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CNN Live Event/Special

15th Annual CNN Heroes All-Star Tribute. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired December 12, 2021 - 20:00   ET



BROWN: -- and Kelly Ripa starts now.

PATTON OSWALT, ACTOR: Sorry, CNN news junkies, you shambolic shamans of schadenfreude, you, my cynical siblings and ironic in-laws, not tonight.

See, this is that time of year where we show you in a futile gesture of desperation and optimism that we really are a wonderful world. So tonight it's about feeling good.

Yes, puppies and kittens, rainbows and sunshine. Those hope-filled tingles in your toes, those teeming tears that come from this amazing and near extinct thing called joy. It's time to show you the best of humanity. So buckle up. We've got a lot of happiness to show you for the next two hours, and after that, probably a documentary about the opioid crisis or global warming.

Which one are we doing? Opioids or global warming? Opioids. Yes. I won 50 bucks. But for now, this is CNN HEROES.


ANNOUNCER: From the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, this is the 15TH ANNUAL CNN HEROES ALL-STAR TRIBUTE. 15 years of celebrating everyday people determined to make a difference in this world.

Please welcome your hosts for the evening, Anderson Cooper and Kelly Ripa.

ANDERSON COOPER, HOST: Thanks so much. Welcome to the 15TH ANNUAL CNN HEROES ALL-STAR TRIBUTE. We are coming to you live from the Milstein Hall of Ocean Life at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, and welcome to our viewers who are watching around the world.

KELLY RIPA, HOST: Happy 15th anniversary, CNN Heroes.


COOPER: Our show is a full-blown teenager. Since 2007, we have received more than 100,000 viewer nominations. We've profiled more than 350 Heroes who have helped more than 55 million people from all 50 states and 110 countries. CNN Heroes have inspired millions of people to volunteer in their communities, which is a true testament to the beauty and the tenacity of the human spirit.

And right now that spirit is hard at work in the first responders and volunteers who are combing through the rubble and searching for missing loved ones after tornadoes brought so much destruction and devastation to six states.

RIPA: Urgent aid is needed for thousands of families. So you can go to to find ways that you can help. Thank you so much. And thank you to everyone in the audience for being vaccinated and for even wearing masks when you're not eating or drinking. Even the whale here is vaccinated. I don't know if you can see that.

COOPER: Yes. It's got a big band-aid on it.

RIPA: Very cute. Little band-aid.

COOPER: So tonight the Heroes we're going to meet are resourceful, they're focused and generous. And CNN has given each of our Top 10 Heroes a global platform to share their work and $10,000 to help their work. And later tonight, one of the honorees will be named the 2021 CNN Hero of the Year, and they'll receive an additional $100,000.

RIPA: Wow.


RIPA: We are so grateful to all of the artists and entertainers who are here, who are giving their time to help us honor all of their work. And for those of you watching, let us know what you think by tweeting using the hashtag #CNNHeroes. You might see your tweet on the screen later on. Now let's get started.

COOPER: So according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the number of people experiencing homeless surged to nearly 600,000 in 2020. And in a 50-block radius in Los Angeles called Skid Row, more than 4,600 people live in shelters and on the street.

RIPA: Here to share our first Hero's unforgettable work is the Emmy- winning actor and star of "Claws," an advocate for keeping kids safe in schools, please welcome Niecy Nash.


NIECY NASH, CNN HERO PRESENTER: The world is a tough place. Always has been. Ernest Hemingway wrote, "The world breaks everyone, and after many are strong at the broken places."


Shirley Raines is strong at her broken places. In 1990, she left her young son Demetrius in the care of her grandmother. He found a bottle of prescription drugs, swallowed them, and a few days later, he died just shy of his 3rd birthday. Soon after, Shirley lost her grandmother and Demetrius' father to cancer.

