| Heroes

Unsung Heroes Network, Angel Heart Farm. angelheartfarm

Unsung Heroes Network, Angel Heart Farm. angelheartfarm

U N S

U N G

H E R O E S

N e t w o r k

Est. 1988

 UNSUNG HERoes

Charlie Wedemeyer. John Storey / Getty; angelheartfarm.net; Joy Bianchi. Russell Yip / The Chronicle; The Children's Center Rehabilitation Hospital; MAD DADS. maddads.com 
Check back soon for more Unsung Heroes 

Joy Bianchi

Fashion For A Cause

Joy Venturini Bianchi is just the coolest, chicest philanthropist I’ve ever met. This 78-year-old force of nature fashionista, with her huge signature eye-glasses, is known for attracting famous fashion designers, celebrities and community leaders to a cause unlikely to make headlines. For over 63 years, she has been helping those who are developmentally disabled by providing housing, training, support, awareness and funds. With her latest project, Helpers House of Couture, Joy has translated her love of fashion into a truly charitable operation--receiving clothing donations from around the world and using the proceeds to help support those who are developmentally disabled. This fireball humanitarian makes philanthropy chic, and brings joy to everyone she meets. "Fashion is a personal expression of the inner beauty of each of us. It is a vehicle that Helpers House of Couture uses to bring attention to the inner beauty of those precious, special people who are developmentally disabled. I was raised in a household that focused on the importance of community. It was never about fashion itself, but individual style...it was simply a way of life. It is with those who are weak, those with developmental disabilities that we will discover within our inner being who we are and why we live on this earth."

 

 

Watch in UH Videos section

For more information on Helpers House of Couture.

Video excerpt. Jamie Lai / Mode; Joy Bianchi. Aubrey Pick / Racked

Iris Stevenson

Straight Outta Crenshaw

I'll never forget how much fun we had with Iris Stevenson and her choir students at Crenshaw High School--located right smack-dab in the middle of South Central Los Angeles, one of the roughest neighborhoods in America. Iris grew up in the projects of Buffalo, New York and music afforded her a better life so she wanted to give back. “Somebody once saved me out of despair. I feel I am obligated to do that for this generation.” When Iris first started at Crenshaw, she realized that she could offer her students just about everything that the gangs could. She could offer them something to belong to, a sense of power, a feeling of accomplishment, a framework within which to compete and a chance to be heard. Iris knew that her students just wanted the same thing that everyone wants--a chance to be somebody. Against all odds, the Crenshaw High School Choir has become an award-winning and internationally distinguished choir, and Iris and her students have travelled the world sharing their amazing music. They have played for presidents and world leaders, and were even the inspiration for the movie, Sister Act 2. Iris has become a world-renowned music teacher and has had many offers and opportunities to do other things, but she chooses to stay and teach at Crenshaw High. “They're like my own children. I want them to gain a sense of responsibility, a sense of community and the feeling that they've helped to make the world a better place.” 

Watch in UH Videos section

Iris Stevenson & the Crenshaw High School Choir. Choral Director Mag

Becca Stevens

The Priest & The Prostitutes

I don't know what, exactly, I expected in a priest who helps prostitutes…but Becca Stevens, this unassuming, barefoot, hippy soul, wasn’t it. Becca has dedicated her life to helping women escape prostitution, addiction and trafficking. To get these women off the streets, she established a two-year residency program that offers free housing, education, therapy, job training, legal assistance, food, medical care and more. Although women were thriving in the program, she quickly came to discover that because most of them had criminal records and little job history, there were very few career opportunities for them. So, Becca founded Thistle Farms--a social enterprise that makes bath and body products and is operated by women from the program. Through this organization the women gain experience in manufacturing, sales and marketing, and the proceeds go right back into the program to help more women. Thanks to Becca’s vision, through love and healing, hundreds of women have been given a second chance.

 

Watch in UH Videos section

For more information on Thistle Farms.

Video excerpt. Thistle Farms; Becca Stevens. Hunter Armistead

MAD DADS

Taking Back The Streets

Crime is a concern for all Americans, so I guess it would seem rather surprising to learn that I wasn't at all nervous to be riding around in a van full of men, in the middle of the night, past crack houses and gang hangouts. Excited, yes. Scared, no, because I was with John Foster, Bob Tyler and Eddie Staton. These three dads were fed up with gang violence, crime and the endless flow of illegal drugs in their community, so they banded together and formed MAD DADS (Men Against Destruction, Defending Against Drugs and Social disorder). They eventually founded a national movement that is now serving communities all across the country. Night after night, this group of men takes to the roughest neighborhoods during the darkest and most dangerous hours. They hope that by their presence and influence as positive male role models and mentors, they can help take back their streets and make their communities safer. They are not a substitute for the police, nor do they try to be. They go on peaceful patrols and are embraced by local law enforcement. Mahatma Ghandi said, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” Well these MAD DADS are a force to be reckoned with. They are the force behind change.

For more information on MAD DADS.

MAD DADS of Greater Pittsburgh. pittsburghmaddads.org

W Mitchell

Unluckiest Man Alive

It's hard to comprehend how W Mitchell can be so positive in spite of everything he's been through. He seems like one of the unluckiest people ever. First he was nearly burned alive in a horrific motorcycle accident that left him in a coma for weeks, and with injuries and disfiguring scars that would last a lifetime. Then, a few months later, he was paralyzed in a plane crash. Instead of giving into his pain and suffering, W Mitchell faces his adversity with this simple mindset: it's not what happens to you, it's what you do about it. Not long after recovering from his accidents, he became Mayor of Crested Butte and saved the mountain from corporate strip miners. Now, he’s a successful speaker and author, travelling the world sharing his inspirational message. He's the man who will not be defeated. He’s unstoppable. 

