2022 Points of Light Inspiration Honor Roll
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.