She was broken, on the brink of homelessness and thought about ending her life. Then in 2017, she was asked to lend a hand at Skid Row. The moment that Shirley stepped on that block, she found purpose for her pain. Shirley started Beauty 2 the Streetz to provide food, clothes, sanitation products, hair, and makeup services, and every Saturday she goes to where most of us fear to tread. She gives people a hug, a haircut, and maybe even a glorious red dye job.

That's right. With each act -- you can clap for that.


NASH: With each act, she pulls those fellow broken people close so they know that no matter how tough life gets, they are loved.


SHIRLEY RAINES, BEAUTY2THESTREETZ.ORG: The world looked at me and thought probably the same thing they think about the homeless people they're passing by. Nobody really knew what I've been through, what I was going through. I think after my son died, I had no control over a lot of things, but I can control how long my eyelashes were. I can control the color of my hair.

My Wonder Woman power is right here.

Make believe you're normal, Shirley. Make believe you're not falling apart on the inside, Shirley, you know? And then one day someone was like, you want to go to church? I'm like, well, I haven't been there in forever. When I went to church, someone was like, hey, you want to go feed the homeless with us? I went to Skid Row, I'm like, this is where all the broken people are? I've been looking for you all my life. I am broken just like them.

That's makeup. That's hair.

I'm like, we've got to get some serious CPR.

Yes, I have a lot of wigs. I'll save you one, queen.

They started calling me the makeup lady.

This is pretty right here.

I never wanted to leave. I love them because I am them.

Good to see y'all. Happy Saturday.

I dress them as kings and queens because not all queens live in castles. I've met a lot of queens and kings on the street.

What you want? Haircut? Hair? OK.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was just on the verge of saying, you know what? I'm done. I give up. And a quick little hello and hug let me know there's hope and people care. It is just being seen, being touched, being cared for.

RAINES: You want a face mask?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You want give one on me?



RAINES: It plants a little bit of self-esteem in them so they feel like, OK, maybe no one knows I'm homeless because I have a fresh cut.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have pride. I have motivation. I'm just unfortunate to not be able to afford rent. Me being maintained allowed me to have a little three-hour gig and that's from Shirley's help.

RAINES: All right, my love. Have a blast, queen.

I'm not an angel, you know. I want my son back. He is the reason I do what I do. So when they say they're broken, I am, too. They're like, how did you get fixed? I'm not. I take Prozac, 20 milligrams every day. What the heck? I ain't fixed, child. I ain't fixed at all.

Come on, you guys. I need some energy. Energy, people, energy.

I'm not going to lie to you and tell you things will be better now, but what I am going to do is feed you while you're out here. What I am going to do is do your hair. What I'm going to do is give you a hug. What I am going to do is encourage you and speak life into you. And that's what I can do.

That was Mickey on the mic, you guys. Give her a hand. Give her a hand. Give her a hand.



NASH: I don't know, I don't know about anyone else in this room, but I just fell in love with you, Shirley girl. It is my honor to present the CNN Hero, Shirley Raines.


NASH: Congratulations.

RAINES: Thank you guys so very much. Thank you so very much.


Homelessness is a solitary experience. But with the support of our incredible social media family, we've created a community through the shared human experience of trying to find beauty in hardship. This mission started with me coloring hair, but my volunteers, my amazing team, the fighters for the world and my lawyer, Dana Cisneros, helped expand our work. And what we've been able to do has truly colored my life. I'd like to thank the community of Skid Row for allowing us to share

their stories with the world. We see you. We love you. This is for you, Skid Row. Thank you.


RIPA: I love her so much.

COOPER: Now tonight, not only are we celebrating our Top 10 Heroes, but we'll also be honoring two young people who show us that age is never a factor when it comes to making the world a better place. We call them Young Wonders.

RIPA: And our first young wonder is your knight in shining armor, especially if you're ever attempted a video chat with your parents or your grandparents, and you spend the entire time looking at their ear or the ceiling.


RIPA: Yes, everyone, all of us. Here to introduce us to his work is a champion for Son of a Saint, a mentoring program for fatherless boys in New Orleans, the Academy Award-winning and multiple Grammy- nominated artist, most recently for the album "We Are," here's Jon Batiste.


JON BATISTE, MUSICIAN: Hello. Yes. You know, we all have a granny or a pop-pop, or a bubbe, or a mama, papa. You know, we got these names. And they're just the best at sending us soulful birthday cards, coming to graduations or cheering us on at our big school musicals. But if you ask that same grandparent to Venmo you some birthday cash or video chat with the kids after school, they're going to look at the thing. They freeze up.

What you want me to do with this, son? Fearful of the unknown. But Jordan Mittler, he won't have it. No, no, no. He loves his grandparents and all of ours. And five years ago, he started Mittler Senior Technology to teach them how to use smartphones, attend virtual meetings, and how to spot scams. It's a whole lot of them. They've offered more than 200 classes all taught by him and his team of teen volunteers.

Thanks to Jordan, our grannies, pop-pops, bubbes, and all the rest can stay close and do what they do best -- smother us with love.



JORDAN MITTLER, MITTLERSENIORTECH: My grandparents, they both have flip phones, and I kind of figured that it was now time to bring them into this world of smartphones.

So go ahead and click on the magnifier. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Say that again?

MITTLER: Click on the little circle.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. And that's now in the phone.

MITTLER: Wait, wait. I have to be honest. It wasn't the easiest, but I got them from stage one to a decent knowledge of technology. So small text like this is now --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have to tell you, now I won't need that cataract operation.

MITTLER: I kind of realized that there must be a larger audience of seniors. Obviously this is more helpful. You don't always have a computer with you. I put together the 10-lesson curriculum that covered what I kind of guessed to be the most crucial topics for a senior to know in the 21st century.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, Jordan. Hi, team.

MITTLER: Hi, everyone.

And the pandemic took a big hit on the senior population.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's complicated to know about effects.

MITTLER: I couldn't just say, I'll see you guys when this is all over. I hosted my first Zoom class.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Guys, how would you add a third person to that call?

MITTLER: Scroll up.

I decided to push out topics that I felt were absolutely crucial to know during the pandemic. So Facetime and online shopping became more important.



MITTLER: The act of a teen educating seniors makes the experience so much different. Today we have educated over 2,000 seniors from 10 different countries.

That was outstanding.


The senior technology class and Jordan opened up an entirely new world to me personally.


Good to see you.

I can contact relatives all over the globe.

Glory, love you. Rose.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have Instagram. That's so nice. Facebook. Oh, I'm having so much fun with it. It has absolutely changed my life.

MITTLER: I really think it's the responsibility of every single teen to help them adapt to this whole new world of technology. Take five minutes. Pick up the phone and call one of your grandparents. For you, it's like a quick thing. But for them, that changes their life.





COOPER: So great.

RIPA: Jordan, it really is fabulous what you're doing. I have a question for you. Are all parents reachable, would you say?

MITTLER: I think so. Even if your grandparents are not experts, and many of them are not. Send them a message. You could find them in person. There are many ways to contact.

COOPER: You must have the patience of a saint.


MITTLER: I did not start like that. It took time -- still took them time to get used to, but I think it's something that you develop.

COOPER: Well, congratulations. It's amazing what you're doing. Thank you.

RIPA: Well-deserved.

COOPER: Yes. Thank you so much.


COOPER: To learn more about Jordan's story and all our Young Wonders, please go to, and don't forget to tell us what you think about Jordan's work and our Heroes by tweeting using hashtag #CNNHeroes.

Jordan, thanks so much.


ANNOUNCER: Coming up, Rachel Brosnahan, Christopher Meloni, Rachel Zeigler, Josh Groban, Aloe Blacc and more.




RIPA: Welcome back. We're here at CNN Heroes throughout the night. As you meet our Top 10 honorees, you can donate to any of them by going to and clicking on the donate button, or you can scan the QR code on your screen right now. And if you don't know what a QR code is, please enroll in one of Jordan Mittler's classes fast.


