Father Gregory Boyle
Father Gregory Boyle helps connect men and women who are leaving gang life and reentering society after incarceration with vital resources, including therapy, tattoo removal, case management, twelve-step groups and a wide variety of curriculum at Homeboy Industries, as well as substance abuse treatment programs and other resources through referrals to outside agencies.
Homeboy Industries traces its roots to “Jobs for a Future,” the program founded by Father Greg in response to the gang violence he witnessed as a pastor at Dolores Mission Parish in Boyle Heights. In contrast to the prevailing voices of the time, he believed that the local “homies” needed someone to believe in them and hope for a future. The protocol of unconditional love and individualized care set the tone for the next 25 years of Homeboy Industries. Despite a busy travel schedule and 200 speaking engagements a year, Fr. Greg still keeps his office doors wide open to the dozens of men and women who gather in the lobby every day in search of guidance. Over 2000 clients come through the doors of Homeboy every month seeking assistance. Fr. Greg also speaks at 24 youth camps, jails, and prisons, inviting all the Homeboy when they leave incarceration. Homeboy recently hosted an International Network Gathering of over 75 organizations from around the world, where the organization shared best practices that these agencies have taken back to their own contexts.
To learn more, please visit: http://www.homeboyindustries.org
Richard Sandford, Richard Sanford’s nonprofit, Operation Warm, is an organization that changes lives one coat at a time. Operation Warm’s mission is to give every child the gift of warmth by distributing brand new winter coats. The benefit of one brand new winter coat to a child cannot be understated. The children who receive his coats are selected because of their enrollment in the Free and Reduced Meal Act through their local school. This act assures that children who are living in a level of poverty will receive one or two free, or reduced in price, meals a day. A new coat brings the much needed protection against the cold. This may allow the child to wait at the bus stop to attend school, not only helping the child gain an education and break the cycle of poverty, but also assuring one or two nutritious meals a day. His coats also provide the child with an improved feeling of self-worth and confidence since the coat is brand new and well-fitting. Since his coats benefits the children in a multitude of ways, it positively affects every individual.
Dr. Kent Brantly
Dr. Kent Brantly, a U.S. medical missionary who contracted Ebola in July while working as a doctor in Liberia and survived the deadly disease after treatment at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, appeared at a joint Senate hearing examining the Ebola outbreak. He worked hard to treat and save Ebola victims, saved lives and helped make the world aware of a serious crisis.
“I think every day about going back, but I feel like I’ve been given a platform through my experiences to be a voice here in this country for people in West Africa. If I were in West Africa right now, I’d be treating 25 or 50 patients a day. Hopefully through my activities here I can have an impact that will benefit thousands of people. Eventually when all this is over, we’ll go back to the work we were doing before.”
To learn more, please visit: World Heath Organization – Eboli Factsheet
Sheri Schrier’s organization, Happy Hats for Kids in Hospitals, is enrolled in 55 hospitals in the United States. Each child in the hospital receives a gift of a Hero Hat and a coordinating Hero Club 60 page bilingual activity book with crayons. The book, which was authored by Sheri and her late husband, addresses issues that the children are feeling such as “Why am I here?” and “Will it hurt?” These books help lessen their fears. Happy Hats for Kids also has a Happy Hat Holiday program that are distributed to the children, their siblings, and their parents for the holidays such as Valentines Day, Easter, Pass Over, Fourth of July, Halloween, Christmas and Hanukkah. These programs are free of charge to the children and the enrolled hospitals.
Sheri engages the use of prison labor to produce the hats. The prisoners love being included in this program and have been sewing the hats for years. In addition, Sheri helps developmentally disabled teens by giving them an opportunity to volunteer in the warehouse daily. They press the felt hats and place them into packages with the books and crayons. These tasks help them raise their self esteem and give them a feeling of accomplishment.
Yvonne Dennis’ organization, The Children’s Cultural Center of Native America, fosters intercultural understanding between Native peoples and non-native by providing accurate historical, cultural and contemporary programing to children, parents and teachers. Through workshops, classes, exhibits and performances presented by Indigenous people, participants gain a fair and balanced understanding of the First Nations Peoples of the Americas.Yvonne has started a group for Native women to address issues of self esteem and create community and sharing among women. The group, Women’s Power Time, has everyone writing and sharing their lives. The group has expanded its numbers to non-native women so they can develop intercultural relationships and networks.
Nicholas Lowinger donates new shoes to homeless children. He helps others and makes sure they have new shoes to wear which have increased the quality of their lives. His “Gotta Have Sole Foundation” provides new footwear to homeless children, making sure their families have at least one less thing to worry about.
To learn more, please visit: http://www.gottahavesole.org/ghs/