Looking Back on Yesterday. The Power of Today. The Road to Tomorrow.

This year marks 30 years of unwavering service and the power of people who help further our mission. Today, the world is full of heroes—individuals with the manpower to step up and say “yes I can,” nonprofits identifying the needs of communities, and corporations with resources to help. It’s not always easy to bring them together—that’s why we’re here. We look to the future to help forge new connections, continue the have a global impact, and sustain the work we do for years to come.

Digital Library

Points of Light is committed to capturing and telling the stories of individuals and organizations around the world that are doing good every day.

PSA: Celebrate Service

The most powerful force in the world is the individual who has realized their power to do good, and who applies their time, talent, and resources to make a positive difference.

Inaugural Speech of Pres. George H.W. Bush

In 1989 President George H. W. Bush’s inaugural address invokes the vision of a “thousand points of light,” and invites the nation to take action through service to their fellow citizens.

A World in Which No One Sits on the Sidelines: Points of Light

Points of Light is a global nonprofit organization that inspires, equips and mobilizes millions of people to take action that changes the world. We envision a world in which every individual discovers the power to make a difference, creating healthy communities in vibrant, participatory societies.

PSA: Celebrate Service

The most powerful force in the world is the individual who has realized their power to do good, and who applies their time, talent, and resources to make a positive difference.

Inaugural Speech of Pres. George H.W. Bush

In 1989 President George H. W. Bush’s inaugural address invokes the vision of a “thousand points of light,” and invites the nation to take action through service to their fellow citizens.

A World in Which No One Sits on the Sidelines: Points of Light

Points of Light is a global nonprofit organization that inspires, equips and mobilizes millions of people to take action that changes the world. We envision a world in which every individual discovers the power to make a difference, creating healthy communities in vibrant, participatory societies.

Highlights From the Past 30 Years

President George H.W. Bush

mentions Points of Light 41 times in his inaugural address.

Photo Credit: George Bush Presidential Library and Museum

Daily Point of Light Established

President Bush establishes the Daily Point of Light Award for individuals making a difference. During his administration, President Bush formally recognizes more than 1,000 volunteers as “points of light.” He advocates that “points of light” demonstrate how “a neighbor can help a neighbor.” The award is now administered by Points of Light.

Points of Light Foundation Created

In response to President Bush’s call to action, Points of Light Foundation is created as an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization to encourage and empower the spirit of service. The new nonprofit extends President Bush’s vision, understanding that “what government alone can do is limited, but the potential of the American people knows no limits.”

National Volunteer Week

President Bush signs a proclamation designating April 22 through 28, 1990 as National Volunteer Week.

The Points of Light Foundation Grows

The Points of Light Foundation merges with the National Volunteer Center Network.

CityCares Founded

HandsOn Atlanta, New York Cares and Greater DC Cares found CityCares (later named HandsOn Network) as an umbrella organization to provide a national network for sharing resources.

National and Community Service Trust Act

President Bill Clinton signs the National and Community Service Trust Act, which initiates the founding of AmeriCorps, a national service program that engages Americans in voluntary action to address the country’s most critical issues.

Courtesy of Clinton Presidential Library

The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) officially begins operation.

CNCS is a federal agency that engages millions of Americans in service through Senior Corps, AmeriCorps and Learn and Serve America.

The Presidents' Summit for America's Future

Presidents unite and challenge the nation to think anew at The Presidents’ Summit for America’s Future. Presidents Clinton, George H. W. Bush, Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford and first lady Nancy Reagan convene to discuss the nation’s pressing social issues and discuss their role in meeting the needs of the country and world through voluntary action.

Photo Credit: William J. Clinton Presidential Library

The Year of the Volunteer

The United Nations proclaims the Year of the Volunteer. Points of Light Foundation joins nearly 1,000 national and international partners participating in the year of service and engages its large network of individuals, groups and corporate partners in service to others.

HandsOn Network Corporate Service Council

is established with 29 founding corporate leaders of Fortune 500 companies. The council has grown to include more than 90 companies representing our nation’s most powerful businesses and industries.

Hurricane Katrina

Volunteers mobilize after Hurricane Katrina to assist with disaster relief and recovery. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Presidents George H. W. Bush, Clinton and George W. Bush give their voice to mobilize Americans in disaster relief and recovery. To meet the needs of those impacted by the Gulf Coast disaster, HandsOn Network establishes an action center in Biloxi, Miss. called HandsOn Gulf Coast.

Points of Light Created

Points of Light Foundation and HandsOn Network merge to become Points of Light, creating the largest volunteer management and civic engagement organization in the nation.

ServiceNation Launches

ServiceNation, an unprecedented coalition of service and volunteer leadership to inspire a new era of voluntary citizen service in America, launches. Points of Light joined organizing committee members including Be the Change Inc., City Year and Civic Enterprises.

United We Serve

President Obama announces United We Serve campaign to engage more Americans in service. Members of President Obama’s administration participate in service projects and advocate service as a solution to our nation’s most pressing issues.

Courtesy Barack Obama Presidential Library

Presidential Forum on Service

Points of Light hosts the Presidential Forum on Service, with bipartisan support from President Obama and President George H.W. Bush. The forum recognizes the 20th anniversary of President Bush’s invocation of a thousand points of light and celebrates the volunteer sector’s tremendous gains during the past two decades.

