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CNN Live Event/Special

A CNN Special Presentation: "Champions For Change". Aired 8-9p ET

Aired September 25, 2021 - 20:00   ET



PAMELA BROWN, CNN HOST: I'll see you tomorrow night, starting at 6:00 Eastern.



VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: All the changes happening now ni the world can really feel unsettling. But lots of people are harnessing the power of change, making it a force for good.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: Twelve CNN anchors set out to find those changemakers, the ones smashing down barriers and lifting up society. These are their stories. These are the champions for change.

BLACKWELL: Welcome to "CHAMPIONS FOR CHANGE." I'm Victor Blackwell.

CAMEROTA: And I'm Alisyn Camerota.

Tonight, we are spotlighting people who are making the world a better place by changing the way things get done. They're not famous. They don't make headlines.

BLACKWELL: They are innovators and problem solvers, every day people with extraordinary ideas.

Let's start with our colleague, Kate Bolduan. She cares passionately about the oceans. And she met a woman stiving to make seafood sustainable, from boat to kitchen to plate.


KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Captain, how are you? May we board?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, permission to board.

BOLDUAN: Thank you, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're going to try to catch.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's what we're going to try to catch. BOLDUAN (on camera): I grew up fishing with my family and my dad and

mom all through my childhood. I love seafood. I love fish. And I did not understand how close to extinction some of my favorite fish were.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's the target species.


(on camera): How's the season been? Like has it been a good one?

GUY BUONO, FISHING GUIDE: Regulations has paid off. Now, if you catch a 40 pounder, it has to be released.

BOLDUAN: It's stronger than I expected it to be.

Holy smoke show. This is lunch.

How big is the problem of overfishing?

JENN DIANTO KEMMERLY, VICE PRESIDENT, GLOBAL OCEAN INITIATIVES, MONTEREY BAY AQUARIUM: It's big. There are three billion people on this planet who rely on fish as their main source of protein and for their livelihoods.

BOLDUAN: What is the main reason overfishing is a problem?

KEMMERLY: We are catching too many fish. It's not well regulated all over the world.

We start looking at the impacts on things like sea grass beds, coastal mangroves. These are all ecosystems that fish, marine life and people need to survive.

BOLDUAN (voice-over): Jenn Dianto Kemmerly has been fighting for fish for decades. Not just to save them but to conserve the oceans so there's enough for all of us to share.

UNIDENTIFIED BOY: The real question here is, how do we save (INAUDIBLE)?

BOLDUAN: Seafood Watch in general has opened my eyes to better alternatives.

KEMMERLY: The idea for Seafood Watch actually came out of an exhibit.

When we put this program together, we thought about what's our ultimate goal here. To make consumers aware there's a problem that individuals should change purchasing habits in support of more ocean friendly seafood.

We created a little pocket guide. We put it in our cafe. They started disappearing. We're on to something.

BOLDUAN: That's what I love about Seafood Watch. It's not a "you shouldn't". It's a let's empower you to make a great choice. KEMMERLY: We really wanted to get businesses, retailers and food

service companies, individual restaurants, to make a commitment that they would source only from responsible fisheries.

BOLDUAN: Wow. You can taste the sea. It's so yummy.

(voice-over): Big name chefs like Kerry Heffernan have joined this fight against overfishing. From catch to table, he uses Seafood Watch every day.

KERRY HEFFERNAN, EXECUTIVE CHEF, GRAND BANKS & PILOT: As chefs, we have an opportunity to spread that awareness. People have confidence in us. Once we can deliver them something like this in this format, there's a lot more buy in.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's a beauty.

BOLDUAN: Why I care about this is I want the seafood that I know, love and eat today to be around for my kids. Without Seafood Watch and without conservation efforts like this, that's not guaranteed anymore.

Seafood Watch is the most recognized seafood rating program. It's an innovative and extremely effective solution to a worldwide problem.

I not only love her passion for this, she grew up around the water. She's a diver. I'm a diver. When you are under the water and in this magical aquatic world, you realize how small we are in their enormous world.


But also, the outsized impact that human activity has had on really what are defenseless creatures.


