.
As a passionate community leader, Sami has made a huge impact when it comes to educating communities about cyber grooming, cyber trafficking and cyber bullying. Over the years he has collaborated with various law enforcement agencies on creating programs, especially within African American, Hispanic, Asian, and South Asians Communities.
Being a digital strategist & a cyber security specialist, Sami has spent years turning technology against human traffickers, gaining him the nickname “Virtual Vigilante.”
Apart from that, you can find him mentoring youth in STEM, volunteering at a shelter, helping build schools and raising funds for children’s cancer charities and domestic abuse victims. Additionally, Sami serves as an advisory board member for various nonprofit organizations and educational institutions including San Jacinto College, Houston Community College, Houston Area Women’s Center and St. Jude Children’s Cancer Foundation.
Shantwanza has been volunteering with Beautiful Spirited Women for 10 years. Throughout her tenure, she has made a big impact in her community. Shantwanza is a 19-year nurse and with her busy schedule, she always finds time to give back whether it is virtual or in-person. Shantwanza grew up in middle class circumstances and had access to a lot of resources in her home town of Oxford, MS.
She has always wanted to make a difference in the lives of the underserved community and give to them the same resources she had growing up. She has a listening ear, a strong shoulder, a lot of time and access for that one young girl who really needs her. She is always available. Serving is her desire. Making a difference is her passion. Being a strong devoted leader is her mission.
Vasundhara is the founder of Inspire Dose, a youth organization that works at intersection of mental health and spirituality. She is an Ashoka Young Changemaker. She is mental health advocate who had been advocating for the cause of mental health by writing for magazines, blogs and newspapers, recording podcasts and videos. She has been awarded selfless service awards.
Her mental health deteriorated during the COVID-19 lockdowns and her anxiety grew so intense that she had to reach out to professionals for support after facing this she realized how millions of people are suffering and she decided to do something for the society in the field of mental health. She founded Inspire Dose. Initially they started with posting motivational posts on various social media platforms. Gradually she started conducting surveys, providing free self care resources and recently started free counseling and therapy sessions for people. Inspire Dose has community of 1.5K on Instagram, 200 subscribers on YouTube and around 100 people are benefited with free resources. Her work is featured on 20+ platforms and she has volunteered with four organizations. She is a perfect example of how one can turn their suffering into a blessing in disguise for the society and make an impact.
Ananya is 11-year-old volunteer at Recycle My Battery(RMB), a nonprofit organization. For the past three years, through her work at RMB, Ananya has been creating awareness on the ill-effects of inappropriate disposal of used batteries. Used batteries can cause fire hazards due to residual chemicals. They contaminate the soil, thus endangering living beings on planet earth.
Ananya had educated thousands of people through her battery drives at schools, local communities, after-school institutes, public events and online shows. She had also placed battery collection bins at various places and collected a large number of batteries for recycling. Ananya has collaborated with Call2Recycle team and contributed to their research work on proper recycling of batteries and helping the environment become a better place to live.
On Earth Day, Ananya collaborated with the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control and created awareness about recycling used batteries. Through her education programs, she is ensuring proper disposal of used batteries. As a director of RMB-Membership, Ananya is running multiple orientation programs, providing insights of proper recycling of batteries and encouraging new kids to join the campaign.
Fifteen-year-old Jashmitha Sappa is an environmentalist and has been volunteering for 2+ years. Jashmitha has been an executive member of the nonprofit organization Recycle My Battery for over two years. She has volunteered in the organization by educating and helping provide access to battery recycling to the public. She has used her own voice/platform to spread awareness about proper battery recycling (and other environmental issues) through different platforms, including in schools, communities and social media.
She’s held battery drives and placed multiple battery bins in many public areas such as schools, educational centers and communities, to facilitate recycling batteries for the public. With all her time and dedication to this cause, she has spread awareness to 4,000+ people and has recycled 1,000+ batteries. From her volunteer work, she’s received the Gold Presidential Volunteer Service Award (100+ volunteer hours). She was also selected by T-Mobile and Ashoka as one of the top 15 innovative changemaker teams out of hundreds and invited to the 2022 T-Mobile Changemaker lab at T-Mobile Headquarters. Overall she hopes that from her dedication to the cause people will learn and change to help the environment.
Ariel Shaw, MBA is an award-winning business savvy woman who is founder of multiple businesses and initiatives. Ariel is the founder of Southern Crescent Women In Business Inc., a member-based organization that seeks to provide foundational support for women-owned business throughout the Southern Crescent. Recommended to the National Women’s Business Council in D.C. by U.S. Congressman David Scott in 2018. Expanding their reach to young women, Shaw launched Young Women of Excellence and STEM Extension. Recognized for her community literacy work by the State of Georgia Proclamation, Ariel is also the founder of Real Leaders Read Initiative, which seeks to increase literacy among elementary aged children.
Ariel richly serves her community in various roles. She has received numerous awards, recognitions and features including but not limited to a Resolution from the U.S. Congress, Commendation from the Governor of Georgia, a Proclamation from the Georgia Senate, recognition as one of Atlanta’s Top 100 Women of Influence by the Atlanta Business League, a Proclamation from the Henry County Board of Commissioners and more.
Ariel lives in South Atlanta with her beautiful daughter and kidpreneur, Selah.
Reyansh Sappa is a 10-year-old and the vice president of a nonprofit organization, Recycle My Battery. In the organization, he educates people on why battery recycling is beneficial for the environment. He spreads awareness about battery recycling through different schools and communities. He has held battery drives in his community and placed many battery bins in different schools, educational centers and communities to provide easy access to recycling batteries for the public. He has spread awareness to 2,000+ people and has recycled 1,000+ batteries. He has earned the Gold Presidential Volunteer Service Award due to all of his volunteer work.
Lauren is a 23-year-old college student who has always had a heart for service and volunteering. Lauren has a rare genetic disorder called Arthrogryposis. This however, did not stop her from competing in Miss Alabama USA, where she was the first young lady to win Miss Congeniality in a wheelchair. Lauren instantly became a role model and mentor for young girls in wheelchairs because of this.
Throughout middle and high school, Lauren volunteered for many nonprofits through her church. Lauren mentored young girls in her youth group through a program called Adelphe. Her and her church volunteered for Samaritan’s Purse and Manna House, where they collected supplies for single moms and their children. Lauren also taught the 2-year-old Sunday school class along with her sister Hannah for two years. When COVID-19 hit, Lauren and Hannah created YouTube videos for the kids so that they could still have Sunday school. Those videos were shared all over the world. Lauren also writes a blog where she shares her experiences of life with a disability. These blog posts have inspired many people in some of their darkest days. Lauren continues to strive to find ways to bring joy and light to her community and beyond.
Tony Wang is passionate about educational access and founded the Alameda County Science and Engineering Fair Student Leadership Board (ACSEF SLB), a team of 50 students across 20 schools providing STEM opportunities to underserved groups. The SLB runs free virtual and in-person workshops, works with Title I schools to launch science programs, manages all social media accounts, matches mentors and mentees, provides monetary special awards and advises board meetings as an organized form of student voice.
Additionally, Tony serves as co-president of Rhapsody for Youth, a nonprofit that has donated $15,000 to support low-income Bay Area students, and he has founded Women’s Web Workshops and Finance For Females programs to support girls in traditionally unequal fields. Rhapsody for Youth has funded Aim High, Larkin Street Youth Services, SF Conservation Corps, the Alameda County Food Bank and the Airbnb Ukraine refugee program.
Tony has been awarded the Gold President’s Volunteer Service Award consecutively throughout high school, was honored as an Authority Magazine Young Social Impact Hero, was named a Future Leader of the Year Finalist and has presented his work at the 77th Annual UN General Assembly Week in New York City.
Utkarsh, a high school senior from Virginia, co-started the Disaster Awareness Group during the height of the COVID-19 lockdowns in August 2020. This 501(c)3 nonprofit focuses on raising aid and awareness for natural disasters around the globe using various forms of media, from interviews to articles.
Currently, 60 passionate student volunteers from around the country contribute to the vision Utkarsh and his partner had when starting the D.A.G, from writing articles to bridging partnerships. Before starting the D.A.G, Utkarsh had substantial experience in the nonprofit sector, occupying a management role in three established nonprofits and being an active volunteer in his high school community. However, with every news cycle being dominated by COVID-19 during the pandemic, he realized how many issues were subjected to a lack of attention, particularly natural disasters that require much service and monetary aid.
Keeping this in mind, he brought his close friends who were equally passionate about this cause to create the Disaster Awareness Group, using the power of student-led media to advance natural disasters that go uncovered by media conglomerates yet require substantial aid in order for the local communities impacted to recover.
Cecily has been a volunteer with Clay County Habitat for Humanity since 1994. The organization started as Penney Partners and then became an affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International. A social worker by profession, she encountered many families who struggled with inadequate, overcrowded or unsafe housing. Volunteering with Clay County Habitat allowed her the opportunity to assist families to participate in obtaining housing though sweat equity.
