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  • WELCOME

This nonprofit honors Giraffe Heroes—compassionate risk-takers who are largely unknown, people who have the courage to stick their necks out for the common good, in the US and around the world.

When we tell their stories over social and traditional media, others are moved to stick their necks out too, helping solve significant public problems important to them. Our books, blogs, curricula, speeches and trainings help them succeed.

As long as there are Giraffe Heroes , there's hope. Telling the series of heroes may be the oldest strategy in the world for motivating people into brave, compassionate action—and it works.

We offer you here—

You believe in real heroes, right?

So keep us going! Click on the Donate button below.

If you want to know more, see About Us.

The Giraffe Heroes Project is an Accredited Charity of the Better Business Bureau. The Project meets all 20 of the BBB's strict Standards for Charity Accountability.

Guidestar is another solid gold reference.

Giraffe Heroes Recently on Facebook

FROM GLITZ TO A PROUD LEGACY #GiraffeHeroes #StickYourNeckOut In the 1980’s, orthopedist Michael Berkeley was on the high road to wealth and prestige. His Aspen, Colorado practice involved treating skiing injuries of the rich and famous–movie stars and world-class competitive skiers. But today, Berkeley brings "first-world technology into third-world contexts," searching the US for medical supplies and equipment which he then brings to Mexico, where his patients have never seen a ski. They are subsistence farmers and their families, mostly Tarahumara Indians who suffer from high infant mortality, contaminated water, poor diet, and a history of little or no health care. Now their medical treatment comes from Mexico Medical Missions, a non-profit organization that Berkeley founded, manages, and helps fund. Working with volunteers, including three Amish families, he's built a 10,000-square-foot hospital to meet the medical needs of the Tarahumara. Berkeley works much harder than he did in his Aspen days and there is no income for his efforts, but now his satisfaction level is high. He looks forward to new challenges, including training indigenous medics to work in rural outposts and expanding the hospital's services to include dentistry and a food bank. "This hospital is going to outlive me,” says Michael Berkeley MD, “but before I go, I'd like to see it fully equipped and bustling. This is a place where Tarahumaras, or Indians of any tribe, can come with confidence, knowing they'll be cared for no matter what their problem." Keep track of this work at http://www.mexicomedical.org/ Like this Giraffe? LIKE this Page!

GIVING STUDENT STAND-IN GRANDPARENTS #GiraffeHeroes #StickYourNeckOut Mabel Barth met with skepticism when she began talking about a simple idea to reduce the loneliness and alienation of college students, loneliness she had witnessed on her own return to college in her middle years. In Barth's vision, a grandparent stand-in sat at a small table in a busy student lounge, sharing fruit, peanuts or cookies, and listening to a student—not advising, not counseling—just listening. Her own education was delayed--when she was 8, her father died and her dream of a college education was put on hold for many years, but she finally graduated Phi Beta Kappa from West Virginia University when she was in her 50s and had seen students' need for someone to talk to. Since 1979, when Barth set up the first Listening Post at Auraria Higher Education Center in Denver, she has put her life into the creation and expansion of the program. For 12 years the main office of the Listening Post was in Barth’s apartment, where she kept in touch with Post managers. She used her own limited personal funds to pay the bills, including those for all the student snacks the grandparent stand-ins dispersed. Now more than 4,000 students a week talk to 400 trained "grandparents" at Listening Posts on 85 campuses across the US and Canada. Barth still puts in a 60-hour week doing administrative duties, volunteer trainings, and her own shift at a Listening Post. When asked why she works so hard, she said, "You cannot pour the perfume of happiness on others without spilling some on yourself." UPDATE: Mabel Barth died in 2012. She was 103 years old. Like this Giraffe? LIKE this Page.

BUILDING PEACE IN SIERRA LEONE #GiraffeHeroes #StickYourNeckOut “John, your country is on fire; your people are dying. You must do something about it!” John Bangura had been angry for a long time. During the civil war in Sierra Leone, he witnessed the massacre of his parents, seven other relatives, and most of his town. He watched violence destroy the country, leaving its surviving people impoverished, traumatized, and often maimed. Living as a refugee in Denmark while the war raged on at home, Bangura’s mind had been fixed on one thing: vengeance against those who were causing so much suffering. Bangura heard the call to save his country while attending a reconciliation conference in Tanzania. Quickly, he phoned a relative back in Sierra Leone and asked him to pass on a challenge to those he trusted: “Are you willing to work for your country without being paid? To go on a journey of healing, risk your life and not point a figure of blame at anyone?” Ten people responded, and HOPE-SIERRA LEONE (H-SL) was born. Initially, H-SL worked with rebels to help clear the way for UN Peacekeeping efforts. But when the war ended, the Peacekeepers left. Bangura established H-SL offices in four cities in Sierra Leone, and developed programs in agriculture, peace and reconciliation, and clean, fair and violence-free elections. Bangura knows that individual healing is an essential key to his country’s future. H-SL’s agricultural programs, for example, cultivate peace as well as rice, by bringing previous enemies to farm together, so they can cooperate and reconcile while working to feed their families and country. More than 500 ex-combatants have joined such projects. Bangura does it all in regular trips to Sierra Leone from Copenhagen, where he continues to drive a bus to support his wife and children. “Whether talking with ex-combatants or a Government Minister, my ‘weapon’ has always been to share my own experience of how my life was transformed…” says John Bangura. “I then invite them to join me in the vision I have for my country.” Like these stories? LIKE our page! And share with friends who could use some enCouragement.

Giraffe Heroes

BECAUSE PEOPLE ARE HUNGRY #GiraffeHeroes #StickYourNeckOut Helen Ashe and Ellen Turner, twin sisters in Knoxville, Tennessee, retired from long careers as nurses only to begin even more demanding work. Since 1986, they’ve run The Love Kitchen, an operation that provides food, clothing and hope to hundreds of street people and home-bound poor. “There was a void,” Ashe said. “I just couldn’t consider saying, ‘Look, you don’t work anymore.’” Despite advancing years, ill health, evictions, uncertain financing, and the dangers of serving any and all comers, Ashe and Turner go right on, fueled by their determination to be of service. “At first they see hope in our eyes,” says Ashe, “but we want them to see hope through their own eyes.” Update: Ellen Turner died in April of 2015. Helen Ashe continues their work. http://www.thelovekitchen.org/ Like these Giraffes? LIKE this Page.

There may be many, many more Americans in food lines in the months ahead, if federal support for social programs disappears. More caring cooks will have to join these magnificent sisters, all doing what they can.

BECAUSE PEOPLE ARE HUNGRY #GiraffeHeroes #StickYourNeckOut Helen Ashe and Ellen Turner, twin sisters in Knoxville, Tennessee, retired from long careers as nurses only to begin even more demanding work. Since 1986, they’ve run The Love Kitchen, an operation that provides food, clothing and hope to hundreds of street people and home-bound poor. “There was a void,” Ashe said. “I just couldn’t consider saying, ‘Look, you don’t work anymore.’” Despite advancing years, ill health, evictions, uncertain financing, and the dangers of serving any and all comers, Ashe and Turner go right on, fueled by their determination to be of service. “At first they see hope in our eyes,” says Ashe, “but we want them to see hope through their own eyes.” Update: Ellen Turner died in April of 2015. Helen Ashe continues their work. http://www.thelovekitchen.org/ Like these Giraffes? LIKE this Page.

A GIRAFFE FOR OVER HALF A CENTURY #StickYourNeckOut #GiraffeHeroes In 1958, A. T. “Ari” Ariyaratne was a young professor of biology in Sri Lanka. He could have kept teaching and lived a comfortable life as a man of science, ensconced in the highest social circles of the country. However, he was also a deeply spiritual man who clearly saw the needs of Sri Lanka’s villagers and peasants. He believed that, given the opportunity, they could define and achieve their own goals for their communities. He organized a group of high school students to go to a rural community of the lowest caste for a two-week work camp. He wanted the students to “understand and experience the true state of affairs that prevailed in the rural and poor areas, and develop a love for their people, utilizing the education they received to find ways of building a more just and happy life for them.” Other schools soon organized work camps, and within a year Dr. Ariyaratne founded the Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement. Based on Ghandian principles of truth, non-violence, and self-sacrifice, the movement connects self-awakening with community empowerment through a sharing of time, thought and energy. Since then, Dr. Ariyaratne and the Sarvodaya Movement have built a vital and widespread organization despite years of harassment, intimidation, and death threats. His charisma, conviction, and negotiating skill have led people to compare him to Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi, and Jimmy Carter. But Ariyaratne is definitely his own man, driven by his belief in the power of building community self-reliance. Sarvodaya’s three million members have translated that belief into action by engaging residents of almost 15,000 villages in deciding together what's important to their common welfare. They work side by side, transcending their differences to achieve their goal. Children and elders, men and women, Buddhists and Muslims, Hindus and Christians, rich and poor, shovel and carry dirt, sing together, and learn about organizing their efforts to benefit the community. His motto? “We build the road and the road builds us.” Keep up with his work at http://www.sarvodaya.org/. Like this story? LIKE this page. And Share it with everyone who could use some enCouragement.

Nobis Est - It's Up To Us

Meet people who stick their necks out for the common good, all of them commended by the Giraffe Heroes Project, the nonprofit that's "EnCouraging today's heroes - training tomorrow's." Check out http://www.giraffe.org for more stories, and for a way to honor your own hero.

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