tv CNN Heroes An All- Star Tribute CNN December 2, 2012 6:00pm-8:00pm PST
and the people i know down there and the spirit there it makes you want to come back. >> thank you. >> thanks, man, nice talking to you. during the past hour, we have seen three stars using their fame to fight forth causes this he believe in, they are proof that anyone can be inspired to get involved and that there are many ways to lend a hand. ultimately, giving back is its own reward. that is what cnn heros is all about. a first responder rushes into a building to rescue a child. he doesn't see this as anything more than doing his job. this is a hero. a young girl speaks up for her right to an education and get he is shot in the head. but her voice is not silenced and she inspires a movement of women. that's hero.
a man is found in a house with his arms tightly wrapped around his son, trying to protect him, as hurricane sandy swept them both away. he was a former marine. that's hero, too. we don't build statues to these people, we might not even notice them, but they don't care about that because their actions are not calculated to gain recognition or reward. what they do is who they are. as a young marine, i was taught to help people who could not help themselves. all over the world, right now, people are putting this principle into action and saving lives. these heroes speak one language, the language of humanity. there are different kinds of heroes around us, those who in that unforgiving minute, rise to
the occasion when the moment calls for it, daily grind it out heroes who wake up every morning and humbly change the world. you think i've got what it takes to be a hero. we've all asked ourselves that question. i think we do. of course, these heroes, they're you, just ordinary people, until they're heroes. and we need those heroes more than ever. [ applause ] >> announcer: ladies and gentlemen, please welcome anderson cooper. >> good evening, everyone and welcome to cnn heroes, "an
all-star tribute" the men, the women and the children you are going to meet tonight are taking aim at some of humanity's gravest challenges they come here not only to accept our gratitude but to inspire us to take action in our own lives. with us this even, as you would expect at a fancy awards show are music you tv, sports stars, but here is the difference they didn't is didn't come to be honored. they came to generously lend their support to heroes as well as the remarkably talented harvey keitel. we want to thank you for getting involved. you can get involved tonight. you can see twice interact and donate on screen during the performances tonight during the show, you will see some stuff down over here, you will see some stuff over here on your screens, hopefully not right here because that's my face, that's the moneymaker. [ laughter ] we've got ten incredible here these we are honoring this year around later tonight, one of them is going to be named the 2012 cnn hero of the year. there's any time left, the produce verse promised me this time, finally, i can sing my a
cappella version of "gangnam style," fingers crossed, practicing for weeks and i have just been told there will not be time for that like many of our honorees, our first here reese story illustrates a problem hiding really in plain sight. to introduce us to her, please welcome an actor who champions many causes such as unicef and race for kids, adrien brody. [ applause ] >> every day, so many children do the extraordinary and most of us don't even notice. they change their mother's iv. they clean their brother's feeding tube and check for bed sores. they dispense complex, life-saving drugs and then spend the night worrying if they got it right. in the morning, worn out and
drained, they catch the bus to school. and what connie siskowski discovered is they carry more than heavy backpacks into those classrooms they carry the burdens of home. she noticed how these adult responsibility impacted their school work, how they were afraid that if they asked for help at home, they would be separated from their families. and how they often dropped out of school. while brothers oblivious and critical, connie knew they were strong. and she had the insight to start an organization focused on easing their burdens. and because of her work, we can now see these kids as inspiring, compassionate human beings. and we are blessed that they are hidden no more. ♪ >> there are at least 1.3
million children who are care giving in the united states. >> you okay? >> my mom is a three-time cancer survivor. >> my biggest fear is finding out she is in the hospital when i get home from school. >> she might end up face down in the backyard. >> as a result of care giving, children sacrifice their education. they sacrifice their well being. they sacrifice their childhood. our health care system has many gaps. families are struggling and they don't have the disposable income to hire help at home. >> i help my mom care for my brother, isaac. i first started caring for isaac when i was 11 years old. i help my mom bathe him, feed him. i also help change his diaper, put on clothes. let's go, guys. before i got into the care
giving youth project, i mainly felt stressed. >> having experienced some of that myself allows me to better understand what these families are going through. when i was growing up, my grandfather and i were really close and he had congestive heart failure. i did everything for my grandfather. the night that he died, i was the one who found that he was no longer breathing and i can still feel what his skin felt like at that time. i remember i didn't cry until -- sorry. >> after the lab, we are going to go over the periodic table. >> working with the children and seeing their lives transformed makes me get pup every day. our society loses if we do not
support these children. >> oh, my god, look at that. >> in school, we offer skills building. we offer families a home visit to see what other needs the family might v you have a couple of steps to go up to get isaac into the house? maybe we can get a ramp built? >> that would be great. thank you so much. >> fun activities are important because it allows the child to experience a piece of childed that they otherwise might not. >> it helps my confidence. >> i feel that they have my back. >> i'm gonna tell the world, this organization is amazing. it really helps. and it's all thanks to dr. connie. i love her so much.