Points of Light Launches generationOn

generationOn is a new enterprise focused on igniting the power of young people to create meaningful change in the world. Through generationOn, Points of Light engages the next generation of volunteers to “make their mark” on the world through voluntary action.

Haiti Earthquake

The world rallies to assist Haiti following a deadly earthquake. President Clinton and President George W. Bush unite in a bipartisan effort to engage Americans in service and raise funds for Haiti, asking the nation to partner with them to provide compassionate assistance to the devastated nation.

Points of Light Tribute

The Points of Light Tribute honors President George H. W. Bush. On March 21, 2011, Points of Light hosts “All Together Now: A Celebration of Service,” a historic, once-in-a-lifetime tribute to President and Mrs. George H. W. Bush for their leadership in founding and advancing the modern-day service movement. The event celebrates the power of voluntary action and its essential role in solving our national challenges while calling on all Americans to find ways to give back.

Points of Light Continues Its Mission

with a global focus to redefine volunteerism and civic engagement for the 21st century by enabling people to use their time, talent, voice and money to make a positive impact.

5,000th Daily Point of Light Award

President Barack Obama and President George H. W. Bush join dozens of service leaders from across the country at a White House ceremony on July 15, 2013, to present the 5,000th Daily Point of Light Award to Floyd Hammer and Kathy Hamilton of Union, Iowa.

UK Point of Light Award

The United Kingdom Points of Light award is developed in partnership with the Points of Light and launched in the Cabinet Room at 10 Downing Street in April 2014. Since then over 1,000 people have been named Points of Light by the Prime Minister, highlighting an enormous array of innovative and inspirational volunteering across Britain.

Hurricane Harvey Honorees

Points of Light honors five volunteers who responded to relief and recovery efforts after Hurricane Harvey along the Gulf Coast. The honorees receive their awards on stage at the One America Appeal in College Station, Texas. The awards are presented by Presidents Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama.

Commonwealth Point of Light Award Established

Her Majesty the Queen, as head of the Commonwealth begins honoring volunteers across the 53 Commonwealth nations with the Commonwealth Points of Light Award for making a difference in their communities and beyond.

President George H.W. Bush's Legacy

Points of Light joins world leaders, family, and friends in celebrating the life and legacy of President George H.W. Bush.

Points of Light Establishes the George H.W. Bush Points of Light Awards

to honor outstanding individuals advancing solutions in ways that demonstrate the extraordinary traits of our 41st president: integrity, empathy, respect, optimism, conviction in the face of opposition, and belief in the power of the human spirit to create positive change. Presidents Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama serve as the honorary chairs and the inaugural awards gala is held honoring Garth Brooks, Maria Rose Belding and Khloe Thompson.


30 Shining Points of Light

For nearly 30 years, Points of Light has been honoring individuals five days a week with its, Daily Point of Light Awards. This award honors individuals and groups creating meaningful change to meet community needs; efforts which often lead to long-term solutions and impact social problems in their local communities. Meet some of our Daily Point of Light honorees.

Anu Advani

Anu Advani is a host for Hospitality Homes, an organization that provides short-term housing in volunteer host homes for families and friends of patients receiving medical care in the Boston area. Anu’s story shows others who don’t think that they have time to volunteer, a non-time intensive way to make a significant difference in the lives of others.

Read The Story

Avi Gupta

Stunned by a headline that read, “One toothbrush for 49 disabled children in government homes,” 17-year-old Avi Gupta decided to combat the inequalities that many youth experience around the globe.

Read The Story

Beckham Oldenettel

The youngest of four boys in the Oldenettel family has collected over 7,000 books since launching Beckham’s Bookshelf, an organization that collects donated books and distributes them to children who do not have books in their home.

Since being awarded as a Daily Point of Light Honoree, Beckham’s Bookshelf continues to collect and distribute children’s books. Beckham’s Bookshelf is always looking for new partnership opportunities. Beckham has teamed up with the Jacksonville Public Library to provide books to children through their summer bookmobile and with the Jacksonville Kiwanis Club who read to more than 50 classrooms with each child (1,012) receiving a book to take home. (I even read to a group of Pre-school kids for this project.)

In the past year, Beckham’s Bookshelf has distributed around 3,500 children’s books to children in our community. Eventually, their hope is that everyone in their town who has children’s books donates them to Beckham’s Bookshelf so they can find the books good homes.

Read Beckham’s Story!


Read The Story

Blakely Austin

Blakely Austin is a typical high school freshman. She plays basketball, is busy with academics, and is involved in band and book club with her friends. The passion that sets this 15-year-old Brunswick, Maine native apart from others? She’s volunteered over 500 hours in the last year with the Midcoast Humane animal shelter.

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Cecille Figueroa Narvaez

Moving to a new home can be a nerve-racking change for any child, but moving to a place where you don’t speak the language and don’t recognize anything from your neighbors’ faces to the climate is especially terrifying. Cecille Figueroa Narvaez experienced that herself at just six years old when she and her family moved from Puerto Rico to Ohio.

