I started watching a lot of CNN before the election. It's kinda depressing, but I'm trying to stay informed. Over the past week though, there have been little glimpses of happiness amid the disasters, scandals and economic bad news - stories about the CNN Heroes: Ordinary People Extraordinary Impact.
According the CNN Heroes site, they received nearly 4,000 submissions from 75 countries that were narrowed down to 10 candidates by a Blue Ribbon Panel. The Panel included luminaries like Queen Rania Al Abdullah, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, Jeffrey Sachs and Jane Goodall.
You can vote for who will be awarded $100,00, named CNN's Hero of the Year, and be honored at "An All-Star Tribute" with Anderson Cooper at 9 ET Thanksgiving night. I've included part of the nominees' profiles below, as they are written up on the site, but added links to their organizations and projects where I could find them.
You can read more about the nominees on the CNN Heroes site where you can also get a CNN Heroes digital badge (like the one above), sign up for their email list, comment on the CNN Heroes Blog, and watch a video of Anderson Cooper announcing the top 10 CNN Heroes:
"Started The First Response Team to provide immediate help to areas hit by natural disasters. Since May 2007, he and his crew have aided thousands of victims at 15 sites across the United States -- free of charge."
Maria Da Silva
"Has lost 14 family members to AIDS. Today, the Los Angeles nanny funds a school in her native Malawi -- where half a million children have been orphaned by the disease."
"Moved by the lack of children's books and literacy in his native Ethiopia, Yohannes Gebregeorgis established Ethiopia Reads, bringing free public libraries and literacy programs to thousands of Ethiopian children."
"After serving time in prison, Carolyn LeCroy started The Messages Project to help children stay connected with their incarcerated parents. She and volunteer camera crews have taped roughly 3,000 inmate messages."
"Used to run by homeless men each morning. Today, she's running with them, and others, as part of her 'Back On My Feet' program in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania."
"Dedicated to helping Hurricane Katrina survivors in St. Bernard Parish, a community just outside New Orleans. Her nonprofit St. Bernard Project has rebuilt the homes of more than 120 families."
"Growing up in Cambodia, Phymean Noun struggled to complete high school. Today, she offers hundreds of children who work in Phnom Penh's trash dump a way out through free schooling and job training."
"Started PIPO Missions to bring ongoing prosthetic and orthotic care to those in need. Since November 2000, he has helped more than 420 people in southeastern Mexico, free of charge."
"Several times a week, Maria Ruiz of El Paso, Texas, crosses the border into Juarez, Mexico, bringing food, clothing and toys for hundreds of impoverished children and their families."
"A group of failing schoolchildren in Kaolack, Senegal, once asked Viola Vaughn to help them pass their classes. Today, her 10,000 Girls program is helping girls succeed in school and learn business skills."
Related blog posts
• Vote for Ethiopia Reads' Yohannes Gebregeorgis as CNN's hero of the year from The Latest Word.
• NICE News: CNN Heroes from Operation NICE
• CNN's Top 10 Heroes Of 2008 from The Huffington Post