In a star-studded awards ceremony Tuesday, CNN named its Hero of the Year for 2015 – Maggie Doyne from New Jersey. Ms. Doyne used the income she saved from her babysitting job to help change the lives of women and children in Nepal.
Ten years ago, Maggie Doyne went on a backpacking trip to Nepal, which opened her eyes to the plight of many women and children in the country. She used $5,000 from her savings to buy land in Nepal. Working with the community there, she built the Kopila Valley Children’s Home, a woman’s center as well as a school. She also established a foundation called BlinkNow, which supports what she built in Nepal.
Maggie Doyne was chosen as the number one by the audience of CNN through online voting. She received $10,000 as a personal reward plus another $100,000 for her foundation. Each of the other nine heroes also received $10,000. Aside from the cash reward each of the 10 heroes will receive training from the Annenberg Foundation, which will provide them with Annenberg Alchemy program’s customized versions tailored to the specific needs of their own organizations. The event will be shown worldwide on CNN on December 6.
The other nine heroes of 2015
Dr. Jim Withers had been dressing up as a homeless for several years to provide medical care to the real homeless on the streets of Pittsburgh. His Operation Safety Net is now a community program. He also founded the Street Medicine Institute. Monique Pool established the Green Heritage Fund Suriname to help in the rescue, rehabilitation and release of sloths and other animals back into their native habitat. Pastor Richard Joyner started a community garden in Conetoe, North Carolina to alleviate malnutrition of parishioners. The Conetoe Family Life Center now manages over 20 plots of land with the help of over 80 local youths.
Afghanistan and Iraq combat veteran Sean Gobin established Warrior Hike, a nonprofit that provides combat veterans with supplies and equipment for long distance hikes. He established the foundation to help these war heroes process the war experiences that troubled them. Bhagwati Agrawal from Rajasthan established Sustainable Innovations to create a rainwater harvesting system. It was meant to provide safe drinking water to six villages in India’s driest region where over 10,000 people reside. Kim Carter, who is from San Bernardino, California established the Time for Change, a nonprofit that provides job training, counseling, housing and other services to women, many of whom used to be incarcerated. Rochelle Ripley is fulfilling the promise she made to her grandmother to help the Lakota people through the nonprofit she established called Hawkwing. Jody Farley-Berens’ Singleton Moms provides financial, emotional and practical support to single parents suffering from cancer. Dr. Daniel Ivankovich established the nonprofit OnePatient Global Health Initiative in Chicago to enable him to provide medical treatments to patients whether they can pay or not.
Image credit:Allie Torgan / CNN