♪ [ applause ] >> ladies and gentlemen, it is my honor to present cnn hero connie siskowski. ♪ what doesn't kill you makes you stronger ♪ ♪ stand a little taller ♪ doesn't mean i'm lonely when i'm alone ♪ ♪ what doesn't kill you makes a fighter ♪ ♪ footsteps even lighter ♪ doesn't mean i'm older because you're gone ♪ ♪ what doesn't kill you makes stronger, stronger ♪ ♪ just me, myself and i ♪ what doesn't kill you >> it's no secret that the kids you just met are the real heroes. there are still too many people who don't know these children exist. thanks to tonight, many more do. now it's time to make sure that they have the support they need
and that not one child drops out of school to care for loved ones. please join us to give your community's care giving youth a chance. thank you. [ applause ] next on cnn heroes, viola davis and david spade. and later, josh duhamel and a live performance by phillip phillips. what is that? it's you! it's me? alright emma, i know it's not your favorite but it's time for your medicine, okay? you ready? one, two, three. [ both ] ♪ emma, emma bo-bemma ♪ banana-fana-fo-femma
♪ fee-fi-fo-femma ♪ em-ma very good sweety, how do you feel? good. yeah? you did a really good job, okay? [ female announcer ] to nurses everywhere, thank you, from johnson & johnson. (announcer) when subaru owners look in the mirror,e, they see more than themselves. so we celebrate our year-end with the "share the love" event. get a great deal on a new subaru and 250 dollars goes to your choice of five charities. by the end of this, our fifth year, our total can reach almost 25 million dollars. it's a nice reflection on us all. now through january 2nd.
[ applause ] welcome back to cnn heroes. i want to take a moment to acknowledge 32 of our heroes of past years who are in the house tonight. we are very glad that our cnn heroes family could be here with us. so thanks for being here. [ applause ] because of your support, they continue to do their life-changing work. now, let's go to our next honoree. nelson mandela said education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the word -- the world.
but in afghanistan right now the taliban have destroyed hundreds of schools, especially targeting ones that are educating young women and young girls. our next hero has refused to back down, welcoming girls inside the protective walls of the school she, herself, built to tell us about her, please welcome a proud support of the segue institute for learning in her hometown of central falls, rhode island, viola davis. [ applause ] >> let's remember this number, 32 million. that's how many girls around the world are deprived of a primary school education every day. for too many, they are denied this right simple is play because they are girls. not allowed to learn how to read and write, add and subtract, understand science and the stars.
342 million brilliant girls told they can't reach for the heavens. that's why razia jan, a woman who embodied courage, says not on my watch. we are going to change this and after she saw the towers fall on 9/11, she did just that. she returned to afghanistan to education those girls and help rebuild her country. under looming threats and real danger, they opened the doors of the zaboli education center. today, these students walk with their heads held high, determined to raise their voices after being silenced for too long. and greeting them each day is razia, helping each one dream and say loud and proud, i want to learn.
>> i came to afghanistan and i saw mostly desperate girls. if you see the history, the womswim and girls have suffered, the inacres have the taliban, the civil war. for 30 years, the girls weren't allowed to go to school. if they see me, they try to hit my car. they think a woman shouldn't be out of the house, shouldn't drive, shouldn't do anything. i thought the best thing to do was build this school and educate and start from the very bottom. [ speaking a foreign language ]
>> when i started this school, my mission was to have a girls' school and i was not going to change my mind, under any circumstances. what they thought is that i will fail and then they can change it into a boys' school. and now, the coins have flipped, literally. [ speaking a foreign language ] >> i mean, they are very conservative, but they are not terrorists. we still have a lot of problem in afghanistan. the girls are being threatened. the schools have been burned.
girls. thank you very much. [ applause ] >> i can't watch our last hero's story without thinking of a young girl named malala yousef zile, a 14-year-old girl shot point blank in the head. [ applause ] shot point blank in the head in pakistan for speak ugt in support of girls education, she is recovering right now in a hospital in england. her father tells us that malala is getting better, that she is actually reading books again and that she is talking again. her father asked that i read you a message from malala tonight and she says, "thank you so much for the outpouring of love and support. i thank the people who supported me without distinguishing religion and color. people have actually supported a
cause, not an individual. let's work together," she says, "let's work together to educate girls around the world." thank you, malala and we send our thoughts and our wishes to your continued recovery. [ applause ] next on cnn here row, jeff gordon. still to come, susan sarandon and 50 cent. ♪ [ female announcer ] holiday cookies are a big job. everything has to be just right. perfection is in the details. ♪
get to holiday fun faster with pillsbury cookie dough. bp has paid overthe people of bp twenty-threeitment to the gulf. billion dollars to help those affected and to cover cleanup costs. today, the beaches and gulf are open, and many areas are reporting their best tourism seasons in years. and bp's also committed to america. we support nearly 250,000 jobs and invest more here than anywhere else. we're working to fuel america for generations to come. our commitment has never been stronger. sfx- "sounds of african drum and flute" look who's back. again? it's embarrassing it's embarrassing! we can see you carl. we can totally see you. come on you're better than this...all that prowling around. yeah, you're the king of the jungle. have you thought about going vegan carl? hahaha!! you know folks who save hundreds of dollars by switching to geico sure are happy. how happy are they jimmy? happier than antelope with night-vision goggles. nice!
