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A SALUTE TO EVERYDAY HEROES

Kindness, positive actions, and words can heal the hurt, calm the anger, save a life -- these agents of change shine by example, strive to make a difference, mobilize others, and their drive and spirit uplift us all in this age of rage...


"Why do people say the sky is the limit? Not to me!"...Greg Smith, mathematician, statesman, two-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee before the age of 14, and, at age 16, the youngest person ever to receive a master’s degree from the University of Virginia.
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Gregory Smith's first Nobel Peace Prize nomination came last year when he was 12.  He already graduated Cum Laude with a B.S. in Mathematics and earned his master's at 16. More than a genius, this young teen runs International Youth Advocates which works with international groups, governments and businesses in a mission to create a peaceful, safe and healthy future for the world's children (http://www.virginia.edu/insideuva/2006/09/finals_smith.html). His group labors to provide food, shelter, safe drinking water, school supplies and educational opportunities, from Kenya, Rwanda and Sao Paulo, to Mississippi, USA.  At a very tender age, he met with heads of state and First Ladies across the planet, speaking out for a future without fear and suffering, rescuing "children of the street", and striving to empower and protect the innocent. Pledging his life to work for PEACE, at age 13 he was already a titan among us. He says, "I try my best to be the best world citizen I can be...I know I am a dreamer, an idealist; but the world needs idealists."  Godspeed, Greg!

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USA WEEKEND Magazine and the Points of Light Foundation for creating Make a Difference Day, a national celebration of neighbors helping neighbors. This annual event takes place on the fourth Saturday of every October.  Last year, 3 million people cared enough about others that they helped millions of people.  Each April, good deeds are selected for honors, headlines and charitable donations.  Ordinary people showing courage and goodwill really can make a difference!  Thank you to all you local heroes who can turn grief into a miracle, share your luck, open hardened hearts, unite cities, help children and give others strength.

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Peter Yarrow -- yes that Peter Yarrow from the folk group Peter, Paul & Mary -- founded the Don't Laugh at Me Project (DLAM) to help transform schools, camps and other youth organizations into more compassionate, safe and respectful environments for children.  Operation Respect's mission is to establish a climate that reduces ridicule and bullying and other types of emotional and physical cruelty children inflict upon each other including, in extreme cases, violence.  DLAM is designed to provide teachers, school counselors, social workers, administrators and other professionals with the tools to help kids and also energize other efforts of this kind.  Puff the Magic Dragon would be proud!!

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Air Charity Network is a national non-profit organization of over 1,500 private pilots who fly ambulatory patients who can't afford the cost of travel to receive medical services. Awarded the Independent Charities Seal of Excellence, Air Charity Network Air Charity Network™ (ACN) is comprised of independent member organizations: Airlift Hope, Angel Flight Central, Angel Flight Mid-Atlantic, Angel Flight Northeast, Angel Flight Southeast, Angel Flight West and Mercy Flight Southeast and they match people in need with "free" flights and other travel resources that can provide healing and hope.  Pilots donate their time, aircraft and fuel so that the service is free of charge for patients who qualify, literally giving hope wings.

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"When the barrier between a desperately ill child and medical treatment is distance, Miracle Flights for Kids makes the miles disappear."  These Miracle Makers also nprovide free access to health care for families who cannot afford transportation to treatment centers.  

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From Australia to America, from Scotland to Singapore, member countries of the World Kindness Movement have one common goal: to help spread kindness and tenderness around the globe. This site offers kindness stories, sayings and resources to those who wish we were all nicer to each other.

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Wish the world was a kinder place?  If you do, then you agree with the folks who started the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation. Their goal is to help demonstrate the extraordinary power of kind acts – large and small – and the positive impact of kindness on the human spirit.

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What do Tom Cruise, Goldie Hawn, Rene Russo, Bette Midler, Quincy Jones, Susan Sarandon, Congressman Charles Rangel, Senators Sam Brownback, Charles E. Schumer, Joseph Lieberman, and John McCain, and US Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle want? They want to improve our society and help restore respect in a national effort to reduce verbal violence: WORDS CAN HEAL. Take the pledge to replace hurtful words with words that encourage and enrich, and check out the helpful family kits, workplace kits, and more.

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The National Alliance for Youth Sports is America's leading advocate for positive and safe sports and activities for children -- sorely needed, given the fact that youth sports aren't always the positive experience they ought to be.  The National Alliance for Youth Sports seeks to make the sports experience safe, fun and healthy for ALL children. In addition, NAYS promotes the value and importance of sports and physical activities in the emotional, physical, social and mental development of youth. NAYS programs are provided through over 2,000 community-based organizations.  Go kids!!!

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Here’s a champion of young people everywhere. Robert L. Woodson, Sr., founded the Center for Neighborhood Enterprise in 1981, working with violent youth from coast to coast to try to stop kids from killing kids.  Societal problems addressed by CNE’s grassroots network include youth violence, substance abuse, teen pregnancy, homelessness, joblessness, family dissolution, poor education, and deteriorating neighborhoods. Because civil order is fundamental to economic revitalization, CNE's major focus is youth violence intervention and prevention. The Center’s Violence-Free Zone initiative is significantly reducing youth violence in 27 schools nationwide. 

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