Ann Medlock, Executive Director
There are rough waters ahead. You know this. We know it here at Giraffe Heroes HQ. And we know that no matter how troubled the times, there is something in the human spirit that calls us to press for progress, in ways both large and small. The challenge now is to increase the reach and volume of our call to courageous, compassionate service, and to give those who hear it the tools they need for making positive change.
As we all move toward 2017, we're sending you this look back at what we've done in this year that's ending, and what we hope to do in the challenging year ahead.
Thanks to 21st century technology, our decades of seeding the media with stories of people sticking their necks out for the common good have segued into direct access to hearts and minds all over the world. Social media means no more gatekeepers, no more sponsor-controlled decisions on what stories reach the public.
In the global forum that is Facebook, over 16,000 people "subscribed" to our daily feed about real heroes. They're sharing Giraffe stories and messages with friends, and they are sharing with still others, helping all of them become the stories they tell.
Eli Wiesel's words are a perfect description of why the Giraffe Heroes Project tells the stories of people sticking their necks out to make the world a better place. You can stand with us knowing you're backing the power of stories to cause change.
We're using Twitter, Pinterest, and Google AdWords to tell teachers, parents, and kids about our free online materials; more and more of them are coming to the site and downloading our stories, our kindergarten-through-high school lessons in courageous compassion, and our coaching tips for effective action. We even have free lessons in Spanish and German. You can see it all on our Resources page. In 2017 we hope to greatly increase those downloads by creating online trainings for teachers, and videos of our Coaching tips to help attract people to all the great free materials we've created.
Our online nomination form is working so well, we commended 27 new Giraffes, adding them to the hundreds in the online storybank of real heroes we've honored over the decades. In 2017, we want to send this badge to both new and longstanding Giraffes, linking their websites to their Giraffe profiles and making them members of a Giraffes-Only site where they can share ideas and resources. Want to nominate a Giraffe ? Here's the nomination form.
Here they all are, new exemplars of meaningful lives, for all the world to see. New Giraffes send responses like, "This is vindication and validation for more than 30 years of work," and "This will keep me going for years!" And that keeps us going—knowing we've enCouraged real heroes. In 2017 we want to up the ante, pressing ever more people to look at the world through Giraffely eyes, looking for the real heroes around them, being heroic themselves.
And this report from Giraffe Heroes International :
GHI helps poor, often embattled countries in the developing world solve tough public problems such tribal violence, corruption, poverty, poor leadership, and crimes against women. GHI works with local leadership to find a country’s heroes and then tell their inspiring stories to the nation, using whatever mix of traditional and social media works. Giraffe Heroes Zimbabwe, for example, is on the cutting edge of helping push for stable, just and honest government as the old dictator’s rule comes to an end. The 54 Giraffe Heroes honored there to date are beacons of courage (one has been “disappeared” by government thugs). Giraffe Heroes Sierra Leone offers hope to a country shattered by civil war and Ebola. GHI’s director, John Graham, was most recently in Ghana, where he gave speeches and interviews linking the fight against Islamic terrorism to the need for a new narrative of courageous and engaged citizenry. GHI work can be dangerous; Graham arrived in Ghana the week the Pentagon, reacting to terrorist threats, had pulled its personnel out of the country.
In 2017 GHI, with funding, wants to expand the eight affiliates now operating, and launch a new one, in Ukraine.
We all need a strong narrative about who we humans are and what we can do. The people we honor are Our Story, a story we all need to hear, to tell, to become.
"As long as there are Giraffes, there's hope."
Be part of this. Help us amplify the call to courageous, compassionate involvement in public life. We're right here, and we can't do this without you. Please click!