With the school year back in full swing, the featured Giraffe Hero on our website is Dennis Littky, a school principal, a pioneer in the Small School movement, and an inspiration to every kid who's attended a school he's led. Do check out his story, the new Giraffe postcard you can send to friends and family and the do-it-yourself commendation you can send to your personal hero. And something completely different--go to the Founder's Blog, where you can get into some lively, provocative conversations with the person who started all this and with your fellow Giraffe allies.
From here on, this email is about updating Giraffe Heroes' stories, some of them recent commendees, some from the early years of the Project--we're interested in Giraffes' second acts. Within each update you'll find a hotlink to the Giraffe's original story--if it's on our website and a link to the Giraffe's own website--if the Giraffe has one, and most do. Do click through and get more acquainted with the histories and the current actions of these heroes for our times. There's far more to know about each of them than we can give you in these quick glimpses.
(We're fundraising to get every Giraffe's story onto our website.)
| Giraffe Sigrid Ueblacker has now saved almost 10,000 injured or orphaned birds of prey at her Colorado nonprofit, the Birds of Prey Foundation. Ueblacker has been finding and caring for falcons, owls, hawks and eagles for over a quarter of a century, caring for the birds until they're well enough to be returned to the wild. |
| Giraffe Jaya Arunachalam was commended decades ago for establishing the Working Women's Forum, a microcredit group based in Mylapore, on the southeast coast of India. She reports that in the years since then, over 600,000 women have benefited from WWF programs. |
| Trevor Ferrell has been a Giraffe since he was a child, starting with seeing a homeless man on television in his family's comfortable suburban home near Philadelphia. He got a blanket from his room and insisted his parents drive him into the city to find that shivering man. That one impulse grew into Trevor's Endeavors, Trevor's Distribution Center, Trevor's Place (transitional housing) and Trevor's Thrift Shop, all nonprofits serving those who are cold and hungry. Trevor, now a husband and father, works at the thrift shop and talks to groups around the country about what they can do for the poor. |
| Giraffe Mabel Barth's Listening Post is still going strong almost 30 years after Barth decided to sit down at a table and just listen to lonely students talk. Barth reports that there are now Listening Posts on hundreds of campuses in the US and abroad. |
| Giraffe Olga Bloom is celebrating the 30th anniversary of Bargemusic, the nonprofit floating music hall she built under the Brooklyn Bridge. There are over 200 chamber music concerts a year on the barge. When there's no music scheduled, Bloom rents the barge out for weddings and bar mitzvahs. |
| Giraffe Sam Daley-Harris created and runs "pound-for-pound the most effective lobbying group in Washington." That group, RESULTS, has taken on issues beyond hunger, the original focus of their work. The 2007 campaign includes advocacy for universal health care, early childhood development, economic security and the federal food stamp program. |
| Giraffe Wendy Dubit is running a new operation called The Renewables, coaching individuals and businesses in every form of recycling. She was commended in 1996 for founding Farm Hands/City Hands, linking New Yorkers who wanted to know where their food came from with farmers who needed help growing that food. |
|Giraffe Amber Coffman has been named one of Ten Outstanding Young Americans, an honor that the Junior Chambers of Commerce have been sponsoring since 1938. Coffman was honored as a Giraffe when she was all of 12 years old for her work with the homeless in Baltimore. Now 25, she 's working at Best Buddies International, a nonprofit that arranges one-to-one friendships for people with intellectual disabilities. |
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| Giraffe William Thomas |
sparked a movement that's changing elder care. Starting with one nursing home where he was the staff physician, Thomas has pioneered "The Eden Alternative," bringing lively, life-enhancing innovations to elder care in over 300 institutions and now moving into "edenizing" home care. The innovations? Bringing in pets to love and care for, kids to play with and love, gardens to tend. Edenized homes also give residents autonomy over their daily lives.
Giraffe Robin Casarjian was honored for her work with prison inmates. Over 85,000 copies of Casarjian's book, Houses of Healing: A Prisoner's Guide to Inner Power and Freedom, have been given to prisoners. Now her new work, Power Source: Taking Charge of Your Life, is in the hands of at-risk kids, who read the books till they fall apart—and ask for new copies. Casarjian is following these successes with Power Source Parenting, which she hopes will be equally transforming for very young parents. |
| It's been almost 20 years since Giraffe Ray Castellani gave out 111 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on Skid Row in Los Angeles. His Frontline Foundation has since served close to a million meals, no questions asked, no red tape, and no "message" beyond love and respect for fellow beings. |
| Giraffe Nancy Hightshoe has added Keeping Students Out of Harm's Way to her trainings in public safety. A former police officer, Hightshoe received a Giraffe commendation for her pioneering work in changing police processes and attitudes in rape cases. |