Read The Story

Deborah Jiang-Stein

Born to a heroin-addicted mother in an Appalachian prison, Deborah Jiang-Stein spent the first year of her life in incarceration, then bounced between foster families until she was adopted. After overcoming the harsh realities of her past – including an addiction of her own – Deborah set out to empower and inspire incarcerated women with the hope and tools they would need to succeed in life after prison.

Read The Story

Derek Auguste

After leaving the U.S. Army in 2015, Derek Auguste struggled to find purpose outside of the military – but he found his place when he heard about The Mission Continues, a nonprofit that empowers veterans by engaging them in service to the community

Since being recognized as a Daily Point of Light Honoree, The Mission Continues has grown  in number of volunteers. The organization seen exponential growth of nearly 150 percent, performed 5,000 hours of community service and had 1,083 individual instances of service.

To date, more than 1,000 people have been impacted since his story was shared. Derek has  continued to encourage everyone he speaks with to volunteer with a cause that provides them with an immense sense of purpose and the feeling of being a part of something bigger than themselves. 

The things that keep Derek motivated are the people and relationships that he makes while doing the work. He has found that good people do good work and he enjoys surrounding himself with good people who care and want more for their community. 

“Our organization is going to continue to plan and execute meaningful/impactful projects that benefit the communities we serve,” Derek said. “We will remain flexible to adapt to the needs of our volunteers and partners. We will continue to expand our access to registering veterans and assisting them through their transition.”

Read Derek’s Story!

Read The Story

Elliot Weiner

As a high school and college student, Elliot Weiner was always getting involved in organizations advocating for people who didn’t have a voice. He wanted to help speak for those who didn’t have enough power to speak for themselves.

Read The Story

Estella Pyfrom

When Estella Pyfrom retired in 2008 after a 50-year career with the Palm Beach County, Fla., public schools, she wasn’t ready to stop serving her community.

Read The Story

Gracelyn & Brooke Leath

Two teenage sisters motivating other teens to change the world they will inherit.

That’s the story of Gracelyn Leath and Brooke Leath, a dynamic duo who have been tapping into that potential since 2012 by lending their time to TeenHOP, a group working to empower young teenagers to volunteer in their communities and encourage others to be positive citizens.

Read The Story

Harrison Barnes

Harrison Barnes understands what it means to feel different. When he was just a toddler, he was diagnosed with Sensory Processing Dysfunction and Asperger’s Syndrome. Athletic by nature, Harrison struggled to find an outlet for his boundless energy, but team sports didn’t work for him. When he was 12, Harrison discovered BMX, off road bike racing and everything clicked into place. By finding his focus and using his bike as a coping mechanism, Harrison realized that biking could help other kids with all kinds of challenges.

Since Harrison’s recognition as a Daily Point of Light honoree, read about what he’s been doing with his service projects.

Harrison Barnes: In February of 2019, I was honored by the Council for Exceptional Children with their Yes I Can Award and had the opportunity to talk to special educators from around the world about the work my program does and the impact of cycling on kids with exceptionalities. In May, my mom and I spoke at the American Mothers Convention and then

I was selected as a Prudential Spirit of Community state honoree along with my little sister. Its the first time that two siblings have won both the awards from their state in the same year. Both of these events allowed me the opportunity to travel to DC and talk to lawmakers about the importance of participation in sports and specifically the opportunities that cycling can provide. In early July, GearUp and I were honored at the ESPN Humanitarian awards and the following night at the ESPYs as one of the inaugural recipients of the Billie Jean King Youth Leadership award.

As part of this experience, I met some amazing people from all over the country and had the chance to participate in a forum on youth sports. Thanks to the generous support of ESPN, I got to fly to Minneapolis and coach the first ever BMX racing unified event at the Summer XGames and introduce even more people to my program and the benefits of cycling. In the middle of that crazy summer, GearUp launched our second annual summer bike challenge in June 2019. Participation almost doubled this year and children from across the country logged more than 15,000 hours of bike riding to earn more thousands of dollars in prizes. We also donated two dozen refurbished bikes out of the home office alone and all of this led to some great media coverage for the program. It was a crazy summer for sure.

Since January 2019, GearUp programming has impacted more than 1,500 families around the world.

I will continue to promote the idea for people in their local communities to run bike repair clinics and refurbish bikes for donations but we will probably do less of that out of the “office” The other big goal is to run more bike clinics this year and work one on one with kids.



Read The Story

Harry and Heath Bennett

In May of 2016, Harry and Heath Bennett’s friend Timmy was brushing his teeth when he felt a lump on his neck. He was 11 at the time and about to finish the 5th grade when he was diagnosed with Stage 1 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. The Malden, Massachusetts brothers could not believe that someone so young, active and healthy could have cancer. They decided then and there that they would do something to help their friend feel better and also raise money for childhood cancer research.

Read The Story

Heval Kelli

Having grown up in a happy, middle-class home in Aleppo, Heval’s world had been turned upside down at age 11 when his family, in fear for their safety, fled the country. They spent the next six years in Germany on asylum status, which meant that his parents could not work and although Heval excelled in school, he could not attend college. But in America, they believed their dreams could come true.