RIPA: There we go. Very helpful. Now my parents are like, what's a QR code? There are so many ways to give, and we're so grateful that GoFundMe is working with all of our Heroes.

COOPER: So our next Hero has found a simple and ingenious way to clean up more than eight million tons of plastic that pollute our oceans and waterways while at the same time ensuring that thousands of people are fed during the pandemic. To share his story is the Emmy-winning star of "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" and a champion for Covenant House which provides immediate care for young people experiencing homelessness, please welcome Rachel Brosnahan.


RACHEL BROSNAHAN, CNN HERO PRESENTER: In 2020, the pandemic started its lethal spread across the world and arrived in Bali, Indonesia. Made Janur Yasa closed the doors to his restaurant, and the rest of the city shuttered, and he worried. The jobless were now going hungry. The livelihoods that brought the world to the island's natural wonders were devastated. The trash and plastics were piling up, and the farmers were overwhelmed with countless pounds of unsold rice.

Each one of these new realities were cause for despair, but Janur found possibility. He thought, what if? What if families can collect plastic, bring it in, and exchange it for rice? So in May of 2020, he launched Plastic Exchange, which is now in 200 villages, collecting nearly 300 tons of plastic. Janur's work shows us that even in the darkest of times, there is always the possibility to work together to heal our one and only home.


MADE JANUR YASA, PLASTICEXCHANGE.ORG: We have wisdom in Bali, we call tri hita karana, which is three ways to achieve happiness. Number one is the harmonious connection human to God. Secondly, human to human. And the last one is connection human to the environment. So that's how we reach the happiness. This really break my heart when I see this plastic everywhere. We

don't have the habit yet on how to handle the plastic after we use it. I always like this phrase. Inside of the challenge, there is an opportunity. What I'm aiming for is to educate people through action. So the community collect and separate their plastic from their house, and then they go to the rice paddy, the beach, to the river.

And then there is Plastic Exchange that's set up in their community. Picking up plastic is cool thing to do. And people have fun with it, and people not feeling embarrassed about it. And now almost picking up plastic is sexy.

In Plastic Exchange, people just get into it. The vibe is so high. It's so vibrant. You can feel it. Old people, younger people. In many villages that we have this Plastic Exchange going for one year now, it's almost hard to find plastic in environments because now they really dispose plastic properly. And look at how clean the gutter, free of plastic. The most important thing is this has become the habit, and really that always bring tears to my eyes.

I want to make this island clean. I want to make the people in here prosper. I see the smile in their face. I see they can provide for their family, and we can do this in every community. My goal is to really spread this movement from island to island to Asia and to the whole world.




BROSNAHAN: Please join me in honoring CNN Hero, Made Janur Yasa.


YASA: Wow. I swam from Bali to here.


YASA: So this award give recognition to the core value that underpin the Plastic Exchange. Dignity, prosperity, environment. Our deepest gratitude goes out to Balinese community, villagers, event organizer, volunteers, donors, and all of you over here. Thank you. In Bali, we call it suksuma.


COOPER: Why don't we all live in Bali? It looks nice.

RAPI: It does look nice.

COOPER: In 2018, the University of Michigan issued a report on formerly incarcerated individuals, and it found that 80 percent earned less than $15,000 in their first year out of prison, and nearly half of federal inmates re-offended after being released. RIPA: Our next Hero used his own experience to help other formerly

incarcerated men and women rebuild their lives. His program is so successful, less than 1 percent have re-offended. Here to tell his story is the star of "Law & Order: Organized Crime," Christopher Meloni.


CHRISTOPHER MELONI, CNN HERO PRESENTER: Good evening. We are not our worst mistakes. Let me say that again. We are not our worst mistakes. We all make them because we're all human. Hector Guadalupe is no different. He lost both parents by the time he was 15. At 23, he was sentenced to 10 years to life for distributing cocaine.

