allan.jpg
andrade.jpg
roske_martinez.jpg
chailert-2.jpg
grossman.jpg
mubvumbi.jpg
petersen.jpg
thompson.jpg
alemu.jpg
katsuyama.jpg
hopko.jpg
dechristopher.jpg
kiriakou.jpg
ballis.jpg
vrain.jpg
addison.jpg
bajek.jpg
willingham.jpg
  • WELCOME

This nonprofit honors compassionate risk-takers, people 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.

We offer you here a free database of those real heroes ~ A way to nominate a hero you've spotted ~ Materials for classrooms from kindergarten through high school ~ Speakers for events ~ Coaching tips to help you move into action yourself on problems that concern you ~ News of Giraffe Heroes around the world ~ Stories of courageous compassion that little kids can listen to ~ Annnd some cool "giraffenalia"—T shirts, mugs, and such.

DN2Button-RedSmall.png

If you need to know more, check out Giraffe info.

Recent Facebook Highlights

SAVING SEA TURTLES~SAVING THE EARTH #StickYourNeckOut #GiraffeHeroes Christian Miller became a dedicated environmentalist when he was all of seven years old. That’s when he began the beach patrols that have saved thousands of the endangered sea turtles that hatch on the Florida barrier island where Christian lives. Newly transplanted from a Maryland farm with lots of animals, seven-year-old Christian walked the shore outside his home looking for animals to play with. All he found were the bodies of baby turtles that had not survived the treacherous trek from the nest to the water. Christian decided then and there that he would help save sea turtles, and went through a year’s training to be permitted to work with the endangered loggerhead and leatherback species. Christian patrols a three-mile stretch of beach twice a day from the first of April to the end of October. Early in the season he watches for the tracks the big mother turtles make when they come ashore to lay their eggs. When he locates a nest, he marks it with an “M” for Miller and a number he assigns to the nest. He protects each nest from dogs, raccoons and from human predators, who sell the eggs and the turtles’ shells. At the peak of the hatching season, in high summer, Christian is out in the heat of the beach for hours to check on the turtles. He scans the sand, looking for the tracks made by the babies as they head for the surf. He checks each newly hatched nest, tallying the hatched and unhatched eggs, the dead turtles and the live ones struggling to dig their way out of the sand. He extricates the trapped turtles and releases the healthy ones to the sea; the others he nurses along until they too are strong enough to hit the surf. He records all the data in a notebook, and enters it into his computer at home for his end-of-season report to the Florida Department of Natural Resources. In the years that Christian has been the turtle guardian on his stretch of shore, he’s guarded hundreds of thousands of eggs. The immediate payback for his stewardship is the thrill he gets from rescuing any trapped babies. He’s patient about the long-term results--sea turtles take 15 years to reach maturity. The first turtles Christian rescued won’t make it back to the beach to nest until he’s a grown man. “But every day,” he says, “when I look at the ocean, I know there are over 12,000 sea turtles out there that would have died if I hadn’t helped them.” Christian addressed young environmental activists from 76 countries at the UN Environmental Programme’s Global Youth Forum. He told more than 2,000 youth delegates, “We must be ever so careful about how we deal with nature and her living things if we want this earth to continued to function. Like the human body, if you take away enough of its parts, it can die.” The part of nature that Christian Miller takes care of is alive and well. When he started his patrols, there were 175 nests on his beach; seven years into Christian’s care, there were 700. Watching it all, his father said, “It’s almost as if the giant turtles know he’s there to protect their babies, because every year more and more sea turtles come to Christian’s beach.” Update: Christian Miller is now an associate professor of philosophy at Wake Forest University and Director of the University's "Character Project." Why are we not surprised?