Since being recognized as a Daily Point of Light Honoree, read more about what Heval has been doing with his organization. 

2020 was great and our program is currently serving four high schools and five colleges in addition two pilot program at two colleges in rural areas. We also started a pilot program for middle schools in two different locations. YPI has impacted over 200 students each semester since the story was shared.

In the beginning, we had initial challenges trying to convince foundations that our work is inspiring the next generation of diverse doctors. Our program is novel as it focuses on inspiring students from underserved communities into medicine. Many programs are focused on providing a pipeline for these students which is very essential. We are focused on inspiring students to go through the pipelines.

We recently partnered with the American College of Cardiology GA chapter which provided us funding to expand our program.

We hosted our second annual Doctor for a Day conference, over 100 students attended in addition to 50 medial students and doctors.

The Daily Point of Light Award was an honor for me and our organizations as it provided us the exposure and the inspiration to continue our work



Read The Story

John White

John White says buying a new bicycle for his daughter made him pause, as the Corona, California resident’s mind cycled through all the students he’d taught over his career who didn’t own a bike because their parents couldn’t afford one.

Read The Story

Kathy and Floyd Hammer

Floyd Hammer and Kathy Hamilton were preparing to sail the world in leisurely retirement, back in 2004. But first, at the suggestion of friends, the Union, Iowa, couple participated in a volunteer mission to Tanzania to help renovate an HIV/AIDS clinic at a village hospital.Upon arriving – during the third year of a nationwide drought – the couple saw children suffering, and dying, from malnutrition. The Hammers decided they would expand their volunteer work to help fight starvation.

Floyd and Kathy were recognized as Points of Light’s 5,000th Daily Point of Light honorees. We reached out to them to learn more about what they have been up to since they received their award. Read about what they had to say.

Hammer: Since we were recognized as Daily Point of Light honorees, we have packaged nearly 600 million meals, which adds up to nearly 600 million hours of labor just to package meals. In addition to that, we have: developed, provided and installed over 100 water purification systems; conducted 22 medical missions to Africa and Haiti and launched the Port-a Doc mobile medical clinic, which operates in the “bush” of Africa.

Hamilton: The thing that keeps us motivated is seeing the transformation of dirty, hungry, sick, skinny, distended belly, chalky complexion, orange colored hair and scared children transformed into healthy happy kids with a future “helps a lot” and makes all the effort worthwhile.

Hammer: We believe being recognized as a Daily Point of Light helped out a lot. We have the opportunity to work with the very best organization, market development specialists, world-class administration, program developers and dedicated fields of staff. We couldn’t ask for anything more!


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Kelli Czaykowsky

Clarkston, GA is home to thousands of legal immigrants- many lacking resources. Kelli Czaykowsky started Friends of Refugees Providing Education and Empowerment (F.R.E.E.). F.R.E.E. is a non-profit all-volunteer organization serving the refugee community in Clarkston, GA. Its purpose is to provide refugee families with resources needed to build self-esteem and self-sufficiency.

Points of Light took a moment to reach out to Kelli to learn more about what she’s been doing since she was recognized as a Daily Point of Light Honoree. Read what she had to say.

Since I have received this award would be we offer more classes at our Outreach center for the refugees as far as tutoring and ESL classes, we have more kids that we are educating, we have a game to full-time missionary students and we have had several kids I have graduated and are now enrolled in college. To date, we have helped around 5000 people since we have received the award.

When people ask what motivates me, my answer is: Simple things motivate me like the smiles on the kids face or the hugs that we receive as they get off the bus and start their day at school. Also the tears of joy that the parents have when they see their kids accomplish goals an aspirations.

The challenges that we face are two: One financial because the needs are so great and to serve others you have to have plentiful resources in order to meet the needs . The second challenge would be manpower because when you’re dealing with so many needs For example everything from driving kids to the dentist or doctor or tutoring them at their school to help in their parents fill out the applications.

I  think being recognized as a Daily Point of Light has helped me because one door always opens to another , I have met others who have received the award also and we have put on benefits to raise money together.

Read The Story

SuEllen Fried

Since being awarded a Daily Point of Light Award, I have secured a much more substantial board of directors and a very exciting staff executive. We have expanded our Reaching Out From Within Program to two more states and a federal penitentiary – more than 400 new members. One of our new states, North Carolina, has increased to five groups and the staff are so impressed with the program, they want to initiate 10 more programs across the state.

I don’t feel like I am doing “good work.” I feel like I am privileged to have found a
way to fill my soul by witnessing the good work that our incarcerated men and women
do on a weekly basis to heal themselves and each other.

A constant challenge is to change the mindset of people who stigmatize people who have served time in prison. We are arranging for a group of residents to speak to students in middle and high schools. Faculty who observe the sessions and students who participate are deeply affected by our residents’ presentations.

We would like continue to expand to more states and we have made a documentary about
one of our Alums who has been out eight months after serving 22 years in prison. We are working on a plan to show this virtual documentary film to as many people as possible.

We want to continue designing a symposium for corrections officials to come to Kansas from other states to learn from International and other statewide programs about the most creative ideas in criminal justice reform.