When he spent 31 months in solitary confinement surrounded by darkness and cement walls, he decided to rebuild his life. He got fit in mind and body, found focus in the prison gym, and became a certified trainer. When he was released, he pounded New York City's pavement for nearly a year until he got a job at a gym. When he met other newly released inmates who were struggling, he supported them to become trainers, and he launched a Second U Foundation.

Now since 2017, he's provided more than 200 graduates with a path to a successful career, showing themselves and the world that they are the walking, breathing, hope and promise of a transformed life on the march.


HECTOR GUADALUPE, SECONDUFOUNDATION.ORG: When I got out of prison, I'm literally at every corporate health club trying to get a job, and nobody was calling me back. And I knew why. But I didn't give up.

Come on, come on, come on. Stay strong.

Eight, nine months later, I then got a job. And that was, like, everything to me. I felt like I was part of society, which is something that we all should have an opportunity to do, right?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I started doing time shortly after my mother passed away when I was like 15. By the time I came home, I gave the system half my life. The people that are home, like, taking care of their family, making a living, those are the people that I wanted to try to be like.

GUADALUPE: You have to give yourself a chance at this. At a Second U Foundation, we want to give you your second chance at life. You can't be scared to fail. So these men and women are taught everything you could think on bone structure and kinesiology.

Blood flowing to the heart. You're talking about coronary circulation.

It's like learning a new language.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I knew how to work out, but I didn't know the science behind everything. GUADALUPE: How many ways can you manipulate an exercise?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The program was intense.

There you go. You got it.

After I graduated the program, he got me hired at an elite gym, and I did my thing.


GUADALUPE: They start at $35 an hour. They top out at $80 an hour. Full corporate benefits. That goes a long way.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bend that back knee some. A little lower. I used everything he taught me, and since the pandemic, I have my own fitness company. I owe a lot to Hector. He pretty much held my hand without holding my hand.

Nice to meet you.

Hector's whole approach with us is to maximize our potential, that you're not what you got convicted of. That's not you.

GUADALUPE: When you provide people with livable wages, they're going to be productive members of society. That's what we're here for, to support each other in that journey. You can only imagine how many kids are going to be fed and taken care of now without a worry. That's why second chances are important.



MELONI: Please join me in honoring CNN Hero Hector Guadalupe.


GUADALUPE: First I got to say, Brooklyn, we did it. We're here. But as I accept this award tonight, I am truly still faced with the reality of being denied opportunities because of the mistakes I've made in my past. But I was lucky that I was given a second chance. Most aren't. Most haven't even received their first chance.

So join us. Join our community and help us fight mass incarceration while uplifting returning citizens through education, career placement, and entrepreneurship. Let's do this work together because everyone has and deserves a second chance. Thank you so much.


ANNOUNCER: Up next on CNN HEROES, "West Side Story's" Rachel Zeigler. And we'll honor a Hero who will help you fall in love with seals.




MICHELE ALLEN, 2017 CNN HERO: My name is Michele Allen and in 2017 I was very honored to join the CNN Heroes family. I'm the co-founder of Monkey's House, a dog hospice and sanctuary.

MONIQUE POOL, 2015 CNN HERO: I rescue sloths, anteaters and armadillos from difficult situations in urbanized areas.

COOPER: This is basically a dream come true for me.

MARK MEYERS, 2019 CNN HERO: The Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue is the largest equine rescue in the world.

SIEW TE WONG, 2017 CNN HERO: Currently we have 44 sanders that live in our center.

MARY CORTANI, 2012 CNN HERO: We are a nonprofit that provides service dogs to veterans, first responders, kids.

SHERRI FRANKLIN, 2016 CNN HERO: And we've really created a movement to really let people know how worthy senior dogs are, and they're getting adopted.



COOPER: Work it out. Just work it out in the dance welcome.

RIPA: That's what this is for.

COOPER: Welcome back to CNN Heroes. The state of Maine has more than 2500 miles of coastline. It is home to one of our most beloved marine mammals, the puppy dogs of the sea, seals.