Cecily has had the privilege of watching the affiliate grow from an all-volunteer organization to one with seven full time employees and a Restore. She has served on the Family Selection Committee since 1994 and served on the Board of Directors twice. The sense of accomplishment and pride demonstrated by the families as they move into their homes is gratifying for her. Habitat is also a faith-based organization that builds not only homes but communities.
Cam’s grandpa couldn’t walk a step without gasping for air. He needed to get blood flow to his heart, and treatment involved open-heart valve surgery. Unfortunately, he was too frail to undergo the procedure, and at the time, there was no alternative to surgery.
As part of a high school science fair project in 2019, Cam learned that a new, non-surgical heart procedure called TAVR had been developed for patients like his grandpa. Cam also discovered something else — inequity in access to the procedure based on race in his hometown. He knew that scientific advancements are most impactful when they benefit all people, so he started “Equity Starts from the Heart,” which aims to broaden access to heart treatments and raise awareness of disparities in health treatments.
Cam created a coalition of community members, physicians, nurses, hospital leaders, pastors, politicians and educational institutions to work to close the gap in healthcare disparities for underrepresented communities in SC. He engaged with local churches, barber shops and community centers, holding patient and provider education sessions and conducting free heart health screenings. Cam’s efforts have spurred the community to join together and promote health equity!
Vivi volunteered over 100 hours at Forging Opportunities for Refugees in America (FORA) over the summer. FORA is an organization in Chicago that empowers displaced families by providing access to education. At FORA Vivi tutored kids in English and math. She loved seeing their progress and her favorite part was talking to and getting to know her students.
Emma, 14, a GenZ social entrepreneur, finds purpose and meaning in advocating for equitable and inclusive education. She believes equal access to education is a human right and critical for young people. However, in reality, many children have minimal access to quality education due to geographical limitations, lack of teachers/resources, unaffordable costs and more… the list of challenges is endless.
In June 2020, she co-founded UstartTeaching (UST), an online platform connecting dedicated youth teachers with underserved students globally, offering diverse academic and extracurricular classes at no cost. In addition to applying what she learned from the Youth Entrepreneurship Class, she utilized her talents in the arts to promote UST’s mission and services by designing most UST classes, events’ flyers, and promotional videos. Her collaborations and leadership led to UST rapidly expanding from 8 to 40 teachers, offering thousands of hours of free classes in 9 subjects to hundreds of students across seven countries. Considering in-person classes may be more beneficial to younger learners, Emma and her sister are in the process of launching the first chapter of MIT Spokes in their school and hopefully nationally in all schools!
on has been volunteering for approximately 50 years in an array of nonprofit and civic organizations. Time spent with individual organizations rolls varied by terms allowed by the bylaws of each. Some terms were as short as four years and others had no time limits at all.
Examples of volunteer service are: Salvation Army Board (25 Yrs.), Arkansas Arthritis Foundation Board (20 Yrs), National Arthritis Foundation Board (8 yrs), Trinity United Methodist Church – 3 Yr. Old Sunday School teacher (25 Yrs.), Arkansas Museum of Science & History Board (6 Yrs) and Arkansas Repertory Theatre Board (6 Yrs.), Little Rock School District Volunteer (3 Yrs.) and Our House Homeless Shelter AmeriCorps Volunteer (4 Yrs.)
Considering the organizations previously shown, and others served during his adult years, Don has accomplished in excess of 100 years of volunteer service to date. This is not a job or obsession, it’s the right thing to do for others!
Helen has been volunteering with Forging Opportunities for Refugees in America (“FORA”) for the past two summers as a FORA Fellow and special assistant to the managing director.
Based in Chicago, FORA aims to provide displaced children and their parents with the tools to succeed in school and the workplace and to actively engage in American civic life. By providing free, daily one-on-one tutoring for their clients, FORA has been able to implement more than 35,000 hours a year of high dosage tutoring for recently arrived Rohingya and Afghan displaced people.
Out of hundreds of tutors, 17-year-old Helen is in the top four percent of FORA tutors regarding effectiveness. She has tutored anyone from previously pre-literate children to students in high school math to the older children. Helen also works on the administrative side of FORA, including in IT help, lesson planning and grant research.
In addition to her work with FORA, Helen enjoys volunteering at food pantries at home in Maryland and near where her mother grew up in Rhode Island. She attributes a large part of her work ethic and ability to work with people from various backgrounds to her time at Shepherd’s Kitchen (MD), East Bay Food Pantry (RI) and the MLK Center (RI).
Jerry is a licensed mental health and addiction counselor. He goes beyond work to include promotion of access to care, health, wellness and resources for the community. Jerry currently serves on the NC Commission for Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, & Substance Abuse Services and therefore serves all 100 North Carolina counties.
Jerry hosts community forums for people to be heard and to ask questions on how to speak with loved ones living with mental health and addiction. Jerry has worked with harm reduction efforts and homelessness for a decade. He provides mentorship for up-and-coming helpers and embodies what selflessness and care for others looks like.
Reena gives voice to the voiceless as a servant leader.
She leads the Los Angeles Regional Initiative for Social Enterprise at REDF, a venture philanthropy organization. Reena specializes in social impact work and chose a career path that is purpose-driven. She champions partnership building, community relations, and socially conscious campaigns and events.
Besides her commitment to community service through her work, she loves to give back. Her volunteer experience ranges from initiating the Youth Ending Hunger club at her high school to producing the inaugural benefit production of The Vagina Monologues in college raising thousands of dollars for organizations ending violence against women and girls or being a mentor to a foster youth to launching a corporate volunteer program for a previous employer. She’s also a member of the leadership council of Downtown Women’s Center where she donates monthly.
She votes with her actions, like her purchase power, and opts for a vegan lifestyle for the environment and animals. Reena prefers to support businesses that are socially responsible.
Lastly, inspired by her son, she created a cerebral palsy resource platform called Inclusive Sol, to save people time and money by providing useful information to parents/caregivers.
Reena brings people together and leverages the strength of communities.
As a volunteer at Mount Sinai Morningside, Alison has maintained a high standard of care. In her time in the emergency room and inpatient units, she has deescalated stressed patient situations, supported amazing nurses and spent extra time with elderly patients to reduce their risk of delirium.
In addition, Alison has used her language skills to connect with Russian-speaking elderly patients who had previously struggled to communicate. For Alison, the language barrier in healthcare is an important current issue, which she hopes to reduce by learning Spanish.
One memorable moment for her was the loss of an elderly Russian-speaking patient. This patient seemed to be under constant stress because they could not communicate effectively with the medical staff, due to the language barrier. Alison made sure to use calming words in Russian and converse with the patient to make them more comfortable. As the patient’s health declined, Alison still made sure to speak to her in her native language, so they knew someone was there for them. After their passing, Alison hoped that those small moments together made them feel safe and cared for during their final time. She believes language is more than just communicating; it’s comfort and care.
Hannah has always had a heart for people around her. Because her dad has cancer and her twin sister has a disability, she has seemed to take many roles such as caregiver, mentor, tutor and friend as second nature.
Hannah is currently working as an ICU nurse at a local Huntsville hospital. She was going through nursing school during the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic, but she chose to work in a COVID ICU unit throughout pandemic. She was also a tutor while in nursing school and for her final year, she was an academic coach as well.
Hannah continued to make time for her local church during this time, where she and twin sister Lauren taught the two-year-old Sunday school class. When the pandemic hit, they created YouTube videos for their class so that their kids could still get Sunday school. The videos ended up being shared all over the world reaching many kids. Hannah mentored the younger girls through the Adelphe program at her church and participated in multiple volunteering ministries such as Manna House and Samaritan’s Purse. In the ICU, Hannah knows that she might be the only smile her patients will see that day, so she tries to always be a light.
Fifteen-year-old Ashley has dedicated herself to making a difference in her community through her 501(c)3 organization, Sargeant’s Army. She started Sargeant’s Army to honor her cat, Sargeant, who died of cancer. She started by donating hand-sewn cat toys to local animal shelters. In 2020 she started sewing and donating masks to essential workers.
After donating masks to an outreach event for unhoused individuals, she decided that she wanted to do more. She now creates and donates “Hope Bags” filled with hygiene items, socks and a kindness card to outreach programs throughout the state of Arizona. To date she has raised over $68,000 and donated over 26,000 Hope Bags to organizations across the nation. Knowing how few volunteer events there are for younger children, she also hosts packing parties for the Hope Bags to provide volunteer opportunities for them.
Another way Ashley contributes her time and talents is by writing and illustrating children’s books on pressing social issues. She has published four books, with a fifth on its way, and all proceeds of the books are donated 100% to Sargeant’s Army. Each book sold equals a Hope Bag going to someone who needs it.