Our social movement committee is working on plans for another symposium in 2021. People admire the concept of the Points of Light Award and that credibility reflects on greater acceptance of our purpose and the incarcerated people who are empowered to transform their lives.

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Matt & Will Gladstone

When we were recognized by Points of Light in 2018 we had sold 3,000 pairs of socks and raised $30,000 for blue-footed booby research. We are still going strong and have now sold over 20,000 pairs of socks (to people in over 40 countries) and donated over $130,000 to blue-footed booby research. We have over 30,000 followers on social media who we keep up to date with blue-footed booby facts. Two years ago we were giving the money to The Galapagos Conservancy and helping to support blue-footed booby population decline research. We’ve been able to now also support The Charles Darwin Foundation in the Galapagos that does work to help the blue-footed booby.

I don’t know exact numbers but we have at least 10,000 more customers that now know about the blue-footed booby. Also, since you shared our story a lot more people know about us and kids from all around the world have reached out to learn how to start their own conservation initiative. We always take the time to give them advice and help. It’s what Point of Light Award Honorees do!

We still are about the survival of the blue-footed booby and we have so many people counting on us that there is no way we can stop!

The biggest challenge so far has been our ages. No one would take us seriously since we were kids. But getting recognized by the Points of Light helped change that a lot. It gave us instant credibility.

We want to continue selling our socks and support scientists who are studying why the blue-footed booby population is declining so they can figure it out and come up with a solution to reverse it.

We have a bunch of things going on that we are excited about. First, we now get our socks from Ecuador instead of China. They cost us more but Ecuador is home to the Galapagos Islands, where the Blue-footed booby lives, so it feel really good to also support the local economy.

Our story has been featured in two books for kids, one by NatGeo and one by Simon and Schuster. This helps us inspire even more kids! Also, we were invited to visit Ecuador and The Galapagos by the President of the Galapagos to talk to the youth of Ecuador about the importance of conservation and how kids can help. The trip was postponed because of Covid but we really hope we get to do it in the future.

Read The Story

Matt & Chris Hales

Goggles for Guppies was started in August 2011 by placing a cardboard donation box at a local swimming pool.  We have since grown to become the world’s largest distributor of donated swim equipment to low or no-cost water safety and learn-to-swim programs for disadvantaged children. To date we have distributed in excess of $2 million worth of new suits, swim caps and goggles throughout the U.S. and to select humanitarian programs in Uganda, Benin, Guatemala, Haiti, American Samoa and most recently Grenada. 

Because we have provided aquatic equipment to over 1,000 individual YMCAs, Boys and Girls Clubs, USA Swimming affiliated learn-to-swim programs, school districts, inner city recreation departments, etc., we don’t really know how many children have benefitted. We received the Daily Points of Light Award in August, 2016. At the end of 2015 we had distributed 17,500 new swimsuits, caps and goggles and today our distributions exceed 40,000 pieces of swim equipment.  This is an increase of 22,500 swimsuits, caps or goggles since we became an honoree. We don’t know how many people that represents, but if we helped save just one life, it really doesn’t matter. 

Accidental drowning is a worldwide epidemic that claims the life of more than 300,000 people each year. In the US alone, on average two children drown each day and 80% of drowning deaths affect families who live at or under the poverty level.  Learning to swim is the best antidote to childhood drowning and although free swimming lessons are readily available, children are not allowed access to most pools without a proper swim suit. Because drowning might have been prevented if children could afford the proper swim equipment in order to take life-saving swimming lessons, we are continually motivated to provide free equipment and eliminate the financial barriers to learning to swim. 

 The biggest challenge has been the COVID-19 pandemic which has closed the majority of swimming pools and suspended swimming lessons for many months. Other than the virus, we still struggle to get more manufacturers and retailers to donate their leftover inventories of swimsuits and goggles to us – even though we provide a charitable donation receipt for income tax purposes. That said, the Daily Points of Light award has most certainly boosted our credibility within the aquatics industry which helps support our requests for equipment donations. The other challenge is time.  Chris and Matt are both juniors at Cornell University so most of the pre-packing of equipment has to be done during breaks from school. 

Because basic swimming skills are the best antidote to accidental childhood drowning, a significant reduction in drowning deaths will continue to require participation in low or no-cost learn-to-swim programs provided by organizations such as the YMCA, Red Cross, Boys and Girls Clubs, private swim clubs, school districts and parks and recreation departments.  As long as children need suits, caps and goggles to participate in those programs, and manufacturers and retailers are willing to donate their unsold inventory, Goggles for Guppies will continue to provide the distribution channel. 

When Goggles for Guppies started in 2011, we were two 12-year-old kids with a good idea but no real credibility. We struggled for equipment donations.  However, becoming an honoree of Daily Points of Light most certainly helped boost our credibility with the aquatics equipment manufacturing and retail industry. 

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Joshua Williams

In the past couple of years Joshua’s Heart has grown and developed into something more refined. We have given over 2.2 million lbs. of food to over 450,000 individuals across the world. In addition, we have raised over $1.25 million dollars that has all been used to make an impact on our communities. Joshua’s Heart has also created a strong youth volunteer community of 50,000 active youth volunteers. Joshua’s Heart has created three new goals that we work towards. First stomping out world hunger, motivating a new generation of changemakers, and bringing awareness about global issues. As I began the college application process I had to take time to think about the future of Joshua’s Heart without me being able to fully support it and put the time in.

Over the course of my last two years of high school members of the foundation and I restructured the organization to be able to continually run year after year under new leadership with my guidance. Our Junior Advisor Board (JAB) is a group of kids that are highly motivated to create change. We train and provide valuable skills to the kids allowing them to run Joshua’s Heart as well as their own projects. These kids are the next/current generation of changemakers who have a strong desire to change the world. Joshua’s Heart believe that it is our responsibility to nurture this desire and provide the youth the knowledge and skills to make practical change.

When I was in high school the largest motivation for me was the change making that I could do and the enjoyment I received from running my own business. However, as time progressed a large factor became the community of changemakers that we created and the ability we had to spark change making in youths. Seeing the work, I did inspire others to make a change had profound impact on my motivations and the direction of JHF’s goals. I was able to pass the torch to other youths who were able to take on the work that I loved so much. It is amazing seeing what a group of motivated kids can do when we work together on a united goal.

The biggest recent challenge we faced was restructuring the organization for stability and sustainability. As I left for college, I knew that I wasn’t going to be able to be as involved as I would be studying at NYU Stern Business School in New York. Knowing this my team and I sat down and figured out what needed to be done to adapt to the new situation. To make the change we figured out to create a constant revenue stream and developed a method to constantly recruit new youth changemakers. This allowed new leadership to enter the foundation every year and allow us to continue current operations. Another challenge that we faced as does every other business is how to maintain and increase revenue and maximize the efficiency of our work. This is something that we have had to deal with since our inception, but as we grow we are faced with new problems.

In the near future we see Joshua’s Heart meeting three goals. First, we are trying to secure funding to expand and maintain our programs and create a larger impact by being able to assist anyone who needs assistance. Second, Joshua’s Heart wanted to help potential changemakers reach their potential by providing them with the skills and tools needed to fulfill their goals. Lastly, we want to spread awareness about the numerous global issues that plague our world. We want to empower youth and let them know the power and capabilities they have to change the world.

Joshua’s Heart has recently expanded into larger pantry which has allowed us to help more low-income families in the Miami area.

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Nick Katsoris

In 2014, when selected as a National Make A Difference Day Award winner, I was inspired by Points of Light to start the Loukoumi Make A Difference Foundation, a 501c3 non-profit, whose mission is “to teach children to make a difference in their lives and the lives of others.” The Foundation is based on my Loukoumi children’s book series about the fluffy lamb Loukoumi who just wants to make the world a better place, and although I had been doing good deed projects since the first book came out in 2005, it was the Award together with the All-Star Award and the Daily Point of Light Award in 2017 that made me want to do more.

The Loukoumi Foundation now unites over 100,000 children each year to Make A Difference with Loukoumi. This started with our nationally syndicated TV Special in 2014 and it has grown with our Loukoumi Good Deed of the Month Curriculum, now featured in over 300 schools and at our Good Deed Exhibit at The Westchester Children’s Museum. In this Curriculum, classes read one Loukoumi book per month followed by a discussion of how they can make a difference and then they engage in a good deed project.

The impact is also reached through our Loukoumi Good Deed Buses where children with their families hop on and off a yellow school bus during the course of a day doing different good deeds at each stop including park clean-ups, visits to animal shelters, senior centers, children’s museums, food pantries, homeless shelters and other stops.  These Good Deed Buses are held annually in New York, Boston, Chicago and Gander, Newfoundland Canada, with plans to enlarge the program to eight cities in 2020-21 adding Los Angeles, Washington DC, San Juan Puerto Rico and South Florida. It is my goal to have Loukoumi Good Deed buses in cities around the world.

The COVID-19 crisis posed some challenges for us with restrictions on in person events, but it has also opened the door to our on-line programming that has allowed us to unite kids from around the world. When the crisis started we commenced on-line cooking classes with celebrity chefs. We also held our annual Loukoumi Make A Difference Awards event virtually with over 500 families participating on line as we presented awards to kids and schools who changed the world one good deed at a time. We also created a music video to the song “Make Someone Smile,” written and recorded for the Loukoumi Foundation by Grammy award winning singer Gloria Gaynor.

Today The Loukoumi Foundation works with 100,000 children, has a curriculum in 300 schools, Good Deed Buses planned in 8 cities, a treatment Room at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and an exhibit at the Westchester Children’s Museum. It is our goal to reach one million children, have our curriculum featured in over 1,000 schools, Good Deed Buses in cities around the world and many more treatment rooms and museum exhibits.  When making a difference the sky is the limit.

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Shreya & Esha Venkat

Since the time we were chosen as Points of Light Honorees, we’ve expanded our impact on the community from just food redistribution (NEST Nurtures) to programs based on free tutoring for underprivileged kids (NEST Tutors), care packages, school supplies, and disaster relief (NEST Kares) and birthdays-in-a-box (NEST Buddies).

Our newest initiative is NEST Inspires, a leadership program for our community. Over the years, we have become more efficient as a team, especially in regards to our large-scale service projects. Due to our rapidly growing volunteer team, we’re now able to make more sandwich bags and care packages for the homeless community and low-income families in less time!