Peggy Schlagetter, an accomplished woman from a comfortable middle-class background, used to work as an executive secretary. Now she works with men many people would be afraid to even speak to, all of them inmates and ex-inmates of Ohio’s prisons. A survivor of a violent assault herself, Schlagetter has more reason than most to fear such men. But she says that her own assailant might be in prison somewhere, and “If he’s treated like dirt, he’ll end up committing another crime.” Schlagetter wants to break the cycle. She was working as a volunteer in a prison when she realized that inmates feared getting out: They worried about finding jobs, finding places to live, and finding their way without constant rules and supervision. No one in the prison was helping them make the transition to useful, law-abiding lives on the “outside.” Schlagetter adapted a mentoring program she’d been using as a high school counselor and took it into maximum-security prisons. Prison officials gave her their incorrigibles, sure that she’d never crack “that joint mind set.” But crack it she did. Graduates of her program, Careers in Progress (CIP), include a former thief who went on to earn his MBA, and a murderer who’s been law-abiding and productive for years after prison officials swore he’d be back in a week. Schlagetter can reel off success story after success story. CIP deals with responsibility, values, job readiness, communication skills, and stress management. After inmates are released, “Miss Peggy” walks them through life on the outside. She has four telephones, a hotline, and a toll-free number because she and her volunteers may be all that stands between an ex-con and the next crime. “We’ve talked five bank robbers out of it so far,” she says.

PUTTING A RED NOSE ON SERVICE #StickYourNeckOut #GiraffeHeroes Albert Einstein. Lenny Bruce. Marlene Dietrich. Ram Dass. Tiny Tim. Ken Kesey. At one time or another, they were all friends of Hugh Romney, better known as Wavy Gravy, activist clown extraordinaire. His roommate was Bob Dylan. Wavy and his actress wife, Jahanara, have used their connections with the famous not to make their own way in the world but to serve the poor in every way possible. Wavy hosted the Woodstock festival in 1969, the high-water mark of that hippie/anti-Vietnam/rock & roll/protest-the- Establishment period. He had actually become a clown when he realized that he was less likely to be arrested at peace demonstrations if he was in a clown suit. Plus, clowning came naturally: He's always enjoyed telling jokes, performing magic tricks, and entertaining children. But Wavy and Jahanara (who was introduced to him by Bob Dylan) are much, much more than entertainers. They've taken activism to heart, devoting their time and money to others. Way back in 1965, they founded The Hog Farm, a collective that became an entertainment organization featuring artists such as the Grateful Dead, Cream, and Jimi Hendrix. The collective actually traveled to Nepal, where they distributed medical supplies to Pakistani flood victims. And then they worked with the World Health Organization to form Seva, a program that creates sustainable health projects all around the world and focuses on restoring people's sight in Nepal, India, Tibet, Guatemala, and on U.S. Indian reservations. ("Seva" is a Sanskrit word meaning "service.") In 1973, Wavy and Jahanara founded Camp Winnarainbow, in Laytonville, California, near the Hog Farm. The camp hosts poor or homeless children for two-week stays, four sessions a summer. The campers learn meditation, circus arts, and a variety of other skills. Jahanara is the administrative director of the camp. She says, "At Camp Winnarainbow, rituals are creative and healing, not dogmatic. We ceremonialize cooperating humanity." Many of the children who have attended the camp return as adults to teach and counsel others. The list of ways that Wavy and Jahanara serve others seems limitless. There's Home Aid (for the homeless), Cowboys for Indians (for Native Americans), Blues against Blindness (for Seva), numerous visits to children's hospital wards, and many, many more projects. Seva's Suzanne Gilbert says, "Wavy Gravy has a compelling need to be of service. . . . He goes around sensing what is needed. He makes a commitment and then figures out what needs to be done." And how does Wavy do that "sensing"? "The phone rings," he says. "Someone tells me what the situation is, what they're doing about it, and what they want from me, and I look down at my arm to see if the hairs have leaped to attention. That's one of my little clues that I'm traveling the right path at the right time." Wavy was once asked why he does project after project. His reply probably goes for Jahanara as well: "It gets me high. Service is a drug I can't find in the pharmaceutical closet." Update: Wavy and Jahanara continue to epitomize the idealism of the 60's, constantly in service to others. Ben & Jerry's created a flavor called "Wavy Gravy," donating profits from sales of the ice cream, which was wildly popular, to Camp Winnarainbow. Alas, the flavor was discontinued after the company was sold.