get happy. get geico. fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more. in addition to the ten heroes we are saluting tonight, we are recognizing young wonders, little who made a big difference. to introduce us to our first young wonder, us in recognizing david spade. jus in recognizing david spade. oius in recognizing david spade. nus in recognizing david spade. us in recognizing david spade. [ applause ] >> all right. hey, everybody it is great to be here at the cnn heroes event. you know's, lot of people call me a hero. [ laughter ] not people in this room, but,
you know, out in the street he is. because i try to do my part in helping out with different charities. i try to do what i can. actually, i don't want to forget about our own backyard. so, i've been working with some charities here in hollywood that some people don't know about. about two weekends a month, i work with a group called kids without beamers. [ laughter ] and we go to beverly hills high and we give out red convertible bmws. [ laughter ] to anyone that doesn't have one already and there were two last year. it's a great group. a great bunch of people. check our website. also, um, i work with some doctors, we gave out free plastic surgery and facelifts to actresses on their 25th birthday. [ laughter ] if they can't afford it. and the other day i was walking around, i saw a girl that looked
28 and i said, why? [ laughter ] this doesn't have to happen. there's also celebrities -- every six months, i sit with lindsay lohan and we figure out her next horrible career mistake. sometimes she starts heading in the right direction, i say, wait, trust your instincts. [ laughter ] that's not why i brought you here tonight. the real reason is i'm actually going to introduce to you a very cool kid. he is the first cnn young wonder, will lorsy. look what the this compassionate and brilliant kid did to try to end hunger in this country. >> one day when i drove home from a little league game, i saw homeless man with a cardboard sign that said "need a meal." so i told my mom i wanted to do something. >> will lorsy is a 9-year-old child. i hesitate to call him child, i think necessary a category of
his own. as a 7-year-old, he decided he was going to take on this issue of hunger. >> welcome to frogs. >> my group is called frogs and it means friends reaching our goals and our motto is having fun while helping others. i want you to write what we can do for a spring project. >> will's big personality does not come from me. >> fire me up. pepper me. >> i think every time you meet will you look at him and you say, are you kidding me? but together with his buddies, they have raised over $20,000, or the equivalent of 100,000 meals for tarrant area food bank. >> how about some french baguettes? from india. these peaches are a delight. >> when you see somebody who gets so engaged and gets so much of the community engaged, it's an endorsement of the battle we fight to end hunger. >> thank you.
[ applause ] >> where is will, by the way? where is will? will, stand up, will you? right over there. amazing. [ applause ] [ cheers and applause ] he is 6. by the time he is 12, we are all going to be working for him. i guarantee you. [ laughter ] throughout tonight's broadcast, check out our live blog at cnn.com/backstage. we have got exclusive behind the scenes videos, got instagram photo, celebrity tweets. i will be tweeting as well. you can sign in from facebook, twitter, other social media at
cnn.com/backstage and you can do that online, on your mobile device, even from the cnn ipad app. now back to our heroes. addiction is no stranger. many of us are touched by its turmoil, whether it's addicts, ourselves or watching loved ones caught in the cycle. it's a force to be reckoned with and our next hero has found a way to channel its destructive power into the healing power of sport. to share his triumphant story is a racial hero who, through example, shows the same perseverance and drive. please welcome the founder of the jeff gordon children's foundation, the amazing jeff gordon. [ applause ] >> recovery from alcohol and drug addiction is neverending work. it takes strength and resolve to rise up and out of that despair.
scott strode has been there. when he was in his early teens, he started drink and taking drugs to mask his pain. as he got older, he made so many wrong turns that one morning, he woke up on the bathroom floor and knew that one day, his mother might find him there. and i have -- so sorry, and would be unable to stir him n that heartbreak moment, scott realized that he had to rise up and take control of his life or he was never gonna be the person he always wanted to be. so, he began that recovery. he gave it all up, the drinking, his friends and influences that went along with his life in addiction. and when he looked around, he was all alone. so he found a community through sport. then he did what heroes do, he built his own community, a safe, sober place where others could rise up, too.
he did that not just to become a better boxer or climber or runner, but to become the man he always dreamed he could be. >> one, two, three. when you're really getting after it, climbing on your bike, throwing the bars back and forth, or when you're hanging off a rope, your hands are all pump, you can barely hold on, something happens. you're there there that moment, everything else melts away. and you're just there. it can fill that void that the drugs and alcohol left. in my recovery from a life of addiction, i did a lot of intense sports. i ended up racing triathalon, eventually, i raced iron man. it just changed my self-esteem, started thinking of myself as an athlete instead of an addict. having that experience myself, it made me realize i could give this to other people and that's where phoenix started. phoenix isn't a formal treatment
program. we are into the replacement for 12 step or therapy. but it's crucial, i think. it gives people a community and it gives them positive coping mechanisms and it gives them a way to redefine themselves as something other than an addict. on any given day, i can look out the back door and see somebody in the throes of their addiction and i think, how do we get them from that side of the fence into this building? addiction really does strip away our dreams and phoenix is just a vehicle nor people to see what they are really capable of. you got t pull through. nice job, tiffany. >> i'm very grateful to scott for creating this community. after i got soeb, my dad died and this is the one place i know that it was okay, that people cared if i was sober. it was like my -- my second family. >> tiffany is, like most of our team members, they walked through some tough stuff in
their life. and they just has this courage. it's scary to pass through personal pain or difficulties in our life, to face those things, it inspires me. i think when you come to phoenix, it allows to you let go of some of that shame from your drug use and be whatever you want. you can become a climber, you can become a boxer and later on, you become a good friend and a good son. i think there's a hook to these sports. but we are not just replacing one high for the next. as we shift that self-esteem, you learn how to overcome adversity. it's traps formative to stand on top of a mountain. from those heights you can see something in yourself that you can't see from down here and the more time you go up there, you realize that eventually, you don't even need the mountain anymore it is something in your heart and that's when you can
really walk away from who you were as an addict and you can walk away proud. [ applause ] >> ladies and gentlemen, it is my honor to present cnn hero scott strode. [ applause ] >> thank you. sadly, i have seen too many people lose their lives to addiction. i, myself, could have died over 15 years ago from my own drug and alcohol use. i think of that when i think of the 23 million americans and who knows how many worldwide who are struggling with this disease. i believe that together, we can help them rise from the ashes and who knows what gifts they
will bring to this world. thank you. [ applause ] coming up, phillip philips performs live and later, jane lynch and olympic gold medalist cullen jones. ♪ (announcer) when subaru owners look in the mirror, they see more than themselves. so we celebrate our year-end with the "share the love" event. get a great deal on a new subaru and 250 dollars goes to your choice of five charities. by the end of this, our fifth year, our total can reach almost 25 million dollars. it's a nice reflection on us all. now through january 2nd.
unfamiliar road ♪ ♪ and although this wave is stringing us along ♪ ♪ just know you're not alone ♪ 'cause i'm gonna make this place your home ♪ ♪ settle down, it will all be clear ♪ ♪ don't pay no mind to the deem demons they fill you with fear yeah ♪ ♪ the trouble it might drag you down ♪ ♪ if you get lost you can always be found ♪ ♪ just know you're not alone
welcome back, f scott fitzgerald said, show me a hero and i will write you a tragedy. one of the things i find so inspiring about our heros is many have faced tragic circumstance and they have transformed their grief into action to help others. our next hero dealt with death and now brings life into our world to tell us how one woman can truly make a great change in the world, please welcome a proud supporter of the mona foundation, which promotes early education, particularly for girls in underdeveloped countries, rainn wilson. [ applause ] >> anderson cooper, my personal
hero. for some people, no matter how blessed their lives have been or how much hardship they have endured, they cannot ignore a problem that surrounds them and breaks their hearts. catalina escobar is this kind of woman. she lives in one part of colombia, the part with nice houses, loving families, food and medicine. but she also saw the other part of the country, the place where teen mothers and their babies live in shacks, with hunger, illness, violence, and where children die too often simply because a young mother could not afford medicine. this daily preventable tragedy was something catalina refused to ignore so she started the juan felipe gomez escobar foundation, named for her son. her organization provides women and babies with proper medical care and a place for them to become independent and break this crippling cycle of poverty. it seems impossible that one
woman should take on a problem so big, but there is nothing more powerful than a mother with a mission, borne from the sorrow of holding her deceased son. >> when you go around in cartagena, you find such a beautiful city. then five minutes away, there's little kids are living without little kids are living without anything at all. [ speaking a foreign language ] >> i used to be a banker. and i was very comfortable, actually. but i cannot be successful if i don't make other people happy around me. the year 2000, i started volunteering at this hospital. a baby was in my hands and he passed away. and it was a preventible death,
that life could have been saved, just for $30. period. my own son died, juan felipe. he was 14 months old. he died because of an accident, but not because he lacked resources. no mother in the world should go through that process just a because they don't have the money to cover treatments. when you bury your own son, you start being part of those women's souls. and in 2002, we built an intensive care unit in the hospital. and we have saved more than 3,000 babies. [ baby crying ] but then, you discover the problem was bigger. most of these babies come from teenaged pregnancies. and many of these girls are
and many of these girls are sexually abused. [ speaking a foreign language ] >> we have to invest in these girls, otherwise, they are gonna remain in the cycle of poverty forever. it took us two and a half years to do all the fund-raising, to build the social setup. but now you every day, 1,000 moms and babies come to our setup and they're here for free. they drop their babies at the day care center so they can come and get all the skills. when you give them the tools to become socially productive, they don't need frost ute tuesd-- prostitution to earn money. pro
earn money. prostitution to earn money.prostitution to earn money. we have worked with 2,000 girls. the only thing we ask for them is to give the best of themselves. [ applause ] >> it is my honor to present cnn hero catalina escobar. [ applause ] >> being here is not a personal achievement. but for the thousands of teenage moms in the poor slums in
cartagena, colombia, they are my real, true heroes and the little fighters, the babies, whose lives we have saved, i am only the person who helps them on their path from misery to dignity. thank you. [ applause ] >> please welcome a proud supporter of st. jude children's research hospital, miranda cosgrove. ♪ [ applause ] >> just imagine you have cancer. every day you go to the hospital for treatment. you see others just like you being poked and prodded with needles during chemo. but unlike you, they have to stay. but because you're a young wonder, you find compassion where others might wallow in
their misfortune. you are jesse res, your shatter greater than mochls you are so sick and still, you give the kids something to smile about, true joy in a car.st. you are so sick and still, you give the kids something to smile about, true joy in a car. >> jesse was 11 when she was diagnosed with a brain tumor. jesse you was outparent, so every day, would get in the car drive up to children's hospital in orange county and drive home. one day we were leaving and she simply asked us when do all the other kids come home? what can she do to help them? >> she found an empty jar and started toughing things in it. >> put like a green turtle, and a slash ball. >> maybe a car? >> a car? >> yeah. >> and that's how the joy jars got birthed. she clearly knew the impact it was making in these kids lives as she was giving them their joy
jars. she was very particular about what would go in the jars. it had to be something cool. it couldn't be cheap and flimsy. >> people from all around the united states who were following her story were hey can we get some for our friends that have a child fighting cancer and then it just exploded. >> do you know how many people are helping? why are you doing that? why not make it about you? >> i just wanted to make them happier. because i know that they -- they are going through a lot, too. >> when jess lost her battle with cancer on january 5th, 2012, she was 12 years old. ♪ ♪ so shine bright tonight >> it's joy for jesse day. >> since jesse's passing we have sent over 27,000 joy jars. >> it's what she started and it's what we will continue to
do. >> what makes jesse a young wonder is she cared and in the midst of a world that says focus on yourself, it's all about you, she said, no, it's not. ♪ shine bright like a diamond ♪ ♪ [ applause ] today, the beaches and gulf are open, and many areas are reporting their best tourism seasons in years. and bp's also committed to america. >> today the beaches in the gulf are open and many are reporting the best tourism in years, and bp is committed to america, and we support 250,000 jobs and invest more here than anywhere else. we are working to fuel america for generations to come. our commitment has never been stronger.
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this is olivia. she's the love of my life and is almost 13. you know, she's the first thing that i really truly loved and took care of. i was 39 years old. i just had done best in show and fell in love with every dog i met and i was also in therapy, surprise, and your therapist said you should get a dog. i don't think i could be married today, and i don't think i would have the friendships that i have and relationships that i have and i am so thankful to this little girl for opening my heart, and i take care of her and she takes care of me. [ applause ] >> jane lynch is right. we love our dogs, us dog lovers.
this is my dog, actually, molly. she has the stinkiest breath you can possibly imagine. it's like a squirrel has crawled inside her and died, but i still love her. our next hero found a way to partner rescue dogs with people that need help. the 2 million soldiers deployed, 1 in 5 returns with a disorder. here is jane lynch. [ applause ] >> in the united states military there's a saying i got your 6. that means don't worry, i got your back. for our veterans that struggle with the invisible wounds of war that feel isolated with the
affects of ptsd and depression and have to fight to get the care they need and to fight the urge to commit suicide, mary cortani's got their backs in a profound way. not because she is a veteran, too, but because she finds these men and women a loyal and loving companion that helps them put their lives back together. three years ago she started matching veterans in need with a service dog with a shelter dog in need of a home. when they go out in the world, the dog can sense if the veteran is fighting a flashback, becoming overwhelmed with the sounds, and anxiety. the dog calms, the dog watches, and the veteran knows who's got their 6. >> these are two of my friends,
really close friends of mine. they were killed in action. being an infantry man, we have to see everything. if i don't see something, somebody can die. coming back to the everyday civilian life, reality didn't make sense anymore. when i find myself walking, i am standing at threats that could happen in iraq. who is behind that corner? what is sitting on that balcony? it feels like you are drowning. i thought suicide might have been the best answer. things got better for me when i did meet mary cortani. >> awesome. awesome. what i want you to do, you are going to close your eyes, right, and you are safe and you got them with you, and i am up here,
and try to match their breathing. operation freedom paws takes dogs from shelters to rescue groups and matches them with the disability. for somebody having an anxiety attack, they can sense that and nudge that, give a hug, break the cycle. >> if your hand is like this, there's still tension, unnecessary tension. >> olivia wants to check everything out. >> what characteristics in shadow made you think he would be a good dog for david in particular? >> there was a young energetic man in there that needs a dog that is going to bring out that fun and kid in him again. >> yeah. >> and let him realize that there is some joy. >> your trust in the world is strengthened with the dog and it sounds like it's getting better. >> he is learning to see the world through the dog. >> through the dog.
>> she called me up and said, hey, i have your dog. and i show up and there is shadow, and he's running around in the building, you know. i knelt down with him and he sat in front of me, you know. you know, and i -- i hugged the dog. i felt like that piece i was missing was right there. that's why what she does is so vital. she saved my life. you know? >> we want to be able to help as many men and women with disabilities as we can. let's stop the suicide. let's get them the help they need. love heals. love does. especially when it has a wet nose and four paws and a wagging
tail. [ applause ] >> please join me is honoring cnn hero mary cortani. [ applause ] >> this award is not about me. it is about the men and women who so gallantly serve this country and come home injured. we need to do more to let them know that we care. that's what operation freedom paws is all about. thank you, nicky, and my ofp family. [ applause ]
>> if you would like to make a donation to any of this year's top ten cnn heroes, you can go to cnn.com to do that. and through december 31st, google is waiving all transaction fees to make sure every dollar that you donate goes to the heroes nonprofits. and 18 years later, seven of ten children live in poverty, and our next hero took matters into his own hands. here to ae loom nate his story is a musician who pledged to feed a billion people in africa using a proceeds from the sale of his energy drink. please welcome 50 cent.
>> it's not easy to start out at the bottom. in that neighborhood that sits on the shadows much a thriving city, the water is carried in buckets, and when you start with so little it's hard to dream about something better. thulani madondo lacked everything accept the climb to the bottle. when he looked down he knew the ladder needed to reach higher. he started an after school program that gives 400 kids the confidence to climb out of the shadows and feel the warmth of opportunity, and not just in the big city but in the very place they call home.
>> there are 45,000 people, without most of the basic things such as electricity, schools or clinics. my mom with three sisters slept in the bed while all of us boys would sleep on the floor here. i never had a school uniform. my vision when we started the program was it was going to be a place where children would get started, and not just a place where they were going to take it as a home.
[ speaking [ speaking foreign language ] >> this is our library. we've got grade 12, and grades in each class. ♪ >> the members performance have increased because of the tutoring. >> they have confidence and take the lead. >> one thing i tell the children is that children always tell themselves because you are poor, and you may poor in terms of material wealth, but you can still be rich inside.
i am what i thought i wanted to be. >> i am a doctor. >> i am a police. >> i am a pilot. >> i am a fashion designer. >> imagine what we would have if the 400 kids that we have went to school and went to a university and got a degree and got good jobs. >> i am a teacher. >> being able to help young people who never had the opportunity is what i needed. i never got it, but i was fortunate to help other people get it. it makes me feel good. [ applause ] >> and it is my honor to present the cnn hero thulani madondo.
♪ >> kyt would feel so grateful that we can help change the lives of hundreds of children living in shacks. having grown up in kliptown ourselves we know the daily struggles and know the challenges. for us we have a saying, pull up your own socks, and it's a privilege to teach it to the children but even a greater gift to see them doing it. thank you. [ applause ] next, susan sarandon, and still to come to cnn heroes,
josh and maria bello. ching to ge are happy. how happy, ronny? happier than gallagher at a farmers' market. get happy. get geico. chances are, you're not made of money, so don't overpay for motorcycle insurance. geico, see how much you could save. bp has paid overthe people of bp twenty-threeitment to the gulf. billion dollars to help those affected and to cover cleanup costs. today, the beaches and gulf are open, and many areas are reporting their best tourism seasons in years. and bp's also committed to america. we support nearly 250,000 jobs and invest more here than anywhere else.
and in the next case helping free innocent children locked behind bars. here to introduce her, unicef ambassador, and dream inspiration award winner, susan sarandon. [ applause ] one afternoon as part of her research a young college student went to speak with the women imprisoned in a cat man do jail. she began to feel something tugging on her clothes. pushpa basnet looked down and saw a tiny hand clutching the fabric, and then the unexpected eyes of a beautiful little girl,
and this child could not let go and neither could pushpa. she couldn't live with the fact that in nepal if a parent is convicted often the best option for the child is to go to prison with their parent. so she created the butterfly home where older children live, go to school, and receive medical care. she also started a day care for the children still too young to leave their parent and walks them every day to and from the prison to a place where they learn to read, draw, and imagine. these boys and girls are loved, and they love pushpa, their mum.
>> maybe god has sent me to do this thing. we are traveling to a small jail, three hours drive. you have people there with different crime, like drugs, trafficking, and so now the mother has just called us to come and pick up the child. she said that i am in a prison for drug trafficking. i am scared now that i am in prison, the circle of my friends will traffic my daughter. ♪
♪ >> these children have not done nothing wrong. they are simply got something they do not understand. we want to work with the government to bring them all out from the prison, and they deserve a better future. this work is the only thing for me and with your support we can keep going. thank you. [ applause ] coming up, olympic gold medalist, and we will announce
the cnn hero of the year. it gives us 5x the rewards on our internet, phone charges and cable, plus at office supply stores. rewards we put right back into our business. this is the only thing we've ever wanted to do and ink helps us do it. make your mark with ink from chase. britta olsen is my patient. i spend long hours with her checking her heart rate, administering her medication, and just making her comfortable. one night britta told me about a tradition in denmark, "when a person dies," she said, "someone must open the window so the soul can depart." i smiled and squeezed her hand. "not tonight, britta. not tonight." [ female announcer ] to nurses everywhere, thank you, from johnson & johnson.
parents came to take me to a water park. i was really excited. but unfortunately i never had swim lessons. but my dad had to get on the biggest ride there and me looking up to him i wanted to follow suit. when i got to the bottom of the ride unfortunately i flipped upside down. my mom tells the story best, she heard her only child screaming
and having a good time and then nothing. unfortunately, she was not comfortable in the water either and she began to drown at the bottom of the pool. my dad had to dive in and got my mom and the lifeguard came and got me. a child can drown in 20 seconds, and i was under for 30, and that day changed my life forever. >> the little boy in that story grew up to become two-time olympic gold medalist in swimming, cullen jones. he has dedicated himself to make sure all kids, especially african-american children, learn how to swim through his work with make a splash in the usa swimming foundation. please welcome cullen jones. ♪ >> six years ago on a beautiful day a boy named josh grabbed a raft and drifted out on to a
lake. as he rested there in the summer sun he did not know he had floated out to where the water was too deep. when the raft flipped over josh was in trouble and he did not know how to swim. this 16-year-old boy filled with so much promise drowned. wanda butts grieved her son morning, noon and night. and after a year she was determined to turn her son's tragedy into triumph. to make sure this horrible thing doesn't happen to any other, she had an idea, teach the boys and girls in toledo, ohio, how to swim. i can't tell you how thrilling it is to see these boys and girls walk on the edge of a swimming pool and they jump in, and because of wanda, tphhey ar not afraid of the water any more. they feel safe. they can kick, move, break the surface and breathe.
>> i believe that swimming is a basic life skill. but i learned that too late. i lost josh on august 6th, 2006. he was special. josh was my peach. my son drown. as a child i was never taught about the dangers of water. my parents didn't talk about it. no one in our community ever talked about it, so i never learned, and i never taught josh. african-american children are three times more likely to drown than white children. that's a problem. drown something a sign of death. and i had enough of the silence.
who wants to learn to swim today? i started the josh project to teach kids how to swim. my daughter, my two grandsons and i were the first four students, and now over 1,200 children have gone through the josh project. no more expensive lessons. no more telling our kids not to get their hair wet. no more excuses. all right. you doing okay? i want to reach every child in every school, and every church. i even invited cullen jones to come and speak to my kids. >> not learning to swim is definitely something that is generational in the african-american community. i see myself in these kids. i still remember how it felt when i almost drown. that's why i feel the josh
project is so amazing because it sheds a lot of light on what can happen. >> i want these kids to teach their kids, to learn to swim. part of my life's journey is losing my own fear of water. i'm going to do it. i think the most important part of cullen jones' story is that he got to grow up. i love hearing what these kids want to be when they grow up. >> a navy s.e.a.l. >> a teacher. >> a lifeguard. >> josh didn't get to grow up, but he's with me every day. >> good job! [ applause ]
and around the waters. our responsibility as adults is to give them this basic life skill. my son, josh, is my hero, because his life gave my life meaning. next sunday would be his 23rd birthday. happy birthday, josh, i love you. thank you. [ applause ] >> please welcome the supporter of the one word kid charity, rico rodriguez. >> by working together we can solve problems, even big ones. this is what a young wonder does. they look at a problem in a creative way and say i'm going
to fix this, and that is exactly what cassandra lynn did. she brought three things together, concern for the environment and families that needed to heat their homes and restaurant leftover cooking oil. it's genius. check this out. >> when i was young i heard about global warming and i knew there was huge consequences for this problem, so i got together with my friends and we found out you could turn waste cooking oil into biodiesel fuel, because many families in my hometown could not afford to heat their homes, and i thought maybe we could use the recycled cooking oil to heat their homes. we made a difference, and so can you. >> we were just worried about keeping our kids warm and having
heat and hot water. it was a major relief. >> i was trying to talk about biodiesel and could not get anywhere with it, and she came along and did it to get restaurants to recycle their grease. the fact that it was coming from kids hit harder, the child shall leave them sort of thing. she set the example for the town. and it's great that westerly has a person that we can be proud of and tell the rest of the country. >> if everybody gave a little something back and took a little time out of their day to do something for others, the world would be a better place. [ applause ] ♪
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our next hero comes from a country that is always in my heart, haiti. nearly three years has passed and haiti is still dealing with the aftermath of the earthquake that killed so many. hundreds of thousands of haitians still live in camps where safety, especially for women, is a real concern. like a lot of stories coming out of haiti, this one is difficult to hear and it may be inappropriate for some young viewers, but it needs to be told. please welcome maria bello. [ applause ]
>> in the language there is a term, and it means the center piller of the house, and this is what haitian women are. they are the breadwinners, the teachers, the care givers all across the beautiful country i call my second home. malya villard-appolon knows this, and not because what she is for her family, but also for thousands of women and children who survivored the atrocities of rape and domestic violence. i have seen firsthand how lives are transformed because of the extraordinary work of malya and her team. it's inspiring to be with you and josie, to hear from reginald and michelle. all of the women there and the children that witness how
