This is the fifth year CNN has conducted its annual search for CNN Heroes. In those five years, the campaign has profiled more than 160 people on CNN and CNN.com. And there have been roughly 40,000 nominations received from more than 100 countries.
The top 10 — remarkable everyday people changing the world — were revealed by CNN’s Anderson Cooper. All were nominated by CNN viewers inspired by their hard work and commitment. Each of the top 10 received a $50,000 grant and was honored at “CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute,” a globally broadcast event.
Robin Lim, an American woman who has helped thousands of poor Indonesian women have a healthy pregnancy and birth, was nominated as the 2011 CNN Hero of the Year and received an additional $250,000.
Here are the top 10 Heroes of 2011, in alphabetical order:
Eddie Canales’ son was paralyzed during a high school football game in 2001. Today, Canales’ nonprofit, Gridiron Heroes, provides emotional and financial support to high school football players who’ve sustained life-changing spinal cord injuries.
Taryn Davis was just 21 when her husband, an Army corporal, was killed in Iraq. In 2007, she created the American Widow Project. To date, her nonprofit has provided a community of support to more than 900 young military widows.
Sal Dimiceli has spent decades helping people get back on their feet. Through a local newspaper column and his nonprofit, The Time Is Now To Help, Dimiceli assists about 500 people a year with food, rent, utilities and other necessities.
Derreck Kayongo’s Global Soap Project collects partially used hotel soap and reprocesses it to save lives. Since 2009, the Atlanta-based nonprofit has provided about 150,000 bars of soap for communities in 10 countries.
Surrounded by gang violence in her Chicago neighborhood, Diane Latiker opened her home to area youth and started a community program called Kids Off the Block. Since 2003, her program has helped more than 1,500 young people.
Robin Lim became a midwife after her sister died from complications during pregnancy. Since 2003, she and her team in Indonesia have helped thousands of low-income women have a healthy pregnancies and births.
After being stricken with cancer, Patrice Millet dedicated his life to helping children in his native Haiti. His nonprofit youth soccer program provides free equipment, coaching and food to hundreds of participants from the slums and teaches them to become responsible citizens.
Since 2005, chef Bruno Serato has been serving free pasta dinners to children, many of whom are poor and live in motels with their families. Today, Serato provides dinner seven days a week to more than 300 children at the Boys & Girls Club in Anaheim, California.
Richard St. Denis
Since 2008, Richard St. Denis and his organization, World Access Project, have provided hundreds of wheelchairs and mobility aids to people living with disabilities in rural Mexico.
Amy Stokes is redefining “family” for South African children affected by HIV/AIDS and poverty. Her organization, Infinite Family, has connected almost 500 teenage “Net Buddies” with nearly 300 volunteer mentors from all over the world via the Internet.