Nam Nguyen was born and raised in a rural town in southern Vietnam before moving to the U.S. at 16. As a first-generation, low-income college student, Nam encountered many challenges on his path to pursuing success, including experiencing homelessness, bullying, and discrimination.
While attending Washington State University, he helped create a handheld device to help others meditate. He’s also volunteering with Crisis Text Line, where he’s helped hundreds of people navigate through their crises. He’s the first student in WSU’s 127-year history to study abroad on all seven continents and created the first-ever study abroad program for LGBTQ+ students.
Besides this, he has served the U.S. Department of State, NASA and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence through the VSFS federal service program. In 2022, he was named one of 20 young people in the U.S. to receive the prestigious Diana Award. He also received the President’s Volunteer Service Award from three consecutive U.S. Presidents: Barack Obama, Donald Trump and Joe Biden, and the Community Champion Award bestowed by the Starbucks CEO and president. Currently, he’s working at the global energy company BP while pursuing his master’s degree at Johns Hopkins University.
Amber founded Kerengende Foundation in response to the sexual abuse of her daughter. When she began to navigate the reality of seeking treatment for her trauma, she was dismayed to find a lack of understanding by well-meaning people and institutions. She struggled to find adequate and compassionate resources to support the family.
Amber is taking action to ensure that other families have a better experience because she believes that no family should have to struggle alone while dealing with the aftermath and shock of such trauma. She’s determined to help bridge the existing resource gaps in society, so that families can get the help they need without feeling isolated.
The Kerengende Foundation supports sexual abuse and human trafficking victims and their families with culturally-responsive services. They work to decrease the number of teens impacted by sexual trauma and to create safe spaces for families to learn how to recover from and prevent abuse.
Their long term vision is to make their youth and familial support system so strong that there will be a noticeable decrease in sexual offenses as teens stay aware of their own safety and that of their peers.
When their grandmother received a letter from a friend in April 2020, sisters Shreya and Saffron were inspired to start Letters Against Isolation. Together, they have worked to fight senior isolation through letter writing. The over 30,000 volunteers they have recruited have sent almost 500,000 letters and cards to seniors all over the world!
John’s family started raising puppies for Leader Dogs for the Blind in 1987 as a 4-H project. Every puppy comes with a one-year commitment to raise the puppy to become a dog with good obedience, good manners and no fears. John has raised 34 puppies for the school and also hosted three Leader Dog moms. The moms live with John and his family, and Leader Dog breeds them while they whelp the litter. The litter then lives with the family for about seven weeks before being returned to Leader Dog where they get a complete physical before being issued to puppy raisers.
Around 1998, Leader Dog selected some raisers to become “program counselors” to help other raisers. John meets with raisers every month to see how their puppy is doing, answer questions and offer advice. The goal is to help other raisers raise the best puppy possible, have fun doing it and continually improve their skills. John’s family attends an annual training to hone their skills and learn new ones to share with the raisers in their group.
The family dynamics have changed over the years as John’s children have moved on and his wife has passed away. He continues to raise puppies and is still a counselor, helping other raisers be successful and grow. Leader Dog is a fantastic organization and has always been very supportive.
Josh began his 4-H path to change how people view kindness in the world by getting involved in his community. For the last eight years, Josh has devoted his birthday month in January by hosting an Annual 4-H Book & Stuffed Animal Drive. Josh’s literacy campaign is close to his heart because of so many children not having the ability to read. He has collected over 20,000 books and stuffed animals, and given them to different nonprofits each year.
He added the stuffed animals to give to EMTs/Police/Fire for emergency trauma situations to help calm a child in need six years ago. This past year he developed the K9 crew, which consists of a K9 leader at each school level to organize, collect and deliver them to his house. Josh has spoken to over 150 organizations about civic engagement and community service in each of the communities he lives in.
Educational literacy is something that is more important now because of the COVID-19 years and encourages teachers to let students keep books. Throughout the last eight years he has collected, delivered and donated over 15,000 books and 5,000 stuffed animals to several nonprofit organizations. Last year they gave enough books to the Denison Boys & Girls Club to start a whole library.
Jerrod L. Crockett is the VP/Chief of International Security for the United Forces International Organization, a nonprofit friendship organization for members of the police forces, military, security services and support organizations around the world.
Over the past 20 years, Jerrod has served as a Federal Law Enforcement Officer (retired juvenile crimes detective). Prior to that, he served with the U.S. Army military police for 11 years.
Jerrod is affiliated with many International Law Enforcement organizations and throughout his career has received many honors for his dedication and service to the communities.
Most recent awards received include: LogRythm Pinnacle Award-Security Leader of the Year for 2021, Continental Who’s Who Professional Leadership Recognition, Strathmore Who’s Who Lifetime Achievement Award, LMA Achievement Award, French Cross of Honor, French National Police Service Award and the Santos Angeles Custodios Association Award.
Ten year old Saanvi Boddu has been volunteering for Recycle My Battery for the past year, contributing to the great cause in saving and protecting the planet. Recycle My Battery is a nonprofit organization involved in collecting and recycling the used batteries. She has spread a lot of awareness in the county by placing the battery bins at schools and libraries and also educating many about the importance of recycling batteries. If these batteries are improperly discarded or thrown in the trash, they can leak toxic chemicals into the soil and contaminate groundwater. Lake Hiawatha Elementary school principal recognized her efforts and introduced Recycle My Battery in the school K-Kids club. Recycle My Battery and Saanvi’s efforts in this great cause are really appreciated.
In November 2018, Cassie Tammy Wang, an award-winning student artist, brought her 49 friends together to found the 44th branch, Greater Princeton, NJ for the Alliance of Youth Leaders in the United States (AYLUS).
Cassie created SAVE A LIFE program and many members joined Cassie for her initiative. Since then, the Greater Princeton Branch of AYLUS (GPA) has hosted over 130 SAVE A LIFE events to better serve our community.
In fewer than four years, GPA has grown into a powerful team with ~700 student members registered in Greater Princeton area plus many townships in New Jersey.
In September 2021, to recognize the extraordinary service provided, the New Jersey Governor Murphy officially honored Cassie with Jefferson Award, the Nobel Prize for Public Service. Established in 1972 by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Jefferson Award recognizes people who make a difference daily in their local communities—unsung heroes who do extraordinary things without expectation of recognition or award.
The New Jersey State Senate & General Assembly has also recognized Cassie and her GPA branch with awards for “Outstanding Record of Volunteerism, Commitment, and Leadership” and for “Dedication & Abiding Concern for Others” (2018-2022).
LaxmiPrasad Konduri started researching and learning about the hazardous effects we have on the environment because of throwing batteries in the trash, which end up in landfills. As part of this curiosity, he became a member and chair of the administration team of the nonprofit organization Recycle My Battery and has been volunteering to bring awareness about the importance of proper recycling of batteries for the past few years.
He has given awareness sessions at different schools and community events and has held many battery drives to collect used batteries. So far he has given awareness sessions to 5000+ people by creatively utilizing different opportunities in various events of Telugu Association of Greater Chicago, his school events and various other community places. He has collected 2000+ batteries and recycled them as part of different drives he conducted. He has also participated in Kids Climate Summit 2022 organized by Chicago Gifted Community Center and published an article about Climate change and how the Recycle My Battery campaign is spreading awareness to save the earth.
He truly believes that spreading awareness to more and more people will make them think on how to make the earth a better place to live and pledges to save the earth.
Isha loves to read with her mom. One of her mom’s books, “An Inconvenient Truth” by Al Gore, caught her attention. While it’s a complex book, she relied on her mom to synthesize. Later, Isha was introduced to now 13-year-old Sri Nihal Tammana, founder of a nonprofit organization Recycle My Battery. At the age of 7, she joined Recycle My Battery as the youngest member.
Isha hosted various awareness events and her favorite ice breaker question is, “What do you do with your used batteries?” To her surprise, many put them in trash or regular recycle bins. Through these conversations, Isha understood that access to a battery recycle bin would allow the community to do the right thing. To take an action, Isha formed a partnership with West Windsor Arts Council and placed a battery recycle bin sponsored by Call 2 Recycle. Isha so far has collected ~600 batteries & shipped two bins to the battery recycling facility. Isha continues to explore various ways to make an impact on protecting mother earth.
Making an impact has always been on teen innovator and entrepreneur Hassaana’s mind. She dabbled with the question of how to do this for a while and found the answer lay in her passion – technology.
A self-taught innovator, Hassaana understood the power of knowledge and was keen to spread it to thousands of youngsters, first through her YouTube channel and then through her startup, Tech United.
“Most teenagers wait until college to either do coding or innovating because it’s the norm. We are breaking that stereotype by telling youngsters that they can learn early if they want to do so.”
Founded in 2021, the startup has already spread its wings among teenagers who are keen to learn. “I learned everything online, without spending a single penny. And now she is making that possible for others by providing them a platform to learn and engage with,” says the Class 9 student whose innovation has been written about in British technology magazines.
Her first tryst with robotics began at 10 when she was introduced to programming in school. “It opened up a new world for me and I immediately gravitated towards it,” she says.
Technology is the future and Hassaana wants more students to get a hang of it early in their life.
Dhruv loves the field of medicine and has wanted to be in this field for his whole life. After winning the International Medical Bee in 2019, COVID-19 hit large, and the need for people in the field of medicine was apparent. Dhruv set out to change this, he started a nonprofit organization called The Scholarly Program, dedicated to providing support to upcoming youth professionals hoping to change the world by equipping them with tools for success. Helping students of color, students on the autism spectrum and students of disabilities reach their potential.
The Scholarly Program has gotten support from numerous international organizations pledging to support his cause. His program is in the works of recruiting more volunteers and starting chapters in India, the United Kingdom and other parts of the United States.
Dhruv’s work has helped build essential healthcare facilities in India and through his work he was able to write a children’s book related to STEM and distribute to schools, sending these books for free around the world.
In under four years, the organization has rapidly grown. His campaign has reached over 750,000 people, has supported 50 student volunteers and is run by a student board. Their motto is “making the community a better place — one student at a time.”
Amanda has been a volunteer with The Robinson Community Learning Center since 2019 where she has served as a preschool teacher. The classroom serves immigrants and displaced people in the South Bend area as well as the wider South Bend community. Ten different countries and 12 different languages are represented within the preschool. Amanda provides developmental-appropriate activities to prepare the children for Kindergarten. Many activities are offered to engage the families of the students in the classroom and expose the children to American culture as well as learning each others cultures.
Claire Brulatour is the program management coordinator for the BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Community Trust and Health Foundation where she executes community relations efforts through charitable giving and volunteer initiatives in West Tennessee. Claire oversees a diverse portfolio of sponsorships that relate to the company’s overall mission: to provide peace of mind through better health.
Claire serves on the boards of Latino Memphis, the parks advocacy group, Bloom, the associate board of Make-A-Wish of Memphis and the Benjamin Hooks Institute for Social Change. Claire is an active volunteer with many local nonprofits and has served as a Big Sister for Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Mid-South since 2015. Claire was recognized as one of the 2018 Young Memphians by the Greater Memphis Chamber of Commerce and by Leadership Memphis as a nominee for Millennial Volunteer of the Year.
Claire is a graduate of Christian Brothers University, receiving her Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and French Language and attended George Mason University where she received her Master of Arts in English Literature. Claire currently serves as an adjunct professor in English Literature at Christian Brothers University.
Keith Carson is a retired police officer, having served for 25 years. His service to others began as a young boy after watching his parents do so much charitable work. He volunteered time and helped raise money for many worthwhile charities.
Just out of high school, he organized his first fundraising event for the families of three friends who died in a horrific car crash. He started the Believe in Santa Foundation nine years ago. The organization assists underserved children all year round. This includes children living in poverty, crime victims, disaster survivors, hospitalized, terminally ill or the child of a service member. Each child gets a visit from Santa Claus bearing gifts, spending quality time with each child, posing for photos, reading stories, etc. Most of these children have never met or even seen Santa in person.
The charity helps more than 6,000 children each year, and they’re currently on the road assisting Hurricane Ian survivors in the hardest-hit parts of Florida. There are no paid employees in the organization. The slogan of the nonprofit is Claus for a Cause. It truly is a calling for Keith, and something he believes he was put on this earth to do.
Katrina Aborisade, despite her humble beginnings gives unconditionally. She’s mentored teen girls globally for over a decade. Her goal was to create a global community supporting young teens across the country by increasing access to academic and professional mentorship and resources. Annually she sponsors high school seniors for prom with a full makeover. Katrina also volunteers countless hours speaking with women, helping them become empowered to secure their next level. She’s received global recognition for her selfless efforts and has launched a mentorship program benefiting young women.
Nina Bachrach is the CEO of Bergen Volunteers, a nonprofit organization that provides human service and training programs that improve lives and strengthen communities. Nina believes in utilizing her civic-minded expertise to help enact positive change.
For decades, she has served on myriad boards of trustees and advisory boards and committees for education, youth, seniors, the arts, environment, human services and small businesses. Nina uses her skills to be a social-emotional lifeline for those facing challenges. She pays attention to individual and family’s struggles, and takes corresponding measures to support them. She gives people action tools to become their own self-advocates and change agents.
Nina also uses her leadership and experience as a means for human development and social cohesion, and reducing barriers to enable success. When Nina sees a need, she expands her own abilities and efforts in order to lead by example or to pitch in. She is always there, proactively seeking to help a cause. Nina’s collaborative nature and ability to bring in others are critical in a “me” world and the uncertain times in which we live.
Karen’s record of volunteer service to others increased dramatically with her diagnosis of breast cancer, and her undergoing a double mastectomy in October 2017. Wanting to “pay it forward”, Karen began informally feeding underserved people in her community. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, she personally cooked over 1,800 meals in her kitchen. She then began distributing boxes of assorted food items, serving greater and greater numbers of people.
In October 2020, Karen formed the nonprofit The Food Brigade Inc. At the peak of the pandemic, Karen’s nonprofit was distributing 35-40 tons of food weekly, and was responsible for helping to feed over 6,000 people every week in northern New Jersey. To date, The Food Brigade has distributed over 4 million pounds of food, 62,000 gallons of milk, 16,000 hot meals and $25,000 in supermarket gift cards to people dealing with hunger and food insecurity.
Not content to stop there, Karen has now launched programs for the distribution of diapers and feminine products. Karen has gone through a total of six related surgeries, including breast reconstruction, over the past five years. Yet despite the personal challenges she has faced, she has been unstoppable in her work to feed local residents in need.
David E. McCracken started the VET SMILES project in 2018 to provide financial support, education and advocacy for low income veterans in North Carolina seeking to improve their oral health. More than 55,000 veterans in NC are in the low-income category and only a small percentage (8%) of veterans qualify for dental care from the Veterans Administration.
David collaborated with East Carolina University school of Dental Medicine to promote annual ‘ECU Smiles for Veterans’ events where only veterans are cared for in their dental clinics spread across the state. In 2020, Veteran Smiles Foundation (VSF) was started to expand the effort state-wide. Thus far, 252 veterans have received over $ 244,000 worth of dental procedures. Most importantly, 100% of all donations go directly to dental care for low income veterans (all administration costs are donate by foundation staff). VET SMILES now covers 30% of the state and will expand more in 2023.
Nithya Tammana started observing her brother Nihal, who is the founder of Recycle My Battery, at the age of 5. She closely saw Nihal spreading awareness about battery recycling and the impact he created on the people.
She got inspired by him and learned about the ill effects of throwing used batteries in the trash. For the past three years, she spent hundreds of voluntary hours and participated in many battery drives and educational campaigns organized by her brother. She is very vocal and always encourage people to recycle their used batteries. She helped collect thousands of batteries and educated thousands of people. She also started thinking “How about having a battery that doesn’t have chemicals?” and started thinking about an eco-friendly battery that will not have any chemicals and presented it in her school science fair.
She always tells people, “love earth as you would love your mother!”
Ruby Weiner, a 12-year-old resident of Ridgefield, CT, and Juliette Girl Scout has created “Food Gardens for Good,” a community service project that addresses the issue of childhood hunger.
Last year, Ruby developed and gifted 6 Little Free Food Pantries to Ridgefield. This year, with the support of a generous grant, Weiner decided the community service need was in Norwalk, CT, at Family & Children’s Agency (FCA). Every year, FCA rents 3 garden plots at Fodor Farms for 3 of their programs. However, the people meant to benefit from these plots don’t necessarily have the funds available to develop them.
Weiner used her grant for gardening supplies, tools and seeds for all 3 plots, and joined a team to teach gardening skills. Weiner states, “I feel I can make most impact by encouraging children and their families to garden, offering them the tools and supplies they may not be able to purchase on their own, growing specific vegetables and herbs needed by cultural groups, and ultimately creating a gardening community where children and families can meet, socialize and support each another. Gardening skills empower people to grow their own nutritious food and eat healthier—while enjoying time together, outdoors in the sun.”
Lauren understands that time doesn’t change things. People do.
When the world was stunned by COVID-19, Lauren joined forces with a friend to raise money for food banks. She started Cul-de-sac Concerts, a live weekly concert series performed from a different cul-de-sac each week. The series has attracted more than 30,000 viewers, presented over 100 musicians and raised over $25,000 for local food banks, helping feed people one cul-de-sac at a time.
When the United Methodist Church ended their charter relationship with Scouts BSA, many scout troops were facing dissolution. Lauren started GLDN Inc. to charter scout units and let scouts get back to scouting, enabling hundreds of scouts to grow their leadership skills.
