2016 CNN Top 10 Heroes, Who Stand Out Above The Rest Now?
Annual CNN Heroes event is taking place tonight and will feature some celebrity appearances! This year, 10 amazing young men and women are being recognized. The causes they support vary as much as their backgrounds but they have all dedicated their lives to changing the world.
Each of these heroes will receive a $10,000 cash prize. One of the 10 will be named "CNN Hero of the Year," and receive an additional $100,000 for his or her cause.
Their efforts will be highlighted at "CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute," a global broadcast event on CNN. Here are the top 10 CNN Heroes of 2016.
Growing up with cerebral palsy in Colombia, a doctor once told Jeison Aristizábal's mother that he would "amount to nothing." Aristizábal has since started law school and dedicated his life to helping others reach their full potential. His nonprofit, ASODISVALLE, offers young people with disabilities a range of free services, including medical care, physical therapy and healthy meals.
Craig Dodson was a semi-professional cyclist in 2005 when he was asked to speak to a group of students in Richmond, Virginia. He later learned that many in the crowd lived in one of the city's roughest housing projects. Dodson founded the Richmond Cycling Corps in 2010, a nonprofit that coaches cycling teams for at-risk children. For Dodson, cycling is a way into their lives and a path out of the projects.
Sherri Franklin poured her lifelong passion for animals into volunteer work at the San Francisco humane society. Sadly, she noticed older dogs were being passed over in favor of the shelter's puppies. Franklin started Muttville out of her home, a nonprofit that rescues and finds homes for senior dogs -- more than 4,000 so far.
Brad Ludden had already completed nearly 100 "first descents" -- kayak trips down a section of river no one has paddled before. After watching his aunt battle cancer when she was 38, Ludden started First Descents, a nonprofit that brings these once-in-a-lifetime experiences to young adults battling the disease -- with more than 3,000 participants to date.
Luma Mufleh founded a soccer program and school through her organization, the Fugees Family, to address the unique needs of the refugee community in Clarkston, Georgia. Last spring, the Fugees Academy graduated its first class, and Mufleh's group has helped more than 800 refugee children.
Umra Omar left a career in the United States to help people without any access to health care in her homeland of Kenya. Omar founded Safari Doctors, a group that travels by boat, road and air to bring free medical services to more than 1,000 people a year in remote and insecure areas near the Somalia border.
Los Angeles County has the country's largest foster youth population, and when they age out of the system, they're often left on their own.
Smith started the Dovetail Project, which teaches young fathers the life skills necessary to become responsible parents and positive role models.
Nearly twenty years ago, Becca Stevens, an episcopal priest, set out to help the women of Nashville who have been scarred by prostitution, addiction and trafficking. Her nonprofit, Thistle Farms, runs five residential communities in Nashville, providing women a place to stay for two years, medical care, counseling and other services -- all for free.
An encounter with a girl named Stacy changed Harry Swimmer's life. Stacy has cerebral palsy, and meeting her gave Swimmer an idea. Since 1988, his organization, Mitey Riders, has provided more than 800 children with free equine-assisted therapy.
Top 10 Hero will also receive free organizational training from the Annenberg Foundation, a leading supporter of nonprofits worldwide. They will participate in a customized version of the Annenberg Alchemy program, which offers practical guidance to help strengthen organizations for long-term success
Join the Conversation