Watch in UH Videos section

W Mitchell. wmitchell.com

Bobby Trimble

Philanthropic Fixer Upper

 

One day, Bobby Trimble was sitting in the men’s Sunday school class he teaches and had an "Aha!" moment. There were low-income disabled and older people in the community who needed help fixing things around their homes. So, Bobby and his class got to work. The first day they built a wheelchair ramp, but they didn’t stop there. Bobby’s idea turned into the local community project Christmas In Action. Eventually, the program became a nationwide success story going far beyond the four walls of the little Sunday school class. Each year, thousands of homes are repaired and thousands of lives are improved. Bobby still rounds up all of the volunteers and donated building supplies, organizes the home repairs and teaches people all across the country how to establish their own programs. It all started with just a group of men, willing and able to put their skills to good use. The idea was a simple one, but the outcome has been rather miraculous.

 

Watch in UH Videos section

For more information on Christmas In Action.

Bobby Trimble. Tim Fischer / Midland Reporter-Telegram

Don Kimbrell

A Farmer's Fight For Family Farms

The first time we spoke to Willie Nelson about the plight of American farmers, was at one of his first Farm Aid concerts. And it was Willie who introduced us to Don Kimbrell, a farmer who has spent most of his life fighting for family farmers and promoting awareness about why family farms are such an important part of our country. “I get discouraged sometimes, but I’m not about to quit. We need people to understand that what happens to farmers will affect them in the end.” In 1979, Don drove a tractor from Happy, Texas to Washington D.C. to make lawmakers aware of the problems plaguing the farming industry. Since then, Don has continued to organize groups of farmers from all over the country, to peacefully rally and bring attention to the issues still facing family farms.

 

“We started out to save the family farmer. Now it looks like the family farmer is going to save us.” - Willie Nelson

Watch in UH Videos section

For information on Farm Aid.

Charles Strobel

Where There's Always Room In The Inn

When I met Charles Strobel, he insisted that I not refer to him as an unsung hero. He is just a really humble, big-hearted guy with a simple message of hope. He was once a priest who handed out sandwiches to the hungry and found the homeless a place to sleep, but he felt like he had to do more. So Charlie became a voice for the homeless in the Nashville community and founded one of the most progressive homeless programs in the country, Room In The Inn. He calls the facility the Center for Human Development, referring to the fact that the staff and volunteers get just as much out of the experience as the people served. The program is one of the most advanced in the country, and organizations from all over have modeled their own programs after it. Charlie may not consider himself noble, but he is giving hope to the hopeless and homes to the homeless, and that’s what a hero is to me.

 

Watch in UH Videos section

For more information on Room In The Inn.

Charles Strobel. Shelley Mays / The Tennessean

Tracy Kujawa

A Little Place To Heal

As I drove the last couple of miles on my way to meet Tracy Kujawa, through winding, back country-roads, I could feel the stress of the day melt away. It was so peaceful. I could see why this place was so healing. Although Tracy looked right at home, her path to this magical place was rocky. Tracy grew up in the country, and her parents were hardworking farmers. In her twenties she worked as a wardrobe stylist for country music stars, but her mother's terminal cancer diagnosis drew her back to the farm. While spending time at her mother’s bedside, Tracy received the shocking news that she, too, had cancer. Eventually, she lost her mother, father and many other close family members to the disease, and she survived it herself a staggering four times. Through her suffering and despair, she turned to her horses for help. “I always think of horses as angels, because my horse is an angel to me. She took care of me when I was sick and she always watched over me like a guardian angel.” One night, Tracy had a powerful dream about bald-headed children riding horses. It was a dream she couldn't shake. So she founded Angel Heart Farm-- a place for chronically and terminally ill children and their families to escape the sterile confines of a hospital room, and experience some joy through horses and nature. At no cost to the families, the farm is a place for kids to just be kids. Tracy may not be curing any illnesses, but she sure is making a big difference in the lives of these sweet little children. "What I've been though is nothing compared to what these kids go through. When I'm having a bad day they give me a big hug and kiss and tell me they love me and the horses...you can't ask for anything more than that."

                                                                                 

For more information on Angel Heart Farm.

Tracy Kujawa. Tess Maune / News On 6 KOTV 

Please reload

UH Videos

Joy Bianchi | :55

Fashion For A Cause

Don Kimbrell | 1:30

A Farmer's Fight For Family Farms

Becca Stevens | 1:36

The Priest & The Prostitutes

Iris Stevenson | 3:37

Straight Outta Crenshaw

W. Mitchell | 1:05

Unluckiest Man Alive

Charles Stroebel | 1:01

Where There's Always Room In The Inn

Bobby Trimble | 1:05

Philanthropic Fixer Upper

Please reload

Russell Yip / The Chronicle
twitter: @petesouza44
Jo Freeman / jofreeman.com
thistlefarms.org
christmasinactionindy.org
angelheartfarm.net
maddads.com
The Children's Center Rehabilitation Hospital
P. Casey Daley / The Tennessean
angelheartfarm.net
Show More
Lindsey Freitas / Nourishing the Planet
John Storey / Getty
Aubrie Pick / Racked SF
Michelle Tran / MAD DADS
elpasobaptistclinic.org
The Children's Center Rehabilitation
Show More

info@unsungheroesnetwork.com© 2016 by Unsung Heroes.

  • Black Instagram Icon
  • Black Facebook Icon
  • Black YouTube Icon
  • Black Twitter Icon

info@unsungheroesnetwork.com© 2017 by Unsung Heroes | Richardson Carroll Productions