CAMEROTA: Now, from the open sea to the swimming pool. CNN Anchor Don Lemon dives in with a synchronized swim team that teaches kids water safety and puts a new spin on ageing gracefully.


DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: You're going to help me teach them? Boy.


LEMON: Coach Foote inspires me to get back in touch with what I love, which is swimming and teaching people how to swim. Water is my happy place. If I didn't have it, I would probably not be very healthy mentally and emotionally.

Tell me about Harlem Honeys and Bears.

FOOTE: Harlem Honeys and Bears is a synchronized swim team. LEMON: For seniors?

FOOTE: For seniors.

In 1975, there were only women on the team. And they said they would call themselves Honeys. But then after a few years, the men decided that they wanted to join the team and they decided they wanted to be the Bears. So now we got the Honey and Bears.


FOOTE: We do synchronize swimming and competitive swimming. Some are on walkers, some of them have canes. But what they enjoy most is once they get in the water, they feel free.

I've been the coach since 1995. So, it's a little better than 25 years.


FOOTE: My oldest swimmer now is 99 years old.

LETTICE GRAHAM, SYNCHRONIZED SWIMMER: Believe it or not, I've been swimming since age 64. Mr. Foote he's the best coach in the world. He has a lot of patience. Because anyone dealing with seniors that we think we know everything anyway.

FOOTE: You got to get out of the way. You're taking too long.

LEMON: Do you have a reputation?

FOOTE: Yes. I have a reputation of being too hard. But it's all in love.

Taking too long and it's too much conversation.

Some of my seniors sometimes they say, well, Coach, you know we're 80 years old. I said you are as old as you feel because one of the words that I never want to hear on my team is I can't. One of the things that I like about the team is they motivate one another.

LEMON: Now and for the next generation, the Harlem Honeys and Bears teach children and teens water safety skills through their youth learn to swim program.

FOOTE: On three. One, two, three.

LEMON: Coach, it's important for all kids to learn how to swim. But why it's so important do you think for black kids to learn how to swim?

FOOTE: Black kids drown twice as much as any other ethnic group. They didn't have the opportunity.

LEMON: They got rid of the community pools because they didn't want the races mixing. They fill the pool either with concrete or with dirt where I grew up because they didn't want people mixing.

And that's one reason why a lot of black kids didn't learn how to swim in the '50s and '60s.

FOOTE: Right. Because the only thing they were able to do was play in the fire hydrants, you know. And then sometimes they would sneak into the pools late at night. And that's how all kids started drowning.

LEMON: Whenever I hear that people can't swim, it makes me sad, and it also infuriates me because I know somewhere along the way that they didn't have someone like our Coach Foote, who took them under their wing to teach them how to swim.

FOOTE: There you go! There you go!

LEMON: And I immediately want to get in the pool with them and teach them.

Probably around 13 years old, I became a lifeguard. I helped my sisters, who were older than me, to swim. I helped them become better swimmers. I taught my nieces to swim in the backyard pool, get in, and both of my great nephews.


FOOTE: One of the things that I do for my seniors and as well for the youth teams are things that were taught for me. And I enjoy giving back the things that I've learned.

LEMON: Can you imagine doing anything else?

FOOTE: I can't imagine doing anything else or being anywhere else than with my seniors.

And I just love them. I just love them. Those are my people. Those are my peeps, as you may say. Yes.


CAMEROTA: OK, that was awesome. And synchronized swimming looks harder.

BLACKWELL: And one participant, 99 years old, still in the pool.

CAMEROTA: Really impressive.

And Don Lemon as a lifeguard was another thing I didn't know.

BLACKWELL: And now we know.


Next "CHAMPIONS FOR CHANGE," I will introduce my champion. Despite the cliche, it takes more than bootstraps to pull yourself up. That's why my changemaker is helping men in need suit up for success.


BLACKWELL: Welcome back.

Men just out of prison have to overcome a lot of challenges to fully rejoin society. My champion for change is giving them support they desperately need. She is suiting them for success on the outside and the inside.


SHARA MONDY, CEO & FOUNDER, SUITED FOR SUCCESS: I have actually been called, you're that suit lady, right? It just makes me smile.