When Lauren entered high school, she saw an opportunity to help address the remarkable inequality around the world. She started SERV, a group that leads delegations of volunteers to impoverished communities. By improving the lives of the underserved, SERV is changing the lives of Lauren and her fellow volunteers.
Before even entering high school, Lauren volunteered over 1,500 hours in her community and is a four-time recipient of the President’s Volunteer Service Award for exceptional commitment to volunteering.
Vinnie earned his title of U.S. Marine at Parris Island on August 18, 1982.
After graduating from the Communication Center Operator’s School at 29 Palms, CA, he was next stationed on Okinawa with 3rd Recon Battalion where he was trained in basic reconnaissance, a field radio operator and a wireman. They were deployed to the Philippines & Guam serving aboard the USS Fresno.
Upon returning to the U.S., he was stationed at 8th Communications Battalion at Camp Lejeune, N.C. where he attended BN NCO School, NBC Decontamination School and Satellite School during which time he served upon the USS Iwo Jima and was attached to 2nd Radio Battalion as a Satellite Operator for two deployments to Germany.
Vinnie was honorably discharged on May 5, 1986, relocated to Minnesota in 1990 and joined the league on the USMC Birthday in 2007.
Vinnie has had the honor of holding nearly every leadership position (Detachment, Department & Devil Dogs) using the skills he learned on active duty. He had hoped on making the Corps a career, but unfortunately it didn’t turn out that way. The league and all that he has accomplished and has been exposed and to continue to do has taken away all that anxiety. He’s never been more proud to be serving as a Marine veteran!
Rasleen Kaur, a eighth grade student of Oxford School, Halifax, has founded CWG that aims to make a better world. Six years back, she started to motivate people through some short skits. Gradually, she asked the youth to come in her group. Her group has designated coordinators which helps them in developing leadership. She has also called senior citizens to come in as she wants them to be happy and active. She has done many workshops, helped uneducated people learn.
She donated clothes and food to underserved people and helped them enable their talents. She organized many events in her societies and neighboring places to bring joy on everyone’s face. She has also launched a short movie on “Rights and duties go hand in hand” to inspire people. She has created a unique model of a healthy society — Sun Lake Side Society — which aims to protect environment and create a sustainable world. With her initiatives, she has received some achievements which make her go on with her services and create a peaceful and happy world for everyone.
Mark Jacinto has been deemed as a weaver of connections because of his belief that everyone is interconnected and interrelated, and his passion to connect everyone, particularly the youth. It is highly shown in his leadership as the curator of the Online SDG Youth Action Forum, an online youth community with 27,000+ members aiming to bridge young leaders and youth organizations towards helping them to effectively contribute for the SDGs.
Mark is also involved as the club information and communication officer of Rotary Club of Midtown Quezon City, wherein he supervised over 100+ projects on environment, education, empowerment and economy, and benefitted 35,000+ individuals and 1,500+ families from its efforts. His desire to weave and connect young leaders and youth organizations with each other has led him to be recognized both in the local, regional, national and international awards. Mark was also featured and invited in various local, regional and international events such as the UN, ASEAN, APEC and other platforms.
Damien has been in the social service field for 14 years since returning from incarceration in 2008. His professional development can be contributed to 13 years of guidance by his now executive director of Breakthrough Ministries. Through his lived experience, ability to apply what he has learned from to the field and networking skills, he has grown the Violence Prevention department from two case managers and five outreach workers in 2017 to three case managers, two associate directors, 15 outreach workers, four victim advocates, a data specialist, an event coordinator and 48 peacekeepers.
He leads a Violence Prevention team that works year-round to increase hope in the community through prevention, intervention and restoration. His role as the chief program officer for Violence Prevention is to create opportunities through programming for residents who are most at-risk of violence to pursue a safe, stable and engaged East Garfield Park. His belief is in alignment with Breakthrough’s mission to reduce violence and its impact so children, families and individuals in East Garfield Park are safe, healthy and free to reach their full potential.
Leadership and service has played an especially direct role in Madalyn’s life and is something she feels great connection to. During each day of elementary school, she went to an after school care program provided by her school, since her parents were in the military and often worked lengthy hours. Madalyn did not always care to be at after school care, but the counselors who worked there incorporated different, engaging activities, and made it worthwhile and fun for her and other students there.
As Madalyn grew older and started activities like babysitting and volunteering, she realized she wanted to be like those after school counselors. By taking that same approach towards the kids she worked with, she was motivated to make a similar positive impact in the ways in which she served. In her church’s Religious Education program, she has co-led a Religious Education class for second grade students and eighth grade students. In this role, she’s led group discussions, read passages aloud to the class and administered activities, as well as engaged in one-on-one student help. She made it a point to become familiar with the students’ interests so they could engage in activities that they would really enjoy, but also learn the curriculum along the way.
Barbara began volunteering at DialSelf in 2011. Her position was to be that of director of the ACT Volunteer Center. This position included building a website where agencies may post their need(s) for volunteers and for volunteers to view agencies’ needs; to write two newsletters each month – one for agencies and one for volunteers who had registered on the ACT website; and to hold meetings for the Volunteer Coordinators’ Network.
This group met quarterly until the COVID crisis forced the shut down of the meetings. When she had to work from home, which is not in Greenfield, but rather in Leominster, an hour’s drive away, she wanted to find a way to assist the agencies. She is continuing to write the newsletters each month, but additionally, used the ACT Facebook page as a means of promoting the agencies. She does this by posting their needs and their events. She started volunteering at DS when David Voegele, former ED of Multi-Service Center of Leominster (under whom I was a volunteer and later became ED) became ED of DialSelf. He is now ED Of QYD -Quality Youth Development, and Barbara currently volunteers for this agency as well.
Education is a vital element of success. Vedanti has held this belief deep in her heart, and that’s why she’s been volunteering for Forging Opportunities for Refugees in America as a tutor. There is a need for English skills in America, and Vedanti made it her goal to help Rohingyan refugees transition into the American school system through English instruction. In addition, she teaches math to these students to open academic doors. At first, she was tutoring second and third graders over Zoom calls in the pandemic. As cases lessened, Vedanti went in-person and continued to work with this age group. After the transition to in-person, Vedanti added seventh graders to her class list.
In addition to the work she does at FORA, Vedanti also started her own math club five years ago. She noticed that in the local math team, there were mostly men in the main team, and she decided that it would be a good idea to encourage women to join competitive math so that they could improve and have a chance to compete alongside the others. One of the goals of this was to encourage women to go into STEM fields and clubs by creating an inclusive and safe environment where people of all types can gather to study math cooperatively.
Lee’s two passions are art and education. She volunteers at A Gift for Teaching to serve the education community. A Gift for Teaching serves teachers by providing free school supplies for their students and their classroom. She has volunteered with A Gift for Teaching for over 10 years.
Lee began by collecting school supplies at her workplace. Upon retirement, she started volunteering at the AGFT free teacher store. She loves meeting the teachers and making it easy for them to provide supplies for students and to have extras for their classroom. For the arts passion, she also volunteers at the Orlando Museum of Art as a docent, leading families and school groups on tours through the museum. That enables her to teach and connect with her community. Lee loves the art and enjoys the teaching opportunity.
Calvin Huang is a community change maker from University High School. He has been volunteering for the United Abacus Arithmetic Association since 2015, teaching kids mental arithmetic. He also served as a troop guide in his Boy Scout’s troop, where he became an eagle scout. Through his volunteer work with multiple organizations, Calvin has earned the gold presidential award twice and recognition from California state senators.
To expand opportunities and resources to the underserved, Calvin founded nonprofit organization Startline in 2021, where he reached more than 200 kids through free workshops and online classes, while also creating and posting over 130 free educational videos online.
Calvin is also a passionate social entrepreneur. He has developed three creative mobile apps dedicated to helping the communities, including Startline Tutor, a resource for students to learn through online videos and a free online tutoring system, Startline iCare, a mobile app that allows the homeless to locate resources nearby and delivers weather information and alerts to them on a quick basis, and Deep Learning Made Easy, an educational app that makes AI learning accessible to underserved students with no coding experience.
Ryan Cook, founder of The Hope Corner, is a leading voice in mental health advocacy.
Founded in 2017, The Hope Corner is made up of volunteers whose mission is to discuss the importance of mental health. By utilizing practices such as education, professional resources, peer support and group discussion, he’s helped thousands of individuals across the country. Current initiatives are to decrease the stigma associated with mental illness, uniting communities, public and private sectors and fellow advocates in furthering the treatment and talk related to the disease.
Having dealt with mental illness himself since 2002, he speaks on his experiences with medical professionals, panic attacks, depression and thoughts of suicide.
His efforts have not gone unnoticed, receiving recognition from the New York Giants, Irish Echo world publication, elected officials and in 2018 as a Daily Point of Light recipient.