BUSTING STEREOTYPES #StickYourNeckOut #GiraffeHeroes “Lights! Cameras! Activism!” could be the motto of Giraffe Bruce Saunders, of Victoria, B.C. A mental health patient, Saunders’ love of movies and his battle against the stigma of his illness led him to start a ground-breaking program that challenges stereotypes and raises public understanding about mental illness. A gardener by trade, Saunders has had bouts of manic depression (bipolar disorder) for many years. A second suicide attempt landed him in a hospital psychiatric unit, where he discovered that the facility had an under-utilized 100-seat theater. “The idea of showing films there for patients and ex-patients captured my imagination,” he says. Saunders started “Movie Monday,” as “a guerilla psycho-social rehab project.” It’s a free weekly movie that’s not only for current and former mental health patients, but also for the public-at-large, defusing anxieties and misconceptions people may have about mental illness. Saunders intentionally selects an eclectic mix of features, showing general-interest films as well as movies dealing specifically with mental health. Facilitated discussions often accompany the films. Guest speakers and audience talk about how movies like Sybil and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest portray mental illness. Movie Monday also showcases art by mental health patients—sculptures, graphic arts, music, photographs, and paintings. “A film night is a good draw,” says Saunders, “but we can show what else people who sometimes struggle with mental illness can do. We can help them define themselves as something besides sufferers.” Saunders took huge risks to start Movie Monday back in 1993. A psychiatrist advised him not to “reveal” his mental illness. “What if you want to get a real job?” he warned. The challenge of a regular schedule can be enormous for a person still experiencing some of the characteristics of manic depression; mood swings sometimes make even the simplest tasks monumental. “We did expect him to fail,” said one observer. But Saunders not only persevered in his mission, he expanded it. Saunders used his own money to launch the program and soon raised thousands of dollars to introduce the “Reel Madness Film Festival,” five days of film and discussions on mental illness and recovery. Saunders aims for discussions that “break down myths about conventional treatment…and show that people need more than just medication.” Asked whether he’d seen the stigma of mental illness decrease by getting people together around movies, he says, “That’s what Movie Monday’s about. I see it personally every time… One of the best results of this experiment has been to shed all the baggage that comes with the usual secrecy about mental illness.” Every Monday for almost nine years, Saunders has passed his own “screen test.” He says, “People think that if you have a mental illness you’re unreliable.” Steady and consistent, he’s come through for hundreds of events. Saunders says, “I think just because I’m showing up I’m changing people’s attitudes.” UPDATE: Bruce Saunder’s Movie Monday is still going strong in 2014, still putting up great films and encouraging discussion on all kinds of topics, but mostly about mental health. Saunders has created a 10-part course called Insights, to encourage the use of appropriate films in mental health systems. And he's running a page here on Facebook: My Movie Hero.