RIPA: Seals.

COOPER: I did not know they were called the puppy dogs of the sea.

RIPA: No, you're the only one.

COOPER: Apparently so. Their greatest threat, however, is us. Our fishing lines, boat propellers, and all the selfies that people take with seal pups, which actually cause the mothers to then abandon them sometimes.

RIPA: Look, I get it. I get it. It's hard to stay away when they're that cute. That is adorable.

COOPER: But as cute as they are, we all need to leave them alone.

RIPA: And if they're injured, call the professionals for help, like our next Hero. And here to tell us her story is a supporter of the International Rescue Committee and one of the stars of the upcoming movie "Downton Abbey, A New Era," and "The New Law & Order," Hugh Dancy.


HUGH DANCY, CNN HERO PRESENTER: If we're lucky sometimes, we just know what we're supposed to do with our lives. Lynda Doughty is one of those lucky souls. She was always drawn to everything about the sea, the water, the dolphins, the whales, the seals. She knew that she wanted to spend her life protecting it. She became a marine biologist and worked in a number of organizations caring for animals in trouble.

And after many closed or lost funding, she formed her own, Marine Mammals of Maine. She created a 24-hour hotline for the public to report injured animals, and she and her team have received thousands of calls, mostly for seals, who receive around-the-clock care at her state-of-the-art facility. And when they're healthy, she returns them home, home where they can do what they've been put on this earth to do, keep our oceans beautiful, magical, and strong.


LYNDA DOUGHTY, MMOME.ORG: What I love about seals is they really look similar to dogs, and they also are really charismatic. It's really neat to see them in their natural environment, and they're very curious in general.

Good morning, Miss 264.

We have animals that may have an injury. Pup abandonment, malnourishment. The biggest threat to these animals is human impacts.

So he's on fluid therapy for today to try to break up some of the pneumonia that he has. She's not ready for release yet. She came in with really heavy respiratory case. I couldn't even hear air passing through her lungs at all. Now a few months later, she's eating really well. She's gained a lot of weight, and she's doing so much better. Taking on caring for these animals, it's really 24 hours a day, seven days a week.


Two pounds of fish coming for you. Oh, you were ready. You're always thinking how best to do right by these animals and what can I do better?

All done. What are you looking at?

And even when I'm not at the center, I'm always thinking, is this animal fine? Do we need to go back?

You guys ready for today? You guys know that you're going back to the ocean?

So any seal that we rescue, the ultimate goal is for that animal to be released back into the ocean. The majority of our time is spent teaching these animals what they should be doing in the wild, and we release them. We're hoping that we prepared them exactly for that. Oh, you're so adorable. Five, four, three, two, one.

The now 20 years I've been doing this, which seems like I just started yesterday, and the feeling has not changed for me. I love it now more than ever. I feel this intense responsibility to help these animals, and really this is what I was put on this earth to do.



DANCY: Please join me in honoring CNN Hero Lynda Doughty.

DOUGHTY: So exciting. Thank you. Seals are pretty cute, aren't they?

Marine Mammals of Maine was created to be a voice for these animals that cannot ask for help themselves. I want to thank CNN and bring awareness to the ones who are sick, injured, and abandoned. Many people are unaware of the dangers they face not only in the Maine but around the world. They are vital signals of our ocean health, and with your help, we will be able to continue to speak loudly not only locally but globally through response, care, education, and research.

I want to thank you for your support and your kindness. Thank you.


COOPER: Colombia is a remarkable country, but for more than 50 years, it's been consumed with conflict and violence. The fighting has made the country with one of the largest numbers of internally displaced people in the world. It's pushed many indigenous people and small farmers into rural areas and extreme poverty for generations.

RIPA: To share our next Hero's work is a champion for No Kid Hungry and one of the stars of the new adaptation of "West Side Story," please welcome Rachel Zegler.


RACHEL ZEGLER, CNN HERO PRESENTER: Thank you. Sometimