In 2004 I was inspired to find a way to recognize and honor the individuals and organizations that work tirelessly and unselfishly to help others and to strengthen our communities.
At that time, I decided to form a non-profit called Heroes Among Us. For a few years it went well. Heroes Among Us promoted several worthy individuals and organizations, held awards luncheons and, hopefully, inspired others to support our recipients causes.
Heroes Among Us was one of my proudest accomplishments but it lost momentum and, eventually, ended because my plate became too full. That was my fault. A worthwhile endeavor that made me happy was lost because I didn’t make it a priority. Has that ever happened to you?
I’ve decided to “dust off” the Heroes Among Us initiative and make it a priority. What has given me this second wind of inspiration? I plan on sharing that story in the near future.
In the meantime, I thought it would be fun to check in on a few of the original Heroes Among Us award recipients.
In 2007 Heroes Among Us recognized Kling Street Kids. The grassroots effort was borne when two sisters, Callie and Cadie Stark, decided to raise funds for Children’s Hospital Los Angeles so that young patients could enjoy the Christmas season. Today, Kling Street Kids is going strong and has raised an impressive $144,000 for Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. The two-day event has become a holiday staple in the community of Toluca Lake. Learn how you can support this worthy organization at http://www.klingstreetkids.org/
In 2006 Heroes Among Us recognized Kid Flicks. Kid Flicks is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization that donates movie libraries of 100 assorted DVDs to Children’s Hospitals and Pediatric Departments throughout the country.
Sisters Lexi, Romi, Marni and Berni co-founded Kid Flicks in 2002 after donating their own collection of movies to the Pediatric Oncology Department of Cedar Sinai Hospital.
Kid Flicks receives DVD donations from individuals throughout the country as well as from movie production companies and studios. With these donations, they compile movie libraries, which they ship to hospitals in all 50 states. Monetary donations along with grants provide funding for shipping costs.
Through providing these movie libraries, Kid Flicks helps children cope with what may be a painful and scary experience. As of February 24, 2016 Kid Flicks has donated 102,700 movies to over 900 hospitals and long term care facilities for medically fragile children throughout the United States and South Africa. Learn how you can support this worthy organization at http://www.kidflicks.org/
In 2005 Heroes Among Us recognized Shane’s Inspiration. In 1997, Shane Alexander Williams came into his parents’ lives for a beautiful but brief moment. Born with spinal muscular atrophy, Shane passed away two weeks after his birth. Through their profound grief, Catherine Curry-Williams and Scott Williams began searching for a way to honor their son’s life. They soon realized that Shane’s disability would have prevented him from playing on a playground with other children. At that time, there were no truly accessible playgrounds in the Western United States.
So a year later, Catherine, Scott, and close friend Tiffany Harris, were rallying friends, family, and community leaders to build the very first Universally Accessible Playground in California. In 2000, they cut the ribbon on “Shane’s Inspiration Playground” in LA’s Griffith Park, beginning a wave of inclusive play that would change our city forever.
Shane’s Inspiration has grown from that one playground to a network of 56 inclusive playgrounds throughout the world, with another 75 in development. They have seven international playgrounds in Mexico, Israel, Canada, Ecuador and Russia. Their education and community outreach programs, which work to eliminate bias against children with disabilities, has directly served over 35,000 children in over 150 schools. Learn how you can support this worthy organization at http://www.shanesinspiration.org/
Heroes Among Us is based on a simple idea: shine a spotlight on the individuals and organizations that are making a difference in our communities and inspiring and lifting others through their extraordinary work. I need your help. I need you to point me to these heroes via the Heroes Among Us page so I can share their stories.
Until next time,