Who will be named the Top CNN Hero of the Year and receive $100,000 to boost their selfless projects to help others around the world? Tonight we will find out.
All 10 finalists will walk down the same red carpet as the celebrities for the 5th annual CNN Heroes awards show broadcast LIVE on CNN.
Televised award shows normally hail athletes and entertainers for their latest career accomplishments. But tonight in Los Angeles, the celebrities will honor inspiring citizens working to make the world a better place.
The Top 10 CNN Heroes will each have their story told by celebrities, including The Black Eyed Peas’ will.i.am, Jerry Seinfeld, Mary-Louise Parker, Miley Cyrus, Kid Rock and NFL Super Bowl champ and MVP quarterback Kurt Warner. (See all 10 heroes’ stories at CNNHeroes.com.)
Kid Rock will be performing the song “Care” from his platinum-selling album “Born Free,” while Miley Cyrus will be performing her triple-platinum hit “The Climb.”
Each person in the Top 10 receives a $50,000 grant. At the end of the tribute show, hosted by Anderson Cooper, one of the Top 10 will be announced as the CNN Hero of the Year and receive an additional $250,000.
The Hero of the Year was chosen by the public in an online vote that ended Thursday.
The CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute, hosted by Anderson Cooper, will air tonight, Sunday, Dec. 11, live at 8:00 PM ET.
“We hope to empower these selfless individuals to persevere in their humanitarian efforts to create progress,” said Jim Walton, president of CNN Worldwide.
Here are the Top 10 Heroes of 2011, several of whom were featured in the Good News Network:
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. (See the GNN story)
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. See GNN Story (subscription only)
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 pregnancy and birth.
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. See GNN story (subscription only).
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. See GNN Story (subscription only)
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.