A GIRAFFE ON THE WAY TO SAINTHOOD #StickYourNeckOut #GiraffeHeroes Irma Dulce Lopes Pontes' father was a prosperous businessman in Salvador, Brazil, and she was educated in a convent. During those formative years, she made two headstrong decisions, both of which ran counter to her father's wishes at the time: One was to become a nun, and the other was to help the poor. Thus began the odyssey of one of the most giving people the modern world has ever seen: Sister Dulce. It started small. Sister Dulce remembers a child of 12 or 13 approaching her in Salvador's rats island district and pleading, "Don't let me die in the street". The nun brought the child to a small, abandoned house nearby and got a passer-by to break a window. Gaining access, she sheltered the child and went around asking local residents for food and clothes. More children came, more abandoned houses were broken into, and Sister Dulce soon found herself taking care of more than 70 people. She tried housing them in an old fish market, but couldn't get permission from the City. Then she consulted her Mother Superior and asked to use the convent's chicken yard as an improvised hostel. The Mother Superior acceded to her request, and Sister Dulce's work began in earnest. In time, the chicken yard became a building, the building became a hostel, the hostel became a hospital and then an orphanage. Sister Dulce talked to everyone she could in order to secure funds and other support for the poor people who were her patients. At one point, she stopped a presidential motorcade by blocking the street--holding hands with a line of children--until the president agreed to meet with her; he did and became a strong supporter. She secured support from not only her own country but also from countries around the world, particularly the United States. She did this despite severe handicaps, both physical (a bout of tuberculosis left her with only one lung) and emotional (she was painfully shy). Sister Dulce manages five projects. One is a hospital, which never turns anyone away, no matter how crowded, and never charges a fee. It has over 1,000 beds and receives more than 3,000 patients a day. Second is an orphanage, where children are fed, taught to read and write, and learn skills. Third is a center for homeless itinerants. Fourth is two medical centers with weekly clinics, food lines, and milk stations; it serves about 2,500 children a week. And fifth is CESA, a school for the poor in one of the most impoverished cities in the state. It provides free educational, physical, and professional development programs for about 800 young people. Many of these projects are assimilated under the charity called The Charitable Works Foundation of Sister Dulce. Sister Dulce has spent her life in service: She has done everything she could to improve the lives of the people around her. Along the way, she established what is probably the most familiar and the most respected charitable organization on the continent. Despite his initial misgivings, her father--one has to believe--would be proud. Update: Commended as a Giraffe in 1989, Sister Dulce's respiratory problems worsened in 1990, and she was hospitalized. She died two years later, at the age of 77. In 2011, she was beatified.

CHOOSING A MEANINGFUL LIFE #GiraffeHeroes #StickYourNeckOut Millard and Linda Fuller walked away from their wealthy lifestyle to devote themselves to building affordable housing for and with the poor. The founders of Habitat for Humanity, the Fullers gave away their fortune and moved to a Christian community outside of Americus, Georgia. They were inspired to start a housing ministry when they saw the appalling living conditions of the poor in Americus and Sumter County. Habitat operated by “kingdom economics”—they made no profit and offer no-interest loans. $28,000 was the average price of a Habitat house in the States; $2,000 overseas. To qualify, potential buyers needed an income level too low to afford adequate housing; had to be known locally as reliable, debt-paying people; had to have the funds for a small down payment and low monthly payments; and had to contribute 250-1,000 hours sweat equity to the building of their house or a neighbor’s house. Each buyer’s money went into a revolving “Fund for Humanity” and was used to build more houses. Almost all labor was donated by Habitat volunteers, the most notable being former President Jimmy Carter. Habitat grew big fast, building thousands of houses in the US and abroad. Linda started a new department of Habitat called Women Build, which enlisted women to use their skills to build affordable houses. A lawyer and author as well as a former millionaire, Fuller made $14,900 a year as Habitat’s Executive Director. Linda voluntarily chooses to make half of that as one of his assistants. Winner of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Humanitarian Award and the highest award given by the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials, plus numerous other awards and honorary degrees, Millard Fuller has written three books about Habitat for Humanity. Update: The Fullers went on to start the Fuller Center for Housing, after a split with the governing board of Habitat. Millard died in 2009.

3 American friends tackle and hogtie gunman aboard European train

www.washingtonpost.com

A gunman opened fire on a train from Amsterdam to Paris on Friday, wounding two people before two Americans subdued him, officials said. One of the Americans was hospitalized.

Joseph Campbell told the founder of Giraffe Heroes that the instantaneous, unthinking instinct to save strangers from harm is at the core of our being. These guys just showed the world that core being--and saved a lot of lives.

"I DO THIS FOR THE RIVER" #StickYourNeckOut #GiraffeHeroes A Giraffe profile from 1988... Ray Proffitt is known to some people as “the river vigilante,” a man worth his weight in gold. To others, he’s a royal pain in the profit margin. A former test pilot and stockbroker, Proffitt has appointed himself protector of the Delaware River and its tributaries. His flamboyant modus operandi begins with regular cruises along the waterways in a small plane or in an amphibious vehicle that looks as if he's driven his car into the river. His eyes are alert for any sign of trouble—the appearance of asphalt and concrete dumps in a marshland, untreated sewage outfall from a town, a new drain pipe pouring out industrial waste. He traces the pollution to the source and confronts the offender with his log notes and photographs. If they don’t cease and desist and clean up the mess they’ve made, Proffitt takes them to court under the Clean Water Act. Proffitt has sued land developers, corporations, and towns. He’s taken the EPA administrator and the U.S. Attorney General to court, charging them with failure to enforce environmental regulations. No attorney was willing to represent him against the nation’s chief attorney, so Proffitt filed suit himself. Usually his suits cause the accused to scramble into compliance with the law and avoid court: when a case does go to trial, offenders are often hit with heavy fines as well as orders to clean up their act and, sometimes, to make a forced donation to local conservation efforts. The settlements sometimes reimburse Proffitt for the money he’s advanced to lawyers, but all other costs still come out of his pocket. “I don’t do this for money,” he says. “I do this for the river.” Update: Proffitt went right on guarding the river until his death, a man with a cause he'd lived for every vigilant day.

THREE BRAVE TEACHERS #StickYourNeckOut #GiraffeHeroes When we send our children off to school, we’d like to believe they’ll be well taken care of there. Three conscientious teachers in Oregon take that responsibility so seriously, they risked their careers to protect the children. It started on a June afternoon when a light ballast ignited in Sue Lewallen’s classroom, spewing a black tarry substance onto desks and spreading an acrid stink throughout a wing of the school. Lewallen had seen it happen before at the school, but this time she found herself getting nauseous, losing focus, and suffering headaches. Though told that it was “just tar,” she scooped up a sample and faced down her principal, telling him she was getting it tested. When the mess wasn’t cleaned up for days, she sent her sample to a lab, which reported not “tar” but PCBs, at a level far beyond safety levels. Teachers Tina Dierkes and Marcia Clark joined Lewallen in her determination to get the dangerous light fixtures out of the building, and the school cleaned of PCBs. Dierkes had lost her hearing in one ear and suffered vertigo attacks after a chemical spill at another school in the same district. She called the EPA, blowing the whistle on the school district’s administration. Clark invited a reporter to an in-school hearing on the PCB issue so that people outside the school would get the word that there was a serious problem. When Dierkes challenged the school’s plan to hold summer school in the contaminated building, the school superintendent repeatedly ordered her to sit down. She kept talking. When the EPA responded to her call with an on-site inspection, they found high levels of PCBs in the carpets and on other surfaces throughout the school. Making a surprise visit at a nearby school, the EPA inspectors found that the offending lights had already been removed—but were being stacked on the playground. College students hired to do the removal had been given no protective clothing or breathing masks. Clark and Dierkes were the spokespersons for the determined trio. Dierkes had a long history of glowing performance evaluations but was written up for “unprofessional communication.” Her union refused to help her fight the clear attempt to damage her career. When she couldn’t find a local attorney to represent her, Dierkes was taken on by the Government Accountability Project, which filed a lawsuit against the district, charging retaliation. The EPA levied a $328,000 fine on the district for mishandling a dangerous chemical. But the problems didn’t stop. The ceiling in Dierkes’ classroom was asbestos and crumbling; pesticides were sprayed in classrooms. Kids and teachers were getting sick; the trio went back into action. Labeled “extremists” they were attacked by fellow teachers at meetings and in email forums, and were shunned in person. Both Clark and Dierkes left the school, and Dierkes has retired on disability—she’s losing what was left of her hearing and the vertigo hasn’t stopped. Because of the three teachers’ efforts, the district’s schools have been cleaned of asbestos and PCBs, and teachers in other districts have followed the lead of Sue Lewallen, Marcia Clark, and Tina Dierkes in speaking up for the safety of their students. So here’s to the people within institutions who risk it all to do the right thing, who know that salaries, security, pensions, promotions or laudatory performance reviews are nothing when they come at the price of injury to their fellow beings. As long as there are people who rally us all with their courage and humanity, no matter what it costs them, there’s hope. A tip of the hat, a toast, and a determination to be as brave and ethical ourselves—let’s hear it for Giraffes. We also honor the Government Accountability Project, where whistle-blowers find legal defenders.

