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PHILANTHROPY

Articles

Estella Mims Pyfrom And Her Brilliant Bus For Underprivileged Kids

Underprivileged kids take charge of their destiny on a magical mobile learning lab. Magic School Bus  In today’s digital age, information is everywhere. This has made for a more informed general public, but some poor and rural locations have fallen behind due to a lack of resources. That’s why Estella Pyfrom, an 82-year-old activist and educator from Quincy, Florida, is giving those who need it an “education on wheels.” Her ‘magic school bus’ established a movement to make education accessible to all. The Brilliant Bus is a non-profit, designed to help both underprivileged children and adults access education, modern technology, and educational resources no matter where they live. The project is helping to eliminate the digital divide in communities and has been featured during a Microsoft Super Bowl commercial, in O, The Oprah Magazine, and was a recipient of Toyota’s Standing O-vation award. Pyfrom was also named a CNN Top 10 Hero. You can watch her hero story here… Retirement Redefined When most people retire, they usually spend their savings on traveling, moving to a different country, or satisfying their

Guardians of the Children: Protecting Our Priceless Resource

Biker heroes serve to shield and protect the powerless victims of child abuse. They’re not just another biker club rumbling down the open road. They are not a Motorcycle club at all. Rough looking on the outside, they’re soft on the inside when it comes to kids, especially victims of child abuse. Meet Guardians of the Children (GOC), a non-profit biker organization formed in 2006 by Founders “LT” Trevino and “Bamm-Bamm” Cano whose members protect abused and neglected children. GOC’s members cover a broad range of professions united in a cause through their love of motorcycles. As bikers, they leverage their alliances to serve victims and their families. More Than Bikers “We’re an organization within the biker community,” says the Vice President of San Antonio Chapter. “It’s a matter of dedication to the lifestyle — we’re a group of volunteers that uses the image of the biker to help us in our mission, but we’re not living out the full lifestyle that the motorcycle clubs do.” GOC benefits communities by informing the public of how widespread the child abuse crisis

Diane Latiker: Chicago South Side’s Founder Of “Kids Off The Block” (KOB)

Chicago South Side’s Ms. Diane opens her heart and home for at-risk youths to realize their potential. A Memorial Like No Other Another stone is placed on a memorial wall in Roseland, a neighborhood in Chicago. Bearing a name and date, the stone is carefully and lovingly displayed among the other 800 stones that have been collecting there since 2007. The wall is a sad testament of young lives cut short by the barrel of a gun. Worse yet, the wall has been rebuilt 15 times since 2007, and is over 400 stones behind! Diane Latiker, a community activist and founder of Kids Off the Block (KOB), set up the memorial wanting to shock “her community and the youth she served,”  KOB is a non-profit started in 2003 in Roseland, one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in Chicago, where walking home from school could mean dodging a gauntlet of bullets. Even Latiker is not immune to her neighborhood’s violence. Her own van was found shot up by gangs. On another occasion, she says she found herself between two guns with

Alexander McLean: Compassionate World-Changer

His organization is empowering a community of changemakers within Africa’s prison system. Stooping in a dark, dank prison cell, a young man strokes the hand of a dying prisoner. The prisoner is handcuffed to a soiled cot reeking of vomit and urine. The young man doesn’t even notice. He sees only with his heart; something not many people would accuse barristers of having. But this young legal mind, Alexander McLean has a heart large enough to embrace the suffering prisoners of an entire continent. The Happy Accident McLean should never have been born. He’s a child of accidental birth, at least to his parents; a Jamaican father and English mother. But when God wants to answer the prayers of the forgotten, He creates their solution in His own way. That solution was a little boy called Alex. Born in the southern suburbs of London, England, McLean endured the fitful reactions of 1970s society to mixed race children. Nevertheless, he grew up in a loving home surrounded by loving relatives, including a beloved gran. The Caring Soul The signs of McLean’s

Stanford Thompson: Creating Social Harmony

By his example, he’s helping the under-served through the power of music. Change the Tune For Stanford Thompson, music is more than notes and pitches. He believes, like many others, that music can heal broken communities, uplift downtrodden children, and make Philadelphia a better place. Unlike others, Thompson is a world-renowned trumpet player who uses his musical talent for social justice initiatives. His art is undeniable, he’s performed solos with Ocean City Pops Orchestra, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, and the North Springs Philharmonic, and traveled as far China, Czech Republic, Germany, Kenya, and Austria playing his tunes. But to Thompson, the sweetest sound doesn’t come from his trumpet, it comes from helping those in need. His organization, Play On Philly, pairs world-class musicians with students who are struggling academically due to life circumstances. He shares his results about the life-changing effects of music and remains committed to the arts through his many leadership positions on the board of the Marian Anderson Award, American Composers Forum, and the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance. Due to his commitment to social justice through music,