haitian women know what haitian need. they need someone who comforts them in the hospital, files complaints with the police, and recruits young men to be security guards and patrol the camps. someone who hands out whistles and brings flashlights to the darkest places to keep the rapist and criminals away, someone like malya, a pillar of strengths and bringing back hope for women under haiti's blue sky. [ speaking foreign language ]
women, strength and pride, which my friend embodies so fiercely. when i say women, think of all the women that stood up to say no to violence. when i say strength, find it no matter what to help the victims. this is what we feel when we feel pride every time we do the work that we do. malya would like to say thank you, because without the support of madre, and our other partners, we wouldn't be here today. thank you so much. merci. >> merci. [ applause ] incredibly inspiring story. car crashes -- you may not know
this. car crashes are the number one cause of death for teenagers in the united states, and one-third is alcohol related. the next hero is laying down a life-saving challenge to those in montana, and he helps keep young people alive through his support, josh duhamel. ♪ >> hello. under montana's big sky in the city of butte, there's a road with a white fence, and along that fence you will find a cross that bears the name mariah, and it's only a block from where she lived and it's marks the place where she was walking with friends when a drunk driver hit and killed this wonderful 14-year-old girl. sometimes you might see her
father, leo mccarthy, there on bended knee, leaving some flowers and decorating the spot with jack o lanterns for halloween, or wiping a tear leo started mariah's challenge, a scholarship for students who pledge not to drink before they are 21 and never get in a car who has been drinking. so far 8,000 young people have taken this pledge. it shows how a young father's tears can bring change to a city, a state, an entire generation of young people. >> my town is butte, montana. it has a great history of hard
living. the right of passage here of drinking seems to start in teenage years. that culture has continued even when our society has changed. mariah was so full of fun. october 27th, 2007, mariah was 14. she was plowed over by a drunk driver. our innocence was changed and the town's innocence was changed. it was time to look at the reflection and say we can be better. i am going to talk to you because i lost someone like you. the groups i talk to around montana are from seventh grade
until seniors in high school, if they take mariah's challenge, we will give them money for college or a trade school. >> i am the voice of mariah's challenge. mariah is the face of mariah's challenge, and the breathing face are you people, it's about you changing a culture. you know, this nation we lose somebody every 15 minutes to alcohol-related fatalities. what is so unbelievable, it can change. >> first we can start with the weekends, when you are home alone and there's that temptation. i think the best that we can do is, like i said before, lead by example. >> we all know what type of town we have, but the town is
changing and this culture is changing, and we can stop this from one presentation to another, i hope i connect with one person. it's a great feeling to have youth come up and say i am mariah's challenge. >> you just gave a lot of courage to me. thank you. >> be strong, okay. you are my hero. >> mariah's challenge is butte's gift to the state of montana and the united states. these kids have a chance to grow old. i know she is smiling. i think she would be damn proud of it. i will do mariah's challenge until we don't need it. if it can change here, it can happen anywhere else. [ applause ]
>> it is my honor to present cnn hero, leo mccarthy. [ applause ] >> i am just one dad who loved his daughter with all his heart. mariah's challenge is saving lives across montana, and i don't see why it can't be done around the world. talk to your kids. let's change the culture and keep these promising, smart, funny, vibrant kids alive.
we need them. thank you. [ applause ] next, ne-yo performs before we announce the 2012 hero of the year. and bp's also committed to america. we support nearly 250,000 jobs and invest more here than anywhere else. we're working to fuel america for generations to come. our commitment has never been stronger.
♪ is for you to do the same for me. ♪ ♪ even heroes need heroes sometimes. ♪ ♪ and even the strong need someone to tell them it's all right ♪ ♪ even heroes need heroes sometimes ♪ ♪ will you be my hero tonight ♪ just look up ♪ up so high ♪ just above you is where i fly ♪ ♪ but if i fall from the sky, owe you can i rely ♪ ♪ i will protect you from the world whenever i can, but will you do the same for me now and again ♪ ♪ oh, because even heroes need
heroes sometimes ♪ ♪ and even the strong need someone to tell them it's all right ♪ ♪ even heroes need heroes sometimes ♪ ♪ will you be my hero tonight ♪ come to my rescue ♪ do for me as i do for you ♪ be my guide when i am blind ♪ cause no one can be strong all the time ♪ ♪ ♪ even heroes need heroes
[ applause ] coming up, we reveal the 2012 cnn hero of the year. try running four. fortunately we've got ink. it gives us 5x the rewards on our internet, phone charges and cable, plus at office supply stores. rewards we put right back into our business. this is the only thing we've ever wanted to do and ink helps us do it. make your mark with ink from chase.
welcome back. cnn has awarded each of our incredible top ten heroes $50,000 to carry on their inspiring work. in addition, the foundation which is a leading supporter of nonprofits worldwide is providing free training on fund-raising and communications and management and more. now we gave you the opportunity to go to cnn.com and vote for the hero of the year, and more than 5 million votes were casts around the world and all of our heroes received an immense amount of support. the hero of the year will receive an additional $250,000 grant to continue their work.
>> thank you so much. this award means a lot to me, and still a lot of children living in the prison, and definitely mum will take you out of the prison and you are coming to live at my place, and this is going back to my country in nepal. thank you so much for those of you that believed in my dream. thank you. >> i want to invite all of our honorees back onstage. please continue to help their causes by donating at cnnheroes.com. i hope some of tonight's heroes have inspired you to bring more good to the world, and