This week I have something extra special for you. I don’t want to ruin the surprise—but this is awe-inspiring, motivating and totally uplifting.
Here’s a hint: it’s all about heroes.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve got a big list of people I admire. People who make me think and feel and helped me heal. And most importantly, folks who inspire me to take action, in some way—from teachers, mentors, doctors, and activists, to friends and family members, and everyday people who I don’t know personally, but applaud from afar.
Heroes make our world a better place through their energy and actions. They’re the ones who shine a light on the areas of darkness that we’re often too afraid or unwilling to address. And guess what? Heroes can be anyone—even our fur friends. In fact, I’ve known quite a few remarkable critters who’ve done more to change the world than we give them credit for.
So, last year I decided to share my inspiration with you by starting a love project on social media called the #HeroOfTheMonth. If you follow me on Instagram, Facebook, & Twitter, you’re probably familiar with it. If not, hop on board (I share lots of other valuable and fun stuff there, too)!
Anyway, the purpose of the #HeroOfTheMonth project was to get their amazing work seen by a wider audience. I’m so lucky to have such a big platform and want to share it!
Well, I thought it would be fun to do a round-up of all the heroes I chose, tell you a little something about their work and take it one step further by creating a little award for two spectacular winners. (it was gonna be one award, but it was too hard to pick, they’re all winners!)
So it would mean the world me if you join me in celebrating our winners. Hit play and get ready to be supercharged and super-inspired!
Here’s a roundup of ALL our wonderful 2017 Heroes!
Take a look at this list of ah-mazing humans, starting with our two winners. Follow them, support them, and let them inspire you!
Sophie Gamand began Pit Bull Flower Power, a series of photos of pit bulls wearing beautiful flower crowns to help change the “violent” perception of this precious breed. Sophie travels around the U.S. photographing shelter dogs for free, to help bring awareness to their fate, and help them get adopted. Learn more here.
Haile Thomas is a 16 year old health activist, popular blogger, plant-based chef and founder and CEO of The Happy Org, a non-profit empowering youth to plant-power up and thrive. She also advocates for underserved/at-risk communities by offering life-changing health and disease prevention education programs. Learn more here.
BJ Miller is the Executive Director of the Zen Hospice Project and a palliative care specialist at the University of California San Francisco. B.J. lost both of his legs and one arm during an accident. He harnessed his experience to pioneer a new model of end of life care in hospice settings. He connects art, spirituality, and medicine to improve the way we die. Learn more here.
Julia Olson is the Executive Director and Chief Legal Counsel of Our Children’s Trust, where she works with youth on advocacy and engagement for protecting the environment. After becoming a mom, Julia realized the greatest threat to humanity is climate change, so she’s working to empower youth to take a leading role in environmental causes. Learn more here.
The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust is the most successful orphan-elephant rescue and rehabilitation program in the world and one of the pioneering conservation organizations for wildlife and habitat protection in East Africa. Learn more here.
Pets of the Homeless is the only national organization focused exclusively on feeding and providing veterinary care to pets of the homeless. Founded by Genevieve Frederick, this organization believes that no pet should go hungry or suffer. Learn more here.
The Holistic Life Foundation is a Baltimore-based nonprofit committed to nurturing the wellness of children and adults in underserved communities. They help children develop their inner lives through yoga, mindfulness, and self-care. Learn more here.
Friends of the Feathered and Furry Wildlife Center is dedicated to helping injured and orphaned wildlife in New York State. Founded by Missy Runyan, a licensed wildlife rehabilitator and powerhouse, they also offer educational programs to teach communities how to peacefully coexist with wildlife and to know how to help them when they’re in need. Learn more here.
Growing Home is Chicago’s leading expert in farm-based work training for people with employment barriers. They provide 25 hours per week of paid on-the-job training at their farms to underserved communities, using vacant lots to provide fresh produce and jobs. Learn more here.
Dr. Anita Krajnc is an animal rights activist and co-founder of Toronto Pig Save, an organization that exists to erect glass walls at area slaughterhouses and encourage plant-based lifestyles. Learn more here.
Roots & Shoots, founded by Dr. Jane Goodall, this organization is dedicated to creating a new generation of conservationists. They seek to empower and encourage young people to become leaders to ensure a better future for people, animals and the environment. Learn more here.
Asuka Takita, is a veterinarian who manages the Mara Conservancy’s anti-poaching canine unit in Masai Mara, Kenya. She also co-founded Tears of African Elephants, an elephant conservation and anti-poaching organization. Her fearless work has led to the arrests of approximately 3,476 poachers over the last 16 years. Learn more here.