Jim Ziolkowski: Building the Human Spirit

One brick at a time, his labor of love empowers lives and communities through education. A man with a wonderful soul wrote a book about walking in the shoes of the less fortunate. If you took a walk in Jim Ziolkowski’s shoes not only would they be covered in dust from foreign lands, they’d make your heart swell with love for your fellow man. In his book, Walk in Their Shoes, he poses the question: can one person change the world? In his life he’s already proven it. Heartland Upbringing Ziolkowski grew up like millions of other kind souls in the heartland of America. Raised in Jackson, Michigan, he enjoyed the peaceful life of small town U.S.A. and all the charming trappings associated with it. Attending Church with his parents was a big part of that wonderful childhood. His faith, deeply embedded in his consciousness, would affect not only his life but the fates of thousands. College Grad with a Conscience After graduating from college, Ziolkowski traveled the world, but not like your typical Eurorail backpacker. After hitchhiking around Europe

Operation Smile: The Second Generation of Hope

Continuing the journey set by their parents, the Magee siblings are working to expand compassion worldwide. All the siblings of the Magee family have not only carried on their parents’ legacy of compassion which you can read about in our article Operation Smile, but each has risen to excellence in their own respective careers and causes. Growing up, they accompanied their parents, William and Kathy Magee, on medical missions in foreign lands and pitched in to help where they could. The training they received while on these missions and the example set by their parents, shaped their own future goals in life. Since their youth, they’ve recognized the impact and joy of selfless dedication in restoring health and dignity to the people who need it most. They can see it in the smiles of those they have helped. What have the Magee siblings been up to? Here is a snapshot of each of their contributions to the betterment of mankind … William Magee, III, MD, DDS – Leading Plastic and Craniofacial Surgeon The oldest sibling, William “Billy” Magee, III, first

Amanda Hayhurst: Selfless Angel

Caya and Courtney Knight posted the flyer time and again across the greater Atlanta area. For five long years, their 50-year-old single mom, Vonchelle, had been hooking up nightly to a dialysis machine to replicate the critical blood cleansing and balancing work of her failed kidneys. She feared her time was running out. The grim statistics say that once a person starts on dialysis they have an average of seven years of life remaining. Unless they are blessed to find a kidney donor. The disappointment of spending eight years on the donor wait list was wearing on Knight and her family. But she never lost her hope or optimism. Besides her family, her saving grace was her career as an analyst at Northside Hospital’s Bone Marrow Transplant Department, where she participated on a team that regularly saved the lives of others, including many children. A mission of love can certainly keep one’s spirits high. When at home, she would raise her daughter’s spirits by repeating her affirmation, “This is my year, Lord, this is my time for a miracle. I

Shawn Hardnett: Beacon Of Hope

Going above and beyond to educate those who need it most, he illuminates their future, offers a role model, and makes them a part of a legacy. He was told that North Forest was a “wasteland in Houston.” That was exactly why he was determined to go. Though weary from years of work in the struggling education system in New York, he was focused on entering one of the lowest performing districts in Texas as a force of change. Educational Reset “We opened the school for black and brown boys, taking the lowest performing demographic out of the lowest performing district. Now, these kids are outperforming the state in Reading and Math,” says Shawn Hardnett. His title is Founder and Chief Executive Officer for Statesmen College Preparatory Academy for Boys Public Charter School. That said, he has proudly worn many other worthy titles – school founder, leadership coach, principal, educational consultant and, most notably – teacher.  What Hardnett does may not be obvious to the casual observer, but his results clearly are, and they are profound. You can see it

Chad Pregracke: Rescuing Our Rivers

One of the most powerful forces of nature, the river, has been revered the world over since ancient times, says ‘HelpSaveNature.com.’ These massive freshwater bodies have been called ‘the sources of life,’ and some of the most advanced civilizations of the world have originated and flourished on the banks of major rivers. Apart from being sources of sustenance, rivers have also been major hubs of economies. Their ease of transportation has facilitated mass mobility and trade and led to incalculable wealth accumulation. Clearly, this has been the case with America’s second longest river with the second largest drainage basin, the prodigious Mississippi River. The Noble Mississippi “The Mississippi River carries the mud of thirty states and two provinces 2,000 miles south to the delta and deposits 500 million tons of it there every year. The business of the Mississippi, which it will accomplish in time, is to methodically transport all of Illinois to the Gulf of Mexico.” – Charles Kuralt               From the time of Native Americans to the present, the “business” of the river has