Special Report

Hero Humanitarian Workers You Should Know About Now

Source: Courtesy of The Cedar House

Patti O’Malley

Patti O’Malley survived an addiction to opioids, but her son did not. After she lost her son in 2012, the Abilene, Kansas, resident decided to open her home to other women with addiction problems who needed a place to stay after completing a rehabilitation regimen. Her house became Cedar House, a six-bed facility serving the community. Today Cedar House also has a food bank and a farm with a greenhouse.

Source: Courtesy of Dixie Divers

Dixie Divers

In June, 633 divers at Deerfield Beach International Fishing Pier in Florida broke the Guinness World Record for the largest underwater cleanup. The group, known as the Dixie Divers, retrieved well over 1,000 pounds of debris, garbage, and fishing equipment. Locals say the record-breaking cleanup has noticeably improved the quality of Deerfield Beach’s water, and they are optimistic the area’s marine life can thrive as a result.

Source: Andrew Burton / Getty Images

Too Small to Fail

For many parents, trips to the laundromat can be a challenge as children typically just have to wait until the laundry is done. But the Too Small to Fail initiative is working to brighten those children’s days while also promoting literacy. The group brings books to laundromats and other unexpected places and hosts librarians who put on story time. The program hopes that by transforming what was once idle time into a chance to learn they can narrow the literacy gap between higher- and lower-income families.

Source: Carrie Jernigan / GoFundMe

Carrie Jernigan

When Arkansas mom Carrie Jernigan went to a Payless shoe store in the mall in July, she thought she would just get shoes for her kids. But when her daughter asked to buy shoes for a classmate who had shoes that did not fit, she decided to buy the entire inventory of the soon-to-close store and donate the shoes to those in need. That’s when the idea snowballed into a full-blown charity drive. Hundreds in the Alma, Arkansas, community helped put on The 2019 River Valley Kickstart campaign, where children received back-to-school supplies and medical care — in addition to shoes and other items.

Source: Kid's Rights / Wikimedia Commons

Michaela Mycroft

Michaela Mycroft was diagnosed with cerebral palsy when she was less than a year old. Instead of letting her disability hold her back, the 24-year-old is working to make the world a better place for other people who face mobility challenges. Mycroft co-founded the Chaeli Campaign, which aims to make South Africa a more accessible and accepting place for those with special mobility needs. Advocacy group World of Children recently named Mycroft one of its Hero Award Honorees.

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