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A Trusted Friend in a Complicated World

The Power of 1: Inspiring People Making a Difference

Stories that will inspire you.

1 / 23

Allison Winn: Giving Dogs and Love to Kids With Cancer

Allison’s Stink Bug Project pairs dogs from the Colorado Correctional Industries Prison Trained K9 Companion Program with families battling childhood cancer.

2 / 23

Charlie Starbuck: The Lou Gehrig of Tree Planting

Every week for nearly 30 years, San Francisco resident Charlie Starbuck has planted trees with Friends of the Urban Forest, a nonprofit group.

3 / 23

Erin Hurley: Rehabilitating Former Racehorses

Erin and the South Jersey Thoroughbred Rescue & Adoption has rehabilitated and trained hundreds of retired horses for adoption, sparing them pitiful existences, even death.

4 / 23

Richard Kitumba: Helping the Orphans of Democratic Republic of the Congo

Richard Kitumba rescues orphans from the war-torn Democratic Republic of the Congo through his nonprofit organization, City of Refuge International.

5 / 23

Paul Stamets: The Healing Power of Mushrooms

Paul Stamets uses a love of mushrooms to drive home the notion that small, individual actions have earthshaking potential.

6 / 23

Austen Pearce: Growing Food for the Needy

At 10 years old, this young gardener wanted to grow fruits and vegetables locally. Four years later, he’s supplying 200 needy families with fresh produce.

7 / 23

Laurie Marker: Saving Africa’s Cheetahs

Laurie Marker has worked for decades to help save Africa’s endangered cheetahs. Now based in Namibia, she founded the Cheetah Conservation Fund in 1990.

8 / 23

Caitlin Crommett: Wish Doctor

Inspired by the movie Patch Adams, Caitlin Crommett founded Dream Catchers to grant wishes to terminally ill patients.

9 / 23

Bill Gross: Farmers’ Friend

UPS pilot Bill Gross’s organization Farm Rescue has helped almost 150 farm families in North and South Dakota, Minnesota, and Montana.

10 / 23

Lisa Klein: Collecting Baby Clothes for the Needy

Loved Twice, a nonprofit founded by Lisa Klein, distributes gently used baby clothes to hospitals and shelters throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.

11 / 23

Nancy Lawlor: A Fine Bouquet

Nancy Lawlor’s nonprofit organization, FlowerPower, collects bouquets of flowers from weddings and hotels and distributes them to people in need.

12 / 23

Bradie James: Tackling Cancer

Dallas Cowboys linebacker Bradie James hopes the breast cancer foundation he started in memory of his mother helps families avoid going through what his family went through.

13 / 23

Carolee Hazard: Paying It Forward

Carolee Hazard’s 93 Dollar Club has raised thousands of dollars for food banks and is a true example of the power of paying it forward.

14 / 23

Troy Yocum: Walking for War Vets

Troy Yocum collects donations through his website and delivers checks to needy military families. He plans to raise 5 million by hiking 7000 miles… while playing a drum.

15 / 23

Jacob Rice: Shoe Giver of Tampa

Jacob Rice is making sure the kids in East Tampa don’t go barefoot by working to provide them with shoes through his charity, Shoe Giver of Tampa.

16 / 23

Laura Miller: Agent of Anonymous Acts of Kindness

Making people smile is Laura Miller’s passion.She began anonymously bringing kindness to the people of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania but now counts more than 1,600 people in her cause.

17 / 23

Ubuntu Africa: Helping Children with HIV

After graduation, Whitney Johnson began a fund-raising effort that eventually gleaned enough money to found Ubuntu Africa (UBA), a nonprofit organization intended to provide services for HIV-positive kids ages 4 to 18 in Khayelitsha.

18 / 23

It Happened to Alexa: Helping the Families of Rape Survivors

The only organization of its kind, the It Happened to Alexa Foundation provides funding for victims’ families so that they are able to accompany their loved ones to court.

19 / 23

Claire Wolff: Inspiring Children at the Urban Studio Café

At the Urban Studio Cafe in St. Louis, Missouri, Claire Wolff helps kids gain work skills, a chance to express their creativity, and form relationships with their neighbors.

20 / 23

Zachary Bonner: Walking Miles for Kids In Need

Despite his age, Zach has a long history of helping others. Learn how this ambitious young boy is helping kids in need, one step at a time.

21 / 23

Pam Sloane’s Green Initiative for Education (GIVE)

Pam Sloane’s idea grew into a way to teach kids how appreciate what the land does for us.

22 / 23

Zakiya Harris: Bringing Green Jobs to Urban Youths

Zakiya Harris is teaching green, educating urban youths about sustainable living and providing training for green jobs.

23 / 23

Roberta Dehman Hershon: Making Gardens for Breast Cancer Patients

Hershon launched Hope in Bloom to create free gardens for breast cancer patients. 110 gardens have been planted throughout Massachusetts.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest