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Life Arts

A Gift of Giraffes

By       Message Ann Medlock     Permalink

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Dear Joan,

Looking over the newly commended Giraffes below, I'm struck by how well they illustrate a basic premise of Giraffedom: it isn't a competition.

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Quite apart from the sea of win/lose that surrounds us, there's no biggest or best in this. If the nominees have seen a public problem and stuck their necks out to solve it in whatever way they can despite their own limitations and fears ~ they're Giraffes.

So here they are, from a shy young philanthropist to a life-risking crusader,
our holiday gift to you, a dozen Giraffes (in alphabet order). They're all so new we haven't written them up for our website yet. You can click on the links for more information about them.

Enjoy their courage and compassion. Enjoy your holidays. ~ Ann
The New Giraffe Heroes

Sam ColellaSam Colella was 7 and shy when he decided he had to do something for kids whose lives were disrupted by war. Overcoming his fears,
he raised over 15 thousand dollars
for children in Sudan, Liberia and Iraq.

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Alice DarrowFour years ago, at age 8, Alice Darrow was so moved by the plight of tsunami survivors that she had to help. She started a small business and is still turning its profits over to relief agencies, making her products
and shipping orders in the playtime of others.

Rafe Esquith gives a thousand percent to his job Rafe Esquith
as a fifth-grade teacher at an enormous school in Los Angeles.
Thanks to his commitment, inspiration and creativity, his "at-risk" students achieve way beyond the norms, doing serious math,
reading great books and performing Shakespeare.

Victoria Hale

Pharmacologist Victoria Hale walked away from a secure, high-paying career in the bio-tech industry to start the first-ever nonprofit pharmaceutical company, dedicating it to getting effective remedies to the world's poor.

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Matthew Hoh, diplomat, strategist, combat Matthew HohMarine vet,
gave up a promising career in diplomacy when he resigned
to protest the cost in lives and dollars of
"the US involvement in a 35-year-old civil war."

Robert Hurlbut

Robert Hurlbut created and sustains Rainier Scholars,
a nonprofit that puts 60 poor kids a year
into a tough college prep program.

Malalai Joya
Malalai Joya, an elected member of the Afghan Parliament, has been so outspoken for the rights of her countrywomen that she receives constant death threats and must be ever on the move.

William Kamkwamba couldn't afford to William Kamkwamba go to school
but he haunted the library in his Malawi village,
teaching himself how to supply wind-powered electricity
to his entire village.

James I. Moss
Entomologist James Iredell Moss blew the whistle
on a combination of chemicals that were being used
by the military and could be causing
Gulf War Syndrome in US forces.

Chandini PereraChandini Perera, a plastic surgeon, could be catering to the cosmetic concerns of Sri Lanka's wealthy. Instead she runs a burn center for the poor, repairing injuries caused by cooking fires, acid assaults and self immolations. (Photo by Giraffe Phil Borges)

Ruth Riffle teaches teens who have severe mental and Ruth Riffle physical disabilities, going far beyond her official responsibilities
to help them become independent.

Max Wallack
For the last 7 years Max Wallack has been using his allowance and all his free time to invent products that help refugees, the elderly, disaster victims and the homeless. Max is 13.

Tis the season...
If you value Giraffe, help keep it going.
Questions about how we operate? The answers are here.
No questions, ready to help? Hit the button!


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Ann Medlock founded the Giraffe Heroes Project, a nonprofit that honors people who stick their necks out for the common good and nudges others to follow their example. Her work history includes being a DNC staff writer (fired), speechwriter to the (more...)

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