We’re so blessed to have such a dynamic community of volunteers and corporate business partners who support us immensely in our efforts to help those in need! We are excited about expanding our Good Deed Buses later this year from 4 to 8 cities and also to working on the second edition of Inspiring Stories That Make A Difference.

Another exciting project is our planned exhibit at the 9-11 Tribute Museum which we hope to open in time for the 20th anniversary of 9-11 in 2021. In this exhibit we will have a card and letter writing station where children visiting the museum will write “Never Forget” letters for families who lost loved ones on 9-11.

The Museum will also feature a large mailbox decorated by children where the letters can be deposited to be given to the families. Similar to our St. Jude project we will also fund the exhibit and the program by collecting $1 donations from children, thereby again showing that no good deed is too small and that together we can all make a difference.

We feel that it’s important to support our community in any way possible, and, especially now with social media, to project positive messages to the world. According to us, EVERYONE has the power to make a difference. We really want the people to look at the world in a different way: a world where they are not the center. Community service provides a great pathway for this, yet many claim that they don’t have enough time to volunteer. However, we believe that you don’t need to have time, you should make the time to help others. Nothing is impossible, you just need to have the passion and heart to give back.

In just 4 years, NEST4US has grown from a small project to an impactful organization with over 750 dedicated volunteers.

We believe that one doesn’t need any special skills to positively impact someone’s life. Driven by a passion for service and motivation from the happy faces we serve, we have inspired kids as young as 4 years old to participate in community service with a passion for giving back rather than for hours or other incentives.

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Cunningham Sisters

Before being recognized as Daily Points of Light Awards, we had given out only 12,000 books and 800 blankets! Now, we have given out over 120,000 books to children in public schools and partnering agencies like Habitat for Humanity, Head Start Programs, and United Way Literacy Events. We have also given out over 15,000 blankets to children!

Each year we read through the hundreds of letters children and teachers send us. At that time, we always decide to keep going! The children write honest letters about their lives, why they like what we do, and usually ask for us to come back the next year.

We have challenges that come up every year. When one of us gets injured and has to have surgery (like last year), then the others have to help more than ever before (when we are used to taking turns). Also, each year means new volunteer groups, or trying new delivery methods, or trying to grow, but not so much that we let children down.

We hope our local United Way will be able to take over Books and a Blanket one day, perhaps in about five years when Maggie goes to college!

Being a Daily Point of Light Award recipient meant that people knew we were serious about giving books and blankets to kids. We feel honored to share our story, and Points of Light helped us share our message

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Edwin “Gene” Neeley

Currently, Gene is in the middle of our second biggest fundraiser. He is solely responsible for selling over 300 tickets himself, raising over $6000 for Greater Peoria Honor Flight. In total, we raise over $25,000 on this fundraiser. That is enough to send  50 Veterans to Washington D.C. on their Honor Flight.

Gene absolutely LOVES telling everyone about his award. It is very special to him and he keeps the award right by all of his other military memorabilia.

Every day Gene wakes up and asks himself “What am I going to do today?” And he gets up and does it. He is constantly on the go fundraising to send our Veteran Heroes to D.C.

 Since Gene received his Daily Point of Light award, he had his other hip replaced (he had one hip replaced in 2017). He bounced back from this in amazing fashion and was up and moving right away. Of course, he was impressing the doctors and nurses with his determination and strength!

Where do you see your organization going in the future? With Gene by our side, we believe the sky is the limit! at 95 years old, he truly motivates us to do our hardest as volunteers. He is a role model for all of us involved with Honor Flight.

 Gene is excited to participate in each flight we have this year by welcoming our Veterans home from Washington D.C. when they arrive home at night.

Receiving this award has motivated Gene even more to continue to go out every day and tell people about Honor Flight, recruit Veterans to go on a flight, and fundraise thousands of dollars for our Heroes.

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Gulshan Harjee

Our humbling CCHC has served for free those under 200% federal poverty with comprehensive care with the assistance with eight academic collaborations, over 400   volunteers and in 2200 square-foot space.

During the five years we have provided free medical, dental services, specialty care, mental health, free screening mammograms, a point-of-care lab, women’s healthcare services, free in-house pharmacy, vision and eye care and soon adding physical therapy. The Lions Club collaborates and provides free eye glasses

Our work is measurable and tangible and clearly shows the impact we make on peoples’ lives.  We have some presence on social media but because we are a volunteer operation and our energies and resources are fully focused on our patient care.

We are on Electronic records and serve 4500 patients for various services listed above.

I was an Asylum seeker exactly 40 years ago. Against all odds I had never had any formal education in the U.S. or taken the TOFEL. I was admitted into second year of medical school, which is unheard of.

Having grown up in a village of 500 in Moshi, Tanzania, a beneficiary of vaccines form UNICEF,I was able to dodge death four times–once from  malaria and complications in Tanzania, then typhoid fever  in Pakistan, then a head on collision in a bus accident in ran and was one of 11 survivors, then I survived breast cancer 11 years ago, complications stemming from systemic lupus and my husband, a victim of gunshot massacre in Atlanta.