“Our society often becomes separated, but it’s only when we unite can we become strong. We may stumble; we may fall; but inside each of us is hope. Hope is the light that shines through the darkness. It is our responsibility to make the world more beautiful; not for us, but for others. Together we can accomplish great wonders.”
Ronith Girish is a student at Urbana Middle School and an up-and-coming leader in his community. Over the past few years, Ronith has worked extensively with the nonprofit organization The Scholarly Program, founded in 2019 by his brother during the COVID-19 pandemic. With his love for technology and computer science, he supported new initiatives by helping to start a community FIRST LEGO LEAUGE team competing at state-level competitions, teaching students about the engineering design process and sharing his love for his passions.
Through the program, he also helped start a new community initiative called “TSP Community Garden” which helps create a sustainable community garden that brings together like-minded individuals to grow organic vegetables (donated to local food banks). Teaching students about recycling and composting efforts supports the growth of native plants to support their local pollinators. During the year, his efforts helped to donate 50+ pounds of vegetables, reached out to 2,000+ students nationwide about this initiative and bolstered support from local and international nonprofits and businesses. Through his efforts, he has made his community a better place to live.
Miss Moli Caroline E. is an indigene of Limbe II and has lived there for many years. She is the Youth President for Fako (CNYC) and has been serving Green and Better World, a non-governmental organization, as a volunteer coordinator.
She can be seen always smiling as she sacrifices her time and patience to serve humanity in many activities such as the distribution of Aquatabs to purify water during the outbreak of Cholera, planting trees along the roads as a contributing factor to fight against climate change, distributing washable face masks and alcohol-based hand sanitizers during the COVID-19 pandemic, donating back to school items to underserved IDP pupils through her social group, cleaning of the beaches on World Environment day, volunteering as an accomodation attendant in the CHAN 2021 Football competition in Limbe II, and more.
Presently, she is serving her community as the chairperson of the Community Development Project for road maintenance and representative in Women in Democracy forum. She seems so overwhelmed with her nomination and did not even realize her kind gestures were being noticed. She has been the community mediator for over seven years and thus gained the title “Aunty Etalos” as she treats all equally.
Cindy Serrano Roberts is a native New Yorker, combat veteran, policy analyst and advocate. She is the founder of the Global Freedom Group, a 501c3 that seeks to empower women and girls everywhere. She spent the greater portion of her military career conducting barrier analysis on organizational processes, programs and cultural norms that impede underrepresented talent pools from accessing equitable opportunities in the Department of the Air Force.
She played a lead role in standing up the Service’s first-ever Diversity and Inclusion Office (Pentagon, D.C.) and initial policies instituted for 656,000 personnel. Cindy is an elected council member of the United Nations Association (UNA) USA providing direct support and leadership to 20 chapters across Hawaii, Nevada, and Northern California. In her role as a UNA-USA National Council member, she oversees decision-making policies for a network of 20,000 Americans dedicated to supporting the vital work of the United Nations. Cindy currently serves as a key advisor to the UNA-USA Diversity, Equity, Accessibility and Inclusivity (DEAI) Task Force, which ensures the highest levels of DEAI are met in UNA-USA programs, membership and chapters.
Purvi runs a nonprofit in the eastern state of West Bengal in India. Her enterprise empowers young girls and women in the most vulnerable areas of India to realize their rights and entitlements. Her organization works to reduce period poverty and empower young people and women regarding menstrual health and sexual reproductive health.
Purvi’s organization has enabled more than 25,000 menstruators to bleed with dignity through her sustainable brand, Anahat Unnati. Under this brand she empowers women to sell handmade and economical reusable menstrual care products. Her organization raises funds to provide safe menstrual care products to women in interior villages and relief areas.
They also train women to start their own small cloth pad manufacturing enterprise by providing necessary training and seed grant. Purvi has a background in finance and made a complete switch in her career and decided to dedicate her full time to this organization in 2018. She is a young change maker and started the organization when she was 23 years old. Her nonprofit now employs more than 20 permanent staff and has impacted more than 5 lakhs individuals all over India. Purvi feels that there is no limit to what an individual can achieve.
Bill has been with The SHARE Foundation for seven years, with the last five years as executive director. SHARE Foundation serves adults with intellectual disabilities through residential, social, camp and education programs. In his time as executive director, Bill has implemented new and exciting programs for adults with disabilities, with the most recent being an education program taught by college professors.
The individuals who call SHARE home have always wanted to go to college. With this new program, some of the individuals are being taught by the same college professors that taught their parents, which does so much for their confidence and self worth! Residents are solving math problems and reading books – sometimes for the first time in their life!
Another program Bill has started is a therapy dog program. The residents of SHARE adopted a puppy who is not only their pet, but will be used as a therapy dog to be brought to hospitals and nursing homes with the residents of SHARE! This program was created to show the residents they have gifts to SHARE with the world. Bill’s true passion is engaging with others to find their needs and wants in life, and working with a team to make these dreams come true!
For the past 30 years, Errika has focused on every aspect within the education continuum that impacts a student’s equitable access to opportunities. That includes the “Maslow” interdependencies that can inhibit or ensure their success as well.
Errika has served on national and regional boards committed to uplifting, supporting, and creating more significant opportunities for the youngest learners (0-5 years) to those working to excel in their careers. In every leadership role, she has operated as a community and systems-level change agent, a mentor, a servant leader, a policy maker and a voice boldly speaking truth to power on behalf of those without agency, sometimes to the detriment of her livelihood.
As a result, she has been recognized nationally and locally as a trailblazer, an inspiration, an advocate, a fellow, a prolific leader, an ecosystem builder, a Woman of the Year, and an Outstanding Georgia Citizen.
Errika lives her life daily believing, “The purpose of life is to live a life of purpose.” And in every leadership role, either professionally or personally, she is guided by the mantra, “I’m no longer accepting the things I cannot change; I’m changing the things I can no longer accept.” – Angela Davis
From the time she was a young teen, Cynthia was a peer mentor, always encouraging others to become their best selves. Having grown up on a farm in a wonderful family with many mouths to feed, it was clear that going to college was out of the question unless she funded it herself. At the age of 8, Cynthia started her first small business raising chickens and selling the eggs, depositing every penny into her college bank account. She graduated from CAL Berkeley, the first person in her immigrant family to attend an institution of higher education.
She has been an entrepreneur and a volunteer ever since, dedicating her life to helping others achieve success. As the unpaid volunteer executive director of Be the Star You Are!®, she has guided thousands of volunteers from around the world to donate their time and expertise for causes that would not only help others, but help the individual volunteer grow and learn. Through their international radio broadcasts of Express Yourself! that she created and produces, teens get their voices heard without censoring or editing. Whatever the interests of volunteers, she finds a way for them to shine, learn new skills and make a difference. Her motto is “To be a leader, you must be a reader. Read, lead, succeed!”
Cindy founded PROJECT OUR TOWN in 2017 with her partner, Amy Becker. It was originally planned to be a weekend of community service projects for maybe 2-300 people…but over 850 volunteers signed up, making it clear that there was desire and willingness!
Cindy is blessed with the inability to put others’ struggles aside and go to sleep at night. She sees people’ efforts to get items that should NOT be a luxury for anyone… food, diapers, a roof, school supplies, personal hygiene items, etc. No one should have to worry about how they are going to feed or house themselves or their children!
Since 2017, PROJECT OUR TOWN hosts their “Weekend of Action” in November every year bringing 1000+ volunteers out into the community, completing close to 100 different projects, typically benefitting about 50 local non-profit agencies working to help those in need in our community.
Throughout the rest of the year, they do a School Supply Drive for kids in treatment facility schools (giving supplies to over 1000 kids this year!), a Diaper Drive, a Dignity Drive in which they collect toiletries and basic needs, and about two volunteer events per month benefitting different causes and organizations and bringing people together.
Meenal has been volunteering her time for neuroscience and psychology education for years. With her sister, she founded the 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, NeuroEd. NeuroEd is an international educational program to make neuroscience and psychology information accessible to all youth, empowering them to pursue careers in this niche field, as well as to understand mental disabilities that may affect those around them. She organizes in-person and online workshops that teach elementary, middle and high school students across the world about the basics of neuroscience and psychology, which a special focus on raising awareness for neurological conditions.
She founded NeuroEd because she realized that many younger students are interested in learning about neuroscience, but schools don’t cater to this interest, with all of the students she talked to reporting that their school does not have middle school neuroscience or psychology classes, and instead, they can only take the most basic biology classes. This is when she knew she needed to form NeuroEd so that even young students can explore their niche career interests.
Opening chapters in three countries, NeuroEd has 100+ students with its workshops and its online community.
Susan began Motisha a Dada, a Swahili term meaning “to motivate a woman,” in 2020 during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to the dire necessity of cleanliness and sanitation, she took upon herself not only to provide accessible home made soap but also to teach the young women in her village the importance of this. As time went by, Motisha a Dada grew in numbers as many women joined the organization and started profiting and benefiting. She is now the official founder and has employed 10+ women using the home made liquid soap.
