These people are the winners of the Kindness Hero Awards in 2010. I am honored to present these awards and to hear about their stories of why they do what they do.

pay it forward

Felice News is the world’s most popular all-positive news outlet. Our founder is Max Jones, a thirteen year old from Toronto, Canada.

Started in 2008, as Weekend News Today, Felice News is a Toronto, Canada based not-for-profit news organization, catering to the world’s citizens, who are tired of the negative news that the traditional press report. We have reporters on every continent (Yes, that includes Antarctica!). All of our reporters are aged 12-25, in a mission to get more youth involved in world affairs, and occupy their time to ensure that they are not becoming involved with the wrong crowds. Our founder is only a mere 13 years old. In Italian, the Word ‘Felice’ translates to ‘Happy’ in english. As we report purely positive news, this name fits us perfectly!

Max Jones has been a shining star with Felice since 2008 and is the host of Felice News’ Happy All The Time show.

In February 2010, Max co-hosted Felice’s Your Olympics program with co-host Lillian Wu. Reporting from Vancouver, Canada, they brought the world Olympic news, including exclusive interviews with Canadian medalists, politicians, locals and more.

During the summer of 2010, Max covered the G20 protests in Toronto and had the chance to interview Canadian Prime Minister, Stephen Harper and U.S. President, Barack Obama not only about the violence going on in the city, but also political issues at that time, such as North Korea. Max also had the chance to join Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II for her tour through Canada.

Max is a dual citizen of both the United States and Canada, and has a “What goes around, comes around” attitude. While residing in the United States, Max helped manage Barak Obama’s Orlando headquarters in the 2008 election. Max was also key in securing the release of American journalists, Laura Ling and Euna Lee from the North Korean government.

Read more about Felice News here.

Feeding The Soul Foundation

Earlier this year, Vallie Gilley, Melissa Grove, and Cat Bramhall created The Feeding the Soul Foundation, a non-profit organization that brings community together in creative generosity. They promote local artists, foundations, and businesses that make a positive difference by creating events that draw attention and opportunity to their talents and intents.

Feeding the Soul is a foundation. Our fund-raising events support other charities and causes, and each show or series has a chosen beneficiary. Our mission emphasizes both food (feeding the hungry, promoting food / nutrition education and outreach) and music (supporting and supplementing arts classes in schools, promoting local artists and musicians), but we do not restrict the kinds of charities to which we donate. In some instances, we design an event for artists inspired by a particular cause or organization, or select artists for a cause that inspires us. To date (and among others), we have been privileged to work with environmental conservationists, join the fight against slavery, contribute to health causes that are close to our hearts, and provide back-to-school support for impoverished children. We invite you to learn more about our partners and beneficiaries, and to get involved in those that move you.

At one of their recent events, Jason Mraz made a special appearance to join Luc and the Lovingtons, a Seattle based band centered on making people dance, feel free, and feel love. Luc’s “Freedom Song” was written and recorded with survivors of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. The catchy tune caught the attention of singer/song writer Jason Mraz who covers it regularly. Mraz recently visited Ghana with the Free the Slaves Foundation and sang Reynaud’s song with rescued children. The song has since become a theme song for the organization. Visit this link to listen to it: Freedom Song. Here’s a video that was filmed at that event.

A little more about the amazing work of Feeding the Soul Foundation. The first event in March raised $5,000 for Brother Benno’s Soup Kitchen in Oceanside and was the inspiration behind the Feeding the Soul Foundation. They have since raised funds for several different organizations. In December, Feeding the Soul Foundation will be releasing a CD and recipe book and proceeds will go to an organization that is very special to the executive director, Vallie Gilley. This CD is a must have in your collection. Here are pics from the check presentation to Brother Benno’s Soup Kitchen and another presentation of four scholarships for young girls to attend the Rock ‘n Roll Camp for Girls.

Phoenix Volunteers

In the spirit of true altruistic volunteerism, in December 2008 Cynthia Bowers, who was a 30-year-old mother of two small children, anonymously donated one of her kidneys to save the life of an 11-year-old at Phoenix Children’s Hospital. Without asking for anything in return from the family, she anonymously volunteered to undergo a kidney transplant surgery.

In January 2009, after she recovered from the surgery, Cynthia Bowers founded a non-profit organization called Phoenix Volunteers to help connect others in her community with meaningful ways to be of service to others. In March 2010, Cynthia founded another nonprofit called Employee Reach, Inc. to help local businesses connect their employees with meaningful volunteering outreach opportunities. Through these two non-profit agencies, Cynthia has organized over a thousand hours of service for local non-profits, volunteering alongside Phoenix residents and providing rewarding and meaningful volunteer experiences.

Since her surgery, Cynthia Bowers has connected hundreds of individuals with volunteer opportunities in the Phoenix Area. Her efforts to coordinate volunteers with nonprofit outreach has resulted in over 1000 hours of volunteer time donated to local nonprofit who assist with domestic violence protection, homeless assistance, care for the sick, animal rescue, hunger aid, child welfare, education, single parents, police officer support, U.S. soldiers, aid to developing countries and many more causes.

Cynthia Bowers is a full time community advocate and a speaker for community progress through personal responsibility. She left her Corporate America job in 2010 to commit fully to a Pay-It-Forward momentum.

Whether you are volunteering individually or with a group, Phoenix Volunteers can help you to donate a couple hours of your time to local charities. We offer a variety of events and organizations to choose from and make it simple for people to sign up to help. Phoenix Volunteers is looking for individuals who are interested in bettering their community through service and who want to make the experience fun.

Purpose:
Make it as easy as possible for individuals and groups to donate their time to local causes.

Values:
People – recognize that every individual is capable of making a difference in the community.

Community – use a teamwork approach to make the biggest impact on improving the lives of Arizonans in need.

Role Model – demonstrate a commitment to helping others that inspires our community.

Vision: To bring the spirit of volunteerism to every Arizonan.

Founded in 2002, Success Won’t Wait, Inc. is a not for profit literacy program based in Wilmington, Delaware. The organization’s mission is to encourage reading, particularly by children, and services Delaware and the surrounding states.

How do we operate?

Success Won’t Wait volunteers organize used book drives, calling on ordinary citizens to donate used books for redistribution in the community. To date, dozens of book drives have been held throughout the Mid-Atlantic at many different types of locations. Both private and public schools — from pre-schools to the University of Delaware – have become involved. In addition, businesses, retail locations, churches, and civic associations have also agreed to become book drop locations for donations, or have themselves become large book donors. But the greatest outpouring is consistently shown by countless individuals, who have scoured their garages, basements, and bookcases for unused books in support of the program and its mission. Success Won’t Wait has collected over 250,000 books, with approximately 20,000 of those currently awaiting distribution.

Thanks for our Kindness Hero winner Matt M, who has volunteered many hours in this program.

Thanks Matt and for success won’t wait.

The World is a Better Place

For author and entrepreneur Jim White, the path to his purpose in life has been filled with more accomplishments and life-changing circumstances than most people realize in more than one lifetime. Yet it was a simple “human moment” in London that propelled him to stop, examine and reconstruct his entire life’s calling. White’s ensuing development of THE WORLD IS A SAFE PLACE™ a philosophy shared in his series of books is deeply impacting thousands of people around the world.

Originally from a small town in Iowa, White is a forward-thinking global citizen and businessman who has lived and worked in 22 countries during his career in the entertainment industry. After working as a senior executive for high-profile companies like Blockbuster Video, Universal Music Group and currently as a VP at Paramount Studios, White has developed a keen eye for spotting everyday miracles and has trained himself to see the world in a very unique way—the same way he hopes millions of others will also.

Through sharing his personal stories and observations of the world around him, White gently draws people into deeper modes of exploration and self-discovery. White’s imminent release of the second book in THE WORLD IS A SAFE PLACE trilogy is entitled THE MIDDLE OF FOREVER, and will soon be followed by the third in the series, IT’S TIME TO MAKE A WISH. As a pioneering resident on the forefront of the Downtown LA loft-development movement, Jim co-founded a distinctive real estate, travel and lifestyle company called, “
ULTIMATE LIFE LIVING” , which plays a key role in the residential expansion of LA’s burgeoning city center.

Through his enterprises, Jim continues his long-standing commitment to the community, directing funding support towards Beyond Shelter , a Los Angeles-based nonprofit organization dedicated to the development of systemic methods to eradicate poverty and family homelessness. White serves on the Executive Board of Directors for this esteemed organization.

White has lived in a historic bank building loft space in the heart of downtown Los Angeles for the past eight years. He is truly a pioneer in today’s society and a living demonstration that THE WORLD IS A SAFE PLACE.

Thank you Jim

What Friends Do

The actual site is www.WhatFriendsDo.com and it is a free website that helps those who have needs (illness, hospital stay, new baby, moving, etc.) by allowing their friends and families to coordinate efforts through this site. It was developed after the founder’s daughter’s best friend was diagnosed with brain cancer and there were so many people on “Laura’s team” that wanted to help, but didn’t know how or what to do.

The original web site that was created allowed Laura to blog with the team and the team to send wishes to her, via a guest book, and upload pictures, and look at a calendar to coordinate activities and meals and other things that were helpful. The website for “Laura’s Team” was such a success that Fran Kandrac and her two daughters dug into their own pockets to fund a free website to help hundreds of others who had similar needs. They now send out newsletters, enter information into blogs, etc., to help friends and relatives of people who need help, by giving them ideas of how they CAN help.

Thanks Susan

Be Positive

Joe McDonough, who embraces and embodies the notion of “being positive” every day. Three years ago, Joe and I lost our 14-year-old son, Andrew, to leukemia. Determined to turn this tragedy into triumph, we took Andrew’s blood type and motto — B+ / Be Positive — and formed The Andrew McDonough B+ Foundation.

Our mission is to raise awareness and funds for childhood cancer research, to financially and emotionally support families with children battling cancer, and to promote the B+ spirit, which Andrew did every day of his life. In fact, we’ve created B+ cards that we pass out to encourage people to perform acts of kindness. In 3 years we’ve given $250,000 to research and over $300,000 to families nationwide. But it’s the day-to-day activities that my husband does that have earned him this award. He quit his job 3 years ago and focuses on The B+ Foundation 24/7. He speaks to schools, teams, businesses, graduations, etc. about our journey, our son, and how they can B+ in their lives. He visits the “B+ Heroes” in the children’s hospitals, and he’s attended far too many children’s funerals. He’s the first call that many parents make when they don’t know where to turn.

We raise money for the foundation by selling B+ T-shirts and gear, by running a 5K and golf outing, and anything else we can think of. It’s emotionally draining but rewarding, and frankly, Joe feels like he has no choice. He does this for Andrew, and so that fewer parents will have to suffer as we have.

More information can be found at Be Positive

Thank you, everyone!
Mari-Lyn Harris

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