WHEN SOMETHING'S JUST NOT RIGHT #StickYourNeckOut #GiraffeHeroes You're 11 years old and in the fifth grade. You've been assigned a book report, and you and your classmate go to your town's public library to gather material for the report. Hmmm, there's nothing in the children's section, so you go to the biography section where the resources are more promising. But wait: Evidently, children under 12 are not allowed in that part of this library, and you're immediately shooed back to the children's section. What? Janine Givens and Lee Palmer didn't like the fact that they were barred from most of their public library in Andover, Massachusetts, and they determined to do something about it. They wrote and circulated a petition among students and teachers from their school; the petition asked the library to change its policy. Janine and Lee got more than 150 signatures and presented it to the library. Nothing doing. For the next four months, they went to local television, newspaper, and radio reporters, nervously giving interviews everywhere they could. Finally, they gained the support of the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, and that made the difference. Andover's library trustees voted to follow American Library Association and Massachusetts Library Association guidelines requiring equal access regardless of age. Think about that: eleven-year-old girls taking on the system. Never mind the chances of success, never mind the skepticism of adults, never mind the authorities who told them to just go about their child-like business; they persevered because they believed that what they were doing was right. Update: After high school, Janine Givens-Belsley spent a year in France and then moved to Illinois. She teaches history and English in Chicago. Lee Erica Palmer said that the library experience shaped her life; she has gone on to become a student-activist in middle school and college, and later to fight for the rights of unions, immigrants, workers, and tenants. Change can happen, says Palmer, but it takes time, persistence, and every resource you can access. We live in a free society, but you have to be constantly vigilant in order to maintain it. Like these profiles of real heroes? LIKE this page and Share the profiles. Facebook will then be more likely to show you new stories.

SAVING BOYS FROM GANG LIFE #StickYourNeckOut #GiraffeHeroes When their son Robin was a teenager, Falaka and David Fattah were shocked to discover that he had joined a Philadelphia street gang. With so many gang members dying or going to jail, Falaka realized that she had to fight for her son’s life. She recalls, “My husband told me I would have to deal with his group because they meant more to our son than his family. So I extended an invitation to all the members of the gang to move in...and 15 accepted." At first the Fattahs thought of their home as a sanctuary for gang members, a home away from home. Gradually it became the primary home for these boys, a home where a mother and father cared about them and held them to high standards. As the boys grew up and moved on, the grapevine drew other kids to the house. Many of them were involved with the courts, and their probation officers followed the kids to the Fattahs. Soon the family courts were routinely referring chronic violent offenders to the place the Fattahs called “House Umoja,” which is Swahili for “unity of family.” In the first four years, over 200 young men lived at Umoja, building the strong family ties that the Fattahs know are the most effective antidote to crime. “We lend our family to kids who don’t have one,” they once said. In addition to their own six children, they usually had 12 youths living with them on either a long- or short-term basis. Umoja has evolved over the years as the Fattahs tried to meet all the needs of their enormous family. They didn’t have much money, and the kids wanted to help out but were unable to get jobs. David and Falaka started a job clinic to teach them how to handle a job interview and keep the jobs they won. It was a short step from there to providing more social services, and then their own school. The Fattahs were also prime instigators of a ceasefire campaign that greatly lowered the casualties of violent gang actions in Philadelphia. As Umoja grew, the Fattahs fundraised to buy other abandoned or run-down buildings on their block. The "House Umoja Boys’ Town" has refurbished and moved into 23 buildings in the 1400 block of Frazier Street. “Everything we’ve done,” Falaka says, “has been dictated by the needs of the kids." Life at Umoja is firmly structured. The boys maintain the buildings. After school they play sports and socialize with their foster grandparents, elders from the neighborhood who volunteer to help the boys learn respect, good manners, and good values. Two evenings a week are reserved for computer lab and one for career night. Other nights are for going to sports and cultural events or movies. Both David, who was studying to be a lawyer, and Falaka, who was a writer, put their careers on slow to run Umoja. Falaka still seems a bit amazed at the program’s growth. “We were just trying to save lives,” she explains, “not start a program.” Their success in this accidental rescue effort was evident in the hundreds of their “sons” who recently returned to Umoja for a family reunion, bringing their own sons with them. For the latest on their work, go to http://www.houseofumoja.org/home.html. Like these stories? Then LIKE this Page. And Share the stories with Friends. If you "engage," that way, Facebook's bots are more likely show you the next stories. We don't know why they operate that way, but they do.

Recent Giraffe Heroes

450.jpg

This is Sister Megan Rice, a nun for most of her 80+ years and a peace activist since the 1980s. She had been arrested more than three dozen times and had done time twice when she and two other peace activists performed what was called the most serious security breach in the history of US...

more
andy_hall.jpg

Andy Hall, a Brit, works for Finnwatch, a world-wide nonprofit that spots human abuses around the world and works to stop them. When Hall called out Thailand's National Fruit Company for the way it treats its workers, he asked to work...

more
433.png

This is Catherine Hamlin MD, who left her home in Australia in 1959 to provide gynecological care to poor women in Ethiopia. At 90, she's still doing that, focusing on one of the most distressing medical/social issues imaginable: obstetric fistulas.

This is an injury that women can...

more
5.jpg

This is Hanna Hopko. She braved snipers' bullets in Kiev during a citizens' uprising that brought down a corrupt government there. Now she's leading a rapidly growing citizens' movement that's doing more than rising up and demanding...

more
petersen_samantha.jpg

Imagine you're 11 years old and your body is twisting from scoliosis, causing you constant physical pain and making you look very different from other kids. You're scheduled for surgery to straighten your spine and your mom takes a "before" picture so you'll have a history of how you once...

more
bajek_bob.jpg

Bob Bajek, a reporter on a small-town newspaper in Illinois, came up with a Big Story: the town's recreational lake, where residents fished, swam, and boated, was highly toxic--a now defunct military base had dumped Agent Orange in the water....

more
addison_wendy.jpg

There were no protections for whistle-blowers in South Africa when businesswoman Wendy Addison reported her own corporate bosses for breaking the law. She was fired, got death threats, and was blacklisted, even in England, where she took her...

more
xiuhtezcatl.jpg

This is veteran environmental activist, Xiuhtezcatl Roske-Martinez. He's 12. And he's been working to save his beloved Colorado for half of his life. It started when he saw that the forest near his home was changing. Trees were dying, plants...

more
adam_allan.jpg

Allan Adam is Chief of the Athabasca Chipewyan nation, whose lands lie within Alberta, Canada. These First Nation people have formal treaty rights that protect their lands from being taken or used by outsiders, but that treaty has been...

more
417.jpg

Sangduen Chailert, known as "Lek," puts in 18-hour days caring for sick and injured elephants in a protected reserve she co-founded, the Elephant Nature Park in northern Thailand.

The dwindling elephant population is a world-wide...

more