BLACKWELL (voice over): Shara Mondy is my champion. She founded Suited for Success in north Florida.

MONDY: I founded Suited for Success in 2004. We provide professional business attire, suits, shirts, accessories for men in transition, seeking employment. Nobody else was meeting the career needs of men.

BLACKWELL (on camera): I'm passionate about anti-recidivism efforts because the system obviously is broken. There needs to be a bridge to support the men who are being released. And this charity is that bridge.

MONDY: I started with some of my friends. I asked them if they had any extra suits because I wanted to suit a couple of guys in jail. They were going to their court appearances and they would wear the jail scrubs.

So we got a couple of the guys dressed to go to their court appearance, and we found out later it made a huge impact on the judge.

BLACKWELL (voice over): Not all of the men Shara suits up are ex- offenders. Some are homeless or veterans or young men who just need their first suit.

MONDY: We work with pretty much any male that's in transition, seeking employment.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're going to take simple, basic steps.

MONDY: We don't just provide a suit. We provide job readiness, coaching, mentoring, resumes, making sure that they're fully ready for employment.


If you're telling a man to get out of jail, get a job, take care of your family, you have to give them career employment.

If I can get one man to get in the role of the father, take care of his children, and do what he really wants to do, then that's the success part for me.

Today, Suited for Success is hosting our first suit drive of 2021. One of our slogans is "Each One, Reach One" because the guys that we

suit and help them, they get a job, they come back and reach back for a young man who's just coming out of what they went through.

EUGENE DARIUS, CLIENT, SUITED FOR SUCCESS: She's putting us around men that can lead us in that right direction and pull us up, which is exactly what we need in today's world.

BLACKWELL (on camera): I met you 15 years ago. I lost a lot of weight, and my whole television wardrobe was too big. So, I started looking for places to donate, and I found Suited for Success. And I thought, oh, this is perfect.

But once I met you and realized how personal this was for you, and still is for you, and that's why I've supported you for all of these years.

MONDY: I know for a fact that we've given out over a million items of clothing.

BLACKWELL: A million items.

MONDY: A million items.

BLACKWELL: Are those mine? This one?

MONDY: That was your fav.

BLACKWELL: This is my fav. This was hard to let go of.

MONDY: I know, right. Well, you know it was in good hands.

BLACKWELL: I know this is personal for you. I didn't always know why.

MONDY: Right.

BLACKWELL: Now I know why.

MONDY: This is my son, Jamez.

BLACKWELL (voice over): When Jamez got in trouble for unpaid speeding tickets, Shara saw how easily one mistake could derail a young man's life.

JAMEZ DELONG, SON OF SHARA MONDY: I commend this lady because she's never ever, ever, ever gave up on me and that's why I'm here.

BLACKWELL (on camera): Shara, when you're helping a man in their late 20s, early 30s, how often are you thinking about Jamez?

MONDY: Always. Especially going into the juvenile jail. I saw so many Jamezes there.

BLACKWELL: The norm is to dismiss these men, to expect that they will reoffend. (voice-over): Shara not only challenges that. She rejects it. She

knows that these men, if given the support, if given the resources, can build lives to rebuild their family.

The status quo is not acceptable. And she knows that that has to be challenged.

MONDY: I'm not only giving them a suit. I'm giving them their dignity. I'm giving them that spark that they thought they didn't have because they felt they were less than someone else.

It's amazing what just feeling the part in a new suit can do.


BLACKWELL: And there are so many success stories from the 15 years at least I have known about the program.

CAMEROTA: I feel like your ties have become collector items.

BLACKWELL: I hope so. I hope they get to the men who really, really need it.

CAMEROTA: I'm so glad she is helping men break the cycle. That is what's needed.

All right, Anderson Cooper met another champion helping turn their lives around. Before the pandemic, he traveled to Kenya where thousands of inmates await trial without lawyers or basic courtroom knowledge.

While reporting for CBS' "60 Minutes," Anderson meets Alexander McLean. His group is called Justice Defenders.

BLACKWELL: It empowers prisoners in Africa with legal training. Some even learn law degrees behind bars.