Kyle believes that the harder you work, the more results you get, and always tries his best in whatever he does. He’s a passionate individual who thrives to bring out the best in others as well. Kyle has been working with students since May of 2020, helping them to have a better perspective of their actual skills, talents and strengths through the nonprofit Musical Relief.
Musical Relief’s goal is twofold: first and foremost, they aim to provide music education to prospective musicians who do not have access to professionally taught lessons, or even a music program within their own schools. Secondly, they aim to give 100% of donations to charity, in order to promote music education within the local community. As of June of 2022, Musical Relief had mentored for 1000 hours and expanded reach nationally and internationally.
Mentors are students from the USA with a passion to connect and help other children. Since Musical Relief is an organization devoted to provide accessible learning to all sections of the society, lessons are 100% free for all!
Karen has been volunteering with South County Outreach for seven years. What started as a single weekly shift registering clients for the food pantry has grown into volunteering several days per week with activities in multiple areas. When COVID-19 appeared, most of the regular volunteers opted out, but Karen decided to volunteer “full time” so that the Outreach could continue to provide food and services.
In a typical week, she interacts with our clients as they sign in for pantry services, enters those services in the client file and into the on-line database, sorts donations to insure that “use by” dates are in compliance and stocks items on shelves and in refrigerators. Karen enjoys the interactions with the clients, staff and other volunteers and is proud to be part of the South County Outreach family.
At the age of just 14, Tanzeel founded “Ogrograhi Foundation” to engage teenagers in social development activities. Through his organization, Tanzeel has used the power of his leadership skills to mobilize young people as a driving force behind the efforts of achieving the UN SDG’s specially during emergencies or natural calamities like the COVID-19 crisis, floods, etc. To date, 50,000+ people benefitted from the food support & emergency toolkit that Tanzeel and his team distributed during different times while contributing to SDG 2 (Zero Hunger).
Furthermore, as a taboo breaker, Tanzeel’s work in the field of menstrual and mental health has impacted more than 1,000 people. He led teen protests over several rape incidents that happened in Bangladesh – which made him an exemplary gender quality advocate.
For his remarkable accomplishments, Tanzeel has achieved national accolades like Joy Bangla Youth Award, Action Aid Bangladesh’s Top 25 transformational leader & International accolades like Ashoka Young ChangeMaker, UN Millennium Fellow, and more.
A registered nurse for 47 years, volunteering in the community seems a logical extension of the exceptional care Kathleen provides to her patients professionally. Seeing the disruption caused by COVID-19, Kathleen reached out to Second Harvest food bank in June of 2020, to volunteer for a monthly food distribution site serving 165 families. She reached out to her circle of friends to join her in supporting these families, but still wanted to do more for her community.
Kathleen volunteered for yet another Second Harvest weekly food distribution site in August of 2020, which serves 650 families each week. Eventually, Kathleen stepped up to a site leadership role in August 2022, bringing many positive changes throughout her time as a volunteer. She recruits and fills 10 volunteer spots each month, and thinks outside the box when it comes to how to help these families. For example, the site now accommodates homeless clients with no-cook food bags. She asked volunteers to bring in their recyclable shopping bags to hand out to the clients, and even home-delivers food boxes to three families every single week. During these past two years, Kathleen has logged over 400 volunteer hours and is an inspiration to those around her.
Emma Chuang is a committee chair member of Empowering Arts and a sophomore at Orange County School of Arts (“OCSA”). She enjoys using her art skills to help others whether to bring a smile on the face of an elder being cared for at a healthcare facility or to bring a sense of joy and happiness to a child challenged with a disability.
Prior to OCSA, she never received sustained, formalized training in the arts. However, from an early age, she recognized the power that art has to create dialogue as well as to convey creativity.
When the world seemingly stopped during the pandemic, Emma stumbled upon online art videos. She spent hours experimenting and developing art skills at home. Now, through Empowering Arts, Emma aims to transfer that same enthusiasm to others by sharing the skills that she learned at home and is being fostered at OCSA.
Emma creates lesson plans that draws out that inner desire in each person to accomplish something fun yet challenging, as well as work with other volunteers to teach those art lessons. In addition to serving at skilled nursing facilities, Emma has worked to brighten the lives of children with disabilities; teaching them how to create whimsical lion cups as well as animal ears.
When Catherine saw the detrimental effects of dementia on her grandmother overseas and how music was one of the only things that could calm her, Catherine knew she had to do something to help the elderly in the same situation. In eighth grade, she started performing music for senior home residents who were disabled, received few visitors or were lonely in general. Once she witnessed the impact of her music on the lives of the elderly, she began to bring in her peers to perform along with her in order to expand this essential community service.
Catherine and her group regularly play at various local senior homes almost every weekend. Every year, Catherine has arranged formal holiday concerts, such as for Christmas and the 4th of July. She always chooses and arranges specific music that appeals to the residents’ ages and helps bring back their memories.
Now a senior at Glenda Dawson High School, Catherine has performed with over 100 fellow students at eight senior homes around Pearland. She formed the Pearland branch of the national nonprofit student volunteer organization, WeCareAct, and brought this project to Future Problem Solving Internationals in order to continue vital music performances for the elderly in isolation.
Medha volunteered for Forging Opportunities for Refugees in America (FORA) every day for 2 years. FORA is an organization that works to support refugee students in Chicago, IL, with supplemental education. She believes that everyone should be treated with equity and equality and be given the same opportunities to succeed regardless of their background.
She is also extremely passionate about the education crisis, which is why she took part in tutoring at FORA. She tutored one student out of roughly 2000 Rohingya children in America, but since then, both Medha and her student have been impacted positively. She’s gotten to learn about the Rohingya culture and way of life as a displaced person.
The internet portrays everything much differently from how it truly is, and Medha has been able to build an incredibly strong relationship with her student and her student’s family. Not only has her student built a passion for mathematics, but she has also gained a support system and an older sister who will continue to support her as she grows into the amazing person that she is. Medha’s view of life and the world has changed, and so has the extent of her opinions.
Zein has been a passionate and dedicated leader for several causes, including the nonprofit called Chess Without Borders in Barrington, IL, for over 24 years. She has mentored over 100 youth as they volunteered over these years to engage in social entrepreneurship. She has inspired and mentored youth as well as adults to enjoy working as team members as they create unique opportunities for themselves and others in belonging to a connected and global world. Together Zein and her army of volunteers have raised over $216,000 to donated to local and global charities.
Zein has done the hard work through various means but mostly she has demonstrated a passion for food philanthropy involving her team in raising funds through selling homemade food at chess tournaments, dinners and fundraising events.
Her first entrepreneurial experience was when an 8-year-old Rishi Sethi asked her to help raise funds at the first chess event in 1999. He wanted to start a chess program in Barrington but there was no one playing chess so he asked Zein to attract an audience through hosting a dinner where he introduced chess to the community. All proceeds from the meal were donated to charity.
Deb has a passion for helping babies and children. In the last 30 years, she has been fundraising to support the March of Dimes by reaching out to friends and family asking for pledges as she completes the annual walk. The list of donors grows each year allowing Deb to have raised more than $50,000.
For the last seven years, Deb has served as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) in Clay County, Missouri. In that role, she represents abused and neglected children who have been removed from their homes in court. Deb ensures the children’s needs are being addressed and coordinates with the Children’s Division, placement provider and Deputy Juvenile Officer.
After retiring, Deb finally has time to give back even more. She found plenty of opportunity at the local Kansas City diaper bank, Happy Bottoms. During COVID-19, Deb participated in many mass distribution events in which recipients could drive by and receive a month’s supply of diapers. Deb enjoyed working with the organization so much that she expanded her involvement by participating in home delivery, assembly at the warehouse, filling orders, quarterly agency inventory, receive and organize diapers at an agency and delivery to agencies.
During the COVID-19 quarantine, the value and necessity for community was highlighted throughout the world. Ananya realized how important it was to help however she could and decided to channel her love for animals and helping people through volunteering in multiple organizations.
Ananya’s first step was to make a difference in her local community by raising over $500 for COVID relief charities by designing and creating custom products using a CNC router.
Her next step was to find organizations she could volunteer at that aligned with her beliefs. After researching local establishments, Ananya began volunteering at Sonrise, a nonprofit organization providing free therapeutic horseback riding for children with special needs.
Here she ensures the safety of the rider and helps them maintain proper posture on the horse.
She has also been volunteering at the Oakland Zoo for two summers to provide animal interpretive information to guests, help children learn about animals, and work in the goat barn to make sure the animals and people visiting are happy and safe. In addition, Ananya is secretary of Pawse, a club at her school that raises awareness for pet adoption and educates the community about rescue animals.
Mrs. Ponicki has been volunteering for over 20 years teaching children and young adults life and job skills, providing emergency and disaster relief, and advocating for women and children in shelters.
Mrs. Ponicki wears many hats daily, from being a mother of four, Girl Scouts co-leader, realtor, founder and CEO of The Hub and Red Cross Volunteer, but her biggest passion is to bring people together through her community events, and teach everyone to love and accept themselves for who they are. The BCA Hub is a 501(c)3 organization that is self-funded by Mrs. Ponicki.
We believe Mrs. Ponicki is filled with tons of pixie dust, and yes, she is extremely hard to catch and keep up with! But when you meet her, she is like pure sunshine on the cloudiest of days, so be sure to enjoy her presence and soak up her sunshine, because she is one awesome woman who leaves a little sparkle of hope and wonder in everyone’s eyes. She is one woman you truly want to know and love.
Debra Marcelle-Coney, Ph.D, has been volunteering for over 20 years. She is a retired psychotherapist, affectionately known as “Dr. D.” by garden enthusiasts, her peers and veterans served at the West Palm Beach Veterans Affairs Medical Center. She is also a Army Veteran, whom established and coordinated many programs from 2011 to 2021. She has helped launch the First Herbal Connection between Good Food & Good Health, First Eat Healthy Live Well Campaign with the VA Farmers Market, Growing a Healthy Your Body in Your Backyard, The Health & Wellness Demonstrations with monthly “Seed, Seedling & Plant Xchanges” in the VA Community Living Center (CLC), the first Evidence-Based Model, Growing Ur Esteem with Garden Therapy and more.
Dr. D’s love of sharing, exploring and desire to make a difference led to a collaboration with Palm Beach County (PBC) Library Systems to begin the community Seed, Seedling & Plant Xchange in March 2016 to present. PBC residents, visitors and other interested individuals bring their seeds, cuttings, seedlings and small plants to trade and fruit from their gardens to share. With the consensus of the garden enthusiasts the inception of the first funded Seed Saving Bank was set up and celebrated.
Janvi Srivastava, a junior from Scottsdale, Arizona, has spent most of her life coding. After learning about the applications of artificial intelligence for medical diagnoses, she decided to create a program to help with the issue of skin cancer. She developed DermaTech, an artificial intelligence-powered skin cancer detection tool that seeks to close the gap in healthcare access for patients in rural and low-income communities by providing a free application for rapid and non-invasive cancer detection.
With DermaTech, people without access to proper healthcare resources can easily identify skin tumors with only a phone with a camera. She has also worked towards educating the next generation on how they can use artificial intelligence to benefit healthcare access. Janvi has presented about DermaTech at AZSEF, ISEF, the 2022 Johns Hopkins Global Healthcare Conference, Arizona’s Governor’s Celebration of Innovation and AZBio to 300+ students from 50+ countries to educate them on the applications of AI and AI ethics. Through these initiatives, she has helped the younger generation learn about the uses of technology to make healthcare more affordable and equitable for all.
Eric has been volunteering for over 20 years in many facets, but none more than his work with Long Island Against Domestic Violence, where he serves as the board president. Eric feels the work he gets to do using his former broadcasting voice to give back by giving a voice to victims and survivors of a domestic violence is a calling. He believes that together as a community we can make a difference and provide opportunities and resources to those in need. Along with an amazing team he likes to call the “Front Line” of NFP workers, LI Against Domestic Violence is now able to house not only victims but their animals. So no longer does a victim have to make a choice whether to leave their special pet behind when trying to flee a domestic violent relationship. Eric’s passion for volunteering is amazing.
Legacy Jackson is a shero in all aspects of her life. At the young age of 13 she is known around the world as an inspiring and fierce philanthropist. Legacy’s drive is unapologetic, bold and contagious. While volunteering with her family at the young age of 4, Legacy noticed that there were no children helping and by the time she was 6, she started a community service organization appropriately called Little Legacies.
Since 2016 they have done at least one service project every month. She is a girl boss who is unstoppable when it comes to service. She is a young leader and an agent of change. She has completed over 80 service projects and worked throughout the COVID-19 global pandemic. Legacy makes things happen locally, nationally and globally. She started a library of over 2,000 books for the Annie Malone Children’s Home, sent over 3,000 pairs of shoes to Africa and has provided luggage sets, book bags and play dates for unhoused children, to name a few. She has done street outreach in Las Vegas, New Mexico, New York, LA, Chicago and Hawaii. Legacy invites everyone to join her mission to save the world one service project at a time.
Vilmarie has outstanding organizational skills and exceptional community services performance. She has move forward to improve her initiatives and impacted more than 500,000 persons across the globe. At this moment over 1,100 MS Patients from PR have received a portable handheld fan to avoid heat temperature exposure. Also, her nonprofit organization has created and distribute a free emergency health card for MS patients. For the last eight years she has coordinated a MS Day event, but this year has been a historic event due to for the first time in PR, almost all the towns have come together to commemorate World MS Day.
The nonprofit, Community Organization of MS and Cancer, Inc., prepared and distributed a bow ties with the little wing symbol of hope on the side of the bow. Mayors, First Ladies, patients, the House of Representatives in PR, the Secretary of the Department of Education, families, churches and friends posted their photos on their social networks showing solidarity to millions of patients living with the condition in PR and worldwide. In Puerto Rico, she coordinated to make six murals with Wings of Hope dedicated to people living with MS and soon there will be other murals, and many others initiatives.
Sophia Rückriegel is a social and environmental activist and author. She has spearheaded multiple social action initiatives in collaboration with local and national organizations serving communities of color in the United States. At the age of 14, following the murder of George Floyd, Sophia organized a Black Lives Matter surfing “paddle out” – a surfing tradition – to celebrate the life of Mr. Floyd and raise awareness about those maimed or killed due to racism and incidents of police brutality. She raised $3,000 for local organizations serving underserved communities.
Building on this momentum, she organized a panel discussion on the legacy of racism and segregation on swimming and surfing, a free public screening of the documentary film, “White Wash” and a panel discussion with its director and prominent activists. In February 2021, she organized a free public panel discussion on Indigenous Surfing Traditions with an indigenous surf historian who shared surfing’s origins by Native peoples in the Pacific and Africa. Sophia wrote a book to teach teens how they can get involved in a meaningful and impactful way as a social activist in their communities. The book, How to be a Social Activist, will be released in Nov. 2022.
Dr. Nana has dedicated her career to holistic medicine and structural change. As an innovator and thought leader, she believes that health is a human right and has helped organizations and government agencies design programming and health equity initiatives that close the equity gap by addressing the social and political determinants of health.
Dr. Nana was raised by a single mom, an immigrant and RN, who died of cervical cancer. Dr. Nana would watch her deliver compassionate care to her patients, but witness the discrimination her mother experienced when advocating for her own health as a woman of color. When her mother was first told of her cancer diagnosis, Dr. Nana recalls vividly how apathetic the doctor was. “My mom reaching out to hug him and he just frozen as if she was an absolute stranger or if she could give the cancer to him. I wanted so more love to be shown for the woman who I cared deeply for and vowed to be the voice for the vulnerable. She was my hero and deserved that.”
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Nana created myCovidMD, the first free public telehealth platform in LA. She released the film, I Am Not Your Hero, to share the challenges that BIPOC providers face on the frontline.
Kate has been an active member of the Alliance of Youth Leaders in the U.S (AYLUS) Pearland Branch since it was founded in 2015 and is currently the president and the VP for the previous two years. With her leadership, AYLUS has been recognized by the City of Pearland and has become a major volunteer force in the city. AYLUS was given the Beautification Award by Keep Pearland Beautiful for organizing a plethora of environmental events, such as park clean-ups and tree planting.
She also led AYLUS in receiving the Hogg Foundation grant for three consecutive years by promoting the mental health of adolescents via organizing over 300 volunteer events. With these funds, she initiated more volunteer opportunities and provided donations for children with special needs, low-income families in the U.S and Mexico, and school clubs.
Additionally, she helped raise funds to aid with first responders during the pandemic. Kate’s extensive work was recognized as she was selected to be on Keep Pearland Beautiful’s Youth Environmental Council, the only organization in Texas to receive the Ruthe Jackson Youth Organization Award. Kate has not only improved the quality of life for residents but has also made a lasting impact around the globe.
SJ has been passionate about building an inclusive society, coming across the culture of disrespect in society: exclusion, bullying, cyberbullying, malicious comments on the Internet, potentially leading to suicidal incidents, which is the internalization of disrespect. Believing that a solution to combat the culture of disrespect is to expand our community’s inclusiveness for greater compassion and accountability for one another, SJ has been running the Book Club for Friends for Special Needs, a club that connects local high school students with people with physical and intellectual disabilities.
As the president, he facilitates discussions about novels, researches special needs, recruits high school volunteers and forms a student committee to improve the program. He believes the program can positively change the skepticism of many, including local high school students and the parents of those with disabilities, with genuine kindness and openness.