I  feel extremely fortunate to have a successful career and raised two beautiful children ( my daughter a miracle of infertility treatments) as a single parent widowed at age 47 years. These unusual circumstances have made me understand the power and the message of the Almighty and the reason I am still here is that my work is not done yet.

The biggest challenge we face is that raising money for the cause and mission we stand for has been extremely difficult despite the value and impact of our work. We are on a capital campaign to move into a HIPPA compliant space and have managed t raise only half the money so far. One strong foundation even politely told us we were not relevant.

The other challenge is getting physician and dental volunteers. We have considered hiring nurse practitioners but that would require funding and most grantors do not fund operational costs

We would like to be an FQHC, or mirror an FQHC to get some Fedora grants but maybe challenged now with the corona pandemic. A HIPPA compliant facility may even give us a chance to merge with other smaller free clinics in our zip code.

Other possible options would be a partnership with a local medical school. We have been in dialogue however this could take some time.

We did not see any impact form the recognition. Though I was nominated and confirmed in October of 2018, I did not see an impact on CCHC that I was expecting especially from some very strong local or other donors. Considering that a million dollars a year grant for us could brig a few paid staff and a couple of healthcare extenders and a medical director and some operational cost we are yet to see that.

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Gitanjali Rao

Daily Point of Light Award Honoree Gitanjali Rao was named the first ever TIME Kid of the Year in 2020. As a passionate scientist, she has used her skills to give back and tackle issues from contaminated drinking water to opioid addiction.

Read more about this brilliant Daily Point of Light honoree!

Khloe Thompson

Since being honored as a Daily Point of Light Honoree, Khloe Kares has continued to be a staple in the community. Being recognized in the community, tv, and many awards. In 2020, we focused on building an online presence by connecting organizations and community leaders together to work together. We worked on home-based community events that will still support the community. Our success has also be focused on being consistent and growing little by little. Every year we make steps to growing bigger and better.

Khloe Thompson:  Being recognized with a  Daily Point of Light has impacted my service work because it’s introduced me to another network of youth that are motivated and inspiring. It’s also an honor to be in this amazing group of people. I’ve been able to work with and collaborate with other Daily Points of Light. Also being a part of the group has opened the doors for some of my peers to get involved as well.  

Read more about Khloe!

Ryan Hickman

This year, Ryan’s Recycling passed the one million recycled items mark and completed around 40 beach clean up events. I had the opportunity to be a featured guest on the Little Big Shots Show where I got to tell people about how to recycle and I also was a finalist in the TIME Magazine’s Kid of the Year award. I was featured in a few books as well.

Ryan Hickman: I see Ryan’s Recycling growing and hopefully continuing to teach people about how to recycle. This year I started a new non profit organization called Project3R. Project3R will educate and support recycling efforts around the world.

Read more about Ryan!

Ian McKenna

So many exciting things have happened since I was recognized with a Daily Point of Light Award. The thing I’m most proud of is that I’ve grown and donated over 20,000 lbs of organic produce to those facing food insecurity and hunger to date! Also, despite the pandemic, I’ve been able to not only continue to serve, but increase my efforts. We’ve been offering virtual sessions to teach gardening and cooking and plan to host additional online events in the coming months. Being named as one of the five honorees for Time’s Kid of the Year was an incredible recognition I received recently.

Ian McKenna: COVID-19 has definitely impacted our ability to interact with the people we are serving. We haven’t been able to host our pop-up markets, but we have been able to provide free produce during drive-thru distributions or by delivering them to people’s homes upon request. It’s made it more challenging to get the food to people, but we are working hard to get food to those who need it.

Another challenge I’ve been anticipating is that I’m planning on going away to college in the fall and have been planning on my younger sister transitioning into a leadership role so that we can continue our work to alleviate hunger

Read more about Ian!

Ann Drorbaugh & David Kopra

David Kopra: We don’t collect many metrics on our work. Since we were lucky to retire as relatively young people, we decided one of the great benefits was that we could let things like meetings and data collection go.

Kopra: That said, we stopped counting our volunteer trips to New Orleans and other places nearby when we got to 35. After our Point of Light award, our trips included work in and near Denham Springs, LA following the flooding events that took place there in 2016, and in East Texas following Hurricane Harvey in 2017. We stopped counting mostly because our subsequent trips were generally for pleasure, to spend time with our extended New Orleans family. On each of these trips, we joined at least one project, often to construct wheelchair ramps for homebound New Orleanians. We’ve been able to connect with these projects because Rebuilding Together New Orleans continues its full-time effort to assist our disabled, our veterans, and our aging New Orleans citizens.

Ann Drorbaugh: At our home here in Olympia, Washington, we have been able to lend our NOLA-learned skills to Rebuilding Together Thurston County and to Catholic Community Services. We perform minor home repairs, and we have worked on a dozen or so wheelchair ramp projects here, sometimes building them by ourselves, other times doing what we love best, working with other volunteers and teaching many of them not only how to do the work, but also the joy volunteers can derive from such projects. We have seen many very inexperienced volunteers become skilled, and that helps grow the effort. One thing that never seems to change is the need. There is a lot of it out there.

Read more about Ann and David!

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