Now his program is inspiring inmates in the U.S.


ALEXANDER MCLEAN, FOUNDER, JUSTICE DEFENDER We work in prisons that are filled with poor people. Prisons that are filled with minorities. Prisons that are filled with those who don't have the best education. And that's the case in the United States as much as it is in Uganda or Kenya or Gambia.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Jhody Polk was inspired by what Alexander McLean was doing in African prisons.

Jhody served seven years in a Florida prison for theft and home invasion. She studied the law in prison and helped other inmates with their legal issues. She says learning the law behind bars transformed her life.

Jhody continues to help others know their rights and has begun meeting with Alexander McLean remotely to discuss what Justice Defenders might be able to do in American prisons.

MCLEAN: Jhody, thank you for your role in making these possible.

COOPER: Alexander McLean sees himself as a servant, and believes that everyone guilty or innocent, deserves a fair hearing, and an opportunity to serve others in need.

MCLEAN: For me, I feel really privileged to be part of this subversive community.

And ask, how do we work together to create communities where each of us has an opportunity to bring our gifts and talents to the fore? And how do we get transformed by each other in the process?



CAMEROTA: As desperate crowds rushed Kabul airport in Afghanistan, changemakers worked feverishly to help families get out. We'll have their stories up next on "CHAMPIONS FOR CHANGE."


CAMEROTA: If you watched our coverage last month from Afghanistan, you saw the ugly horrors of war.

But beneath the headlines, heroes were hard at work. These champions were risking their lives while making huge impacts.

CNN's chief international correspondent, Clarissa Ward, was on the ground during those tense and violent days. And she joins us now from London.

Clarissa, great to see you.


CAMEROTA: Clarissa, the world was gripped by your coverage from Afghanistan. Tell us what it felt like on the ground? What was the desperation like in the air?

WARD: It was horrifying honestly, Alisyn. There was just this crush of humanity, thousands of people pushing, shoving, fighting, biting, screaming, shouting. Anything they could do to try to get into that airport, to try to get their children into that airport.

When we actually, finally, were able to get in, we were surrounded by babies.

CAMEROTA: We watched some of the videos from back here in the U.S. and all of the kids being passed over.

And there's always the stories of humanity. What did you see on the ground of people who were trying to help others?

WARD: The situation around the airport was chaotic. It was dangerous.

And we have seen it again and again, Alisyn. And they don't appear on the evening news. And more often than not, they want to remain anonymous.

But I saw networks emerging on WhatsApp of former soldiers and civilians on the ground in Afghanistan.

Afghan women helping Afghan other women who were still stuck inside the country, to try to get out, helping to coordinate to provide people on the ground with desperately needed information about how they could get out with no real incentive for themselves except just to help.

CAMEROTA: Clarissa, we are grateful to you. Also some personal risk and sacrifice to bring the story to the world.

So thanks so much. It's great talking to you.

WARD: Thank you, Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: The U.S. is a prime destination for refugees. And some of them are cooking up new careers with their old country recipes.


CNN's Ana Cabrera got a taste at a special restaurant called Comal.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Comal is a paid training program.


ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: Silvia came from Mexico to Denver. She saw more opportunity here in the U.S., so she planted her two feet on the ground and started to try to figure out how she was going to make ends meet.

She found Focus Points, a family resource center.

SILVIA HERNANDEZ, CO-FOUNDER, COMAL HERITAGE FOOD INCUBATOR: And that is when I meet the other ladies, and we start talking about, what would you like to do here? What do you do here? And everybody spreads, oh, I would like to have a business, and sell food. And that idea started getting into my head.

CABRERA: A lot of them have some entrepreneurial background, but they just needed a few more steps in order to put those skills together and really understand what was needed to have a culinary business.

So, you helped create this place.

HERNANDEZ: I think all the ladies, including me, created it.


CAMEROTA: As a girl, CNN Anchor Pamela Brown looked up to her big brother, Lincoln. As an adult, she still does.

A few years ago, Lincoln gave Christmas gifts to an immigrant family from Tanzania. He bonded with their young son, Will, and inspired friends to help the family, too.


BROWN: Suddenly, this family that had too little, felt so displaced, had a community rallying around them.


About 52 people have contributed and have been a part of his life.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They call me Will. I need to take you and your sister. Let's go to the playground. Let's go play soccer.

BROWN: They were total strangers?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. I felt lost.

BROWN: The momentum kept building. Lincoln and the community decided to renovate a house. Will pitched in, eager to help what he thought was another family in need.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was working as hard as I can. I knew to help someone.

L. BROWN: He really got his hands dirty. He learned a trade.

This house is for you and your family.


L. BROWN: Sometimes you just need someone to believe in you in life, to give you a chance to get you going, so you pick up and you're good, you can swim on your own.


CAMEROTA: Ahead on "CHAMPIONS FOR CHANGE," Dr. Sanjay Gupta shows us one woman's bold stand against the opioid epidemic.



BLACKWELL: Welcome back to Champions for Change. Hundreds of thousands of families struggle with opioid addiction. CAMEROTA: It's a health crisis Dr. Sanjay Gupta has reported on a lot. Tonight, he shows us a fighter who turned her personal pain into a public crusade.


JOANNE PETERSON, FOUNDER, LEARN TO COPE: I was splitting buck 30. It was always the opioids. And then they turned it to heroin.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Unprecedented drug overdose.

GUPTA: When he takes an overdose call, the usual suspects is a painkiller. Many cities report a surge in heroin use.

So many times when we talk about the opioid crisis, we talk about it in terms of dozens of people may have overdosed in a particular city, or tens of thousands of people have died of drug overdoses. We talk about it from a policy perspective. But what makes this distinctive is this is an organization that recognizes not only the trauma to the individual who is dealing with substance abuse, but the whole family.

PETERSON: I lost my niece couple years ago to an overdose. I lost a brother 10 years ago and complications of his addictions.

GUPTA: Joanne Peterson's family had a long and difficult history with addiction.

PETERSON: I learned when my niece passed away, the most important thing to do is no matter what, tell that person you love them and kind of be there for them. I have terrible guilt, because in the end, I really wasn't there for her in the very end.

And I -- it haunts me, and it wasn't that I didn't want to be, it was that I knew that I couldn't fix her problem or change it. You know, she just kind of disappeared. And then I got a call that she was in Beth Israel hospital in life support. So that once me.

GUPTA: It was another part of the struggle with the stigma of substance abuse that she had dealt with for most of her life. Until she met other families like her at a community meeting about drug overdoses.

PETERSON: I started saying to people, let's start meeting.

GUPTA: In 2004, Learn to Cope was born.

PETERSON: We're there to help the family and remind the family that no matter what, you're going to be OK. And I've had so many people say to me, they feel grateful that they were a member of a peer group like Learn to Cope, because they understood the disease.

No mom, her son had a cancer. He had been prescribed Oxycontin because he was in pain. He was taken off it and he turned to heroin. And she told me she missed his cancer. She said, you know why? Because everyone loved him then. No one gives anything about him now. GUPTA: Even after 20 years of covering these types of stories, I still learn something every time I need someone like Joanne Peterson, the idea that the ultimate first responder in this opioid epidemic is usually a family member.

PETERSON: We really want to educate the families on how to recognize an overdose and what puts them at risk and make sure they have Narcan in their home.


GUPTA: Narcan or Naloxone is a drug that can literally reverse an opioid overdose and give families a chance to rescue someone they love.

GUPTA: Do you have any idea how many rescues have been reported?

PETERSON: I know that for Learn to Cope, it's been over 200.

GUPTA: A volunteer with Learn to Cope, Jim Derek, says the group is vital support. As he wrestles with his own son's fentanyl use.

People come to a meeting, and they walk away with a kit, including Narcan. How important is that?

JIM DERICK, VOLUNTEER, LEARN TO COPE: It's critically important. Two people that I've trained have used it directly to save their loved ones, including my son's mother, who saved his friend from a lethal overdose about six months ago.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Good morning, Learn to Cope.

GUPTA: The stories that end up having, I think the greatest impact, are the ones that start off the way the story does. It's an individual who channels that grief into something really meaningful and starts an army. Not just about accepting the status quo, it's about doing everything you can to change it.

Peterson: I'll never give up.

I'm scrappy, not afraid to speak up. I've never considered myself a champion, but I -- I'm a fighter.


CAMEROTA: Now another woman who's a fighter, Lieutenant General Gwen Bingham. She's the U.S. Army's second black woman to become a three- star general. She retired after 38 years, but she didn't stop serving.

BLACKWELL: Well, now, she's on the board of Blue Star Families. It's a support network for service members loved ones. She leads the group's racial equity and inclusion initiative, mentoring spouses of color who advocate for their military families.

And for CNN's Brianna Keilar, whose husband is a Green Beret, the generals latest mission hits home. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Fernando, can you please give me two plates?

I'm the mother of two children of color. And because their dad is in the military, they're more likely to join the military when they get older. You know, and I want to make sure that it is an inclusive place.

LIEUTENANT GENERAL GWEN BINGHAM, U.S. ARMY (RET): I just feel a sense of wanting a sense of desire to pay it forward, or pay it back to the next generation that's up and coming.


CAMEROTA: OK. Up next, you'll meet my Champion for Change, a mental health leader smashing stigmas, and creating a new way to treat anxiety and depression in schools.



CAMEROTA: With three teenagers of my own, I know that teens today are often navigating a minefield of mental health issues. But for too many kids psychological help, can be hard to find and hard to afford. My champion is changing that with a new approach to mental health.


SEAN PERRY, FOUNDER, WE R H.O.P.E.: When I walk out the door and I'm headed to work, knowing that we are literally saving and changing lives, that's the most powerful thing.

CAMEROTA: In a rural community tucked between the border of Vermont and New Hampshire, the seeds of a mental health revolution are quietly being planted.

Sean Perry, co-founder of the nonprofit, We R H.O.P.E., is bringing mental health services to schools at no cost to the students.

PERRY: Hello, everybody.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hello. Good morning.

PERRY: I'm here to make sure that if you guys have a difficult day, that you have somebody to talk to.

We are able to help kids that would not normally have access to mental health support. That's how we're changing the status quo.

BECKIE ODELL BETHEL, MOTHER: When the pandemic hit, I didn't recognize my babies anymore.

CAMEROTA: 17-year-old Lindsey and 12-year-old Jacob struggled with anxiety and depression during the pandemic.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It kind of felt like there was this like icy ball in the back of my throat. I just felt so hopeless.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It just felt like I was stuck in a cage that I couldn't escape from.

BETHEL: I didn't know how to help them. If we didn't have, we hope available through this school, I could have left my kids down the dangerous little path.

CAMEROTA: One of the top causes of death for teenagers is suicide. These statistics are really frightening. I'm the mother of three teenagers, so I'm always attuned to their moods and their mental health. And then I personally remember being a teenager. And for me, those were turbulent years.

Between the time I was 15 and 17, I lived in six different houses. There was a lot of upheaval, and it did end up affecting my mental health.

Did you have some of those same issues?

PERRY: I struggled significantly with anxiety. In my 20s, I was hopeless, alone. I made a deal with myself that I was going to go to the local park and just end everything. And I woke up and I was like, I'm still here. I'm still here. My purpose right now is to make sure that there's not another kid on this planet that has to feel the way that I felt.

How is it going?


PERRY: Are you guys excited?


PERRY: I'm excited too.

CAMEROTA: How does We R H.O.P.E. function in this school?

PERRY: We have a coach in a school for six hours. We can see 12 students, five days a week for about 60 to 90 days, and then we rotate them out and get another 12 students in. It's very individualized. Typically, when we see our kids was because of a behavior blowing out of class, throwing a desk, not doing your homework. We work backwards from that behavior. We teach our kids thoughts, create emotions which influence or impact our behavior.

CHRISTINE BOURNE, PRINCIPAL, HARTLAND ELEMENTARY: Before We R H.O.P.E. entered our school four years ago, we had two school counselors for roughly 300 kids, we did our best, but it wasn't enough. We R H.O.P.E. is what I consider a missing piece of education. If students get the support to cope with anxiety, then they can learn.


CAMEROTA: We gathered at the heartland diner to hear from the kids themselves.

How many people felt more anxiety or more depression during the pandemic? All of you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was a really big negative impact on my life.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Kind of getting fights and stuff.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Was never this alone.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They had a lot of anxiety.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My depression hit me so hard.

CAMEROTA: Give me a technique that we are hope taught you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I learned this like new breathing technique called birthday cake breathing. You smell the birthday cake, and then you blow up the candles?

CAMEROTA: How do you smell the birthday cake?

How many of you show of hands today feel hopeful? Even though there are tough things in the world, that's so great.

How do you explain what we just saw here?

PERRY: We keep changing the culture. We listen to what they need, and then give them the skills to learn how to work through it.

CAMEROTA: At the end of your day, when you're alone, and you're driving home, what's in your head?

PERRY: How do we reach my kids? That's what I'm always thinking about. I want to be everywhere in the United States. I do not stop. I am beyond relentless.


CAMEROTA: Well, Victor, you and I have talked about how much time my kids spend in algebra every day.


CAMEROTA: When I think some days, they could really use talking about mental health.

BLACKWELL: Sixty to 90 days of support, that extended time is so important.

CAMEROTA: It really is. All right. So, if you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, you can reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or go online at

BLACKWELL: Well, CNN's Fredricka Whitfield has been scuba diving for 30 years. During a recent dive, she saw some things that were discouraging, but also got an encouraging glimpse of the future. Thanks to a group called Diving with a Purpose.


KRAMER WIMBERLY, LEAD INSTRUCTOR, DIVING WITH A PURPOSE: I want to save the ocean because it's beautiful. I want to save the ocean because I spend my life there. I want to save the ocean because I want my children to be able to see and experience the beauty of it.

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN HOST: Kramer Wimberly's passion is coral reefs. They're home to a quarter of all sea life. They're vital to global ecology and they are dying.

18-year-old Ohio State freshmen, Greg Hood, gets it, he learned to dive through DWP and has committed to the organization's five-year training program that teaches ocean conservation techniques. This partnership between the young and seasoned diver is behind the magic of Diving with a Purpose.

WIMBERLEY: All of the youth in the program are not going to end up working in the field of marine biology or ecology, but they are learning the importance of it and what their place is and what their responsibility is. For me, that's enough.


CAMEROTA: You want to see what's up next, because our friend, John Berman, shows us his moves.




CAMEROTA: That's an innovative theater for young rising stars.



CAMEROTA: Welcome back. When Sharae Moore first hit the road as a long-haul trucker, she realized how unique she was as a woman and put the pedal to the metal to change the industry.


SHARAE MOORE, FOUNDER, S.H.E. TRUCKING: I know nothing about this industry before I got in. Everybody thought I was crazy. You don't drive a big truck, you're five-three. You can reach the pedal.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Wait, actually, how is it reaching the pedals when you're five-three?

MOORE: I push my feet up and I get on down like anybody else.

I entered into this male-dominant industry and I instantly saw a need to create a space for women. For more women to come in.

S.H.E. Trucking is the largest platform for women in the trucking industry. We have over 20,000 professional women drivers. I've helped a lot of women get an LLC and EIN, DUNS number. I'm making sure that they get all they want, all certifications being registered in the different departments of government to haul transportation goods.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: S.H.E. Trucking is definitely a sisterhood. If you need a shower, just post it, girl, we got you. If you're stuck somewhere, that's really what it is, this is a sisterhood. Even though we may have never met in person.

BURNETT: There's trucking in your in your blood, right?

MOORE: It is. My dad is a truck driver.

I'm excited.


MOORE: But I do this because of my mom.

My mom is one of the strongest people I know. She was a bus driver.

I remember many days of, open up the gate and have my mom back up her bus in our yard. And I saw her training equipment.

Together, we help another.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Together we are strong. Building a legacy.

BURNETT: Nobody thought she could do it because she's five-three. She walked into a room. She's the only woman. She was the only black person in the room and nothing ever fazed her.

MOORE: Hey, welcome to S.H.E. Trucking. S.H.E Trucking is a coding ramp for women driver is here to encourage and support and inspire women to become trucker.

I looked on YouTube, learn how to build a website or how to make my T- shirts and it just grew and grew.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You look at Sharae now who has more than 20,000 women, that she is providing supplies, for that she is mentoring, that she's trying to change the trucking industry so that women can succeed and thrive and be safe in it.


BURNETT: What do you think about your child?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm proud. That's all I can say. I am so proud of her.

BURNETT: She's built this entire organization to helping other people. And that's what a champion does.


CAMEROTA: The theater is a great place for young people to try on new roles and figure out who they are.

BLACKWELL: Our own John Berman was quite the performer back in high school. I've been waiting for this one.


BLACKWELL: He recently cameoed at a Youth Theatre where diversity is the star.



JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST: What does it feel like for you when you're on stage?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're always nervous at first, but then when you get on stage, it's so exhilarating.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I found my passion for performing here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't know where I would be without RCT.

BERMAN: What do you want kids to get out of the Riverdale Children's Theater?

BECKY LILLIE WOODS, CO-FOUNDER, RIVERDALE CHILDREN'S THEATRE: We want them to get a sense of belonging. And we want them to have that self- confidence to go into the world and take what they've learned with us, the kindness, their inclusivity, and take it out into their lives.

BERMAN: Ten years ago, Derek Woods and Becky Lillie Woods created the Riverdale Children's Theatre. And over time, it has become a second home for hundreds of kids in the Bronx.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They're a great influence on me for life skills and performing skills and everything in between.

DEREK WOODS, CO-FOUNDER, RIVERDALE CHILDREN'S THEATRE: I'm born and raised in the Bronx, lived and worked here my whole life. And so, a program like this was sorely lacking.

BERMAN: RCT offers everything from college audition prep to full-scale productions, and no child is ever turned away for financial reasons.

But it's not just theater that they're working on, right? They're working on life. They're learning confidence and they're learning courage and they're learning trust, learning how to trust each other. And it's wonderful to see it all come together.

And everything that's happened the last year, I mean, obviously, we have questions about racial justice all around the country. We've had all kinds of anti-Semitic attacks, right? And you have a huge number of Jewish kids here. There have been anti-Asian attacks. How is that all played in to this here?

D. WOODS: We have, you know, kids from every walk of life, all ethnic groups, all religious groups. And we find that's really our success.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just wanted to get away from it all because it's just -- it's so dark to talk about it and to be in a place where I can know wear my yarmulke and not have to worry about. Stares being shouted at me is amazing. I can just be here not that Jews can hear. So, it means a lot.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You learned so much about other people's cultures. And it just makes you so much more aware about yourself.

Can we get a butterfly that you did from down?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I did theater sort of my whole life. My first play was in first grade, I played a donkey. And the last show I did was a drag show, my senior year of college.

Now, I was never good enough to do anything with it, but that didn't matter, because I just loved it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, I think he needs a little musical theater back into his life. So, you think we can get him into one of our numbers today?


BERMAN: All right. All right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, use that after you hit your mark. So just hang out and have fun with it. Should we try it?



BERMAN: When I was on stage with them, they don't hold back. I mean, they're all in.

B. WOODS: I know.

BERMAN: They're all in on this.

B. WOODS: They really are. They're so good to each other. They're so supportive of each other. It's really beautiful.

BERMAN: I mean, I stunk and they made me feel great about it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Good. Yes. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You were amazing. You were an honorary RCP member.

BERMAN: I could use a few more rehearsals.


CAMEROTA: I really feel like John Berman has missed his calling.

BLACKWELL: His heart was in that.

CAMEROTA: I also feel that he should incorporate more dancing into New Day.

BLACKWELL: More musical numbers. That's what we need. That's what we need.

CAMEROTA: Suggest that. All right. In the spotlight or behind the scenes, people have the capacity to accomplish great things. The champions that you saw tonight are just a fraction of the folks out there improving the lives of others.

BLACKWELL: In big ways and in small ways, maybe you can be a champion for change too. I'm Victor Blackwell.

CAMEROTA: And I'm Alisyn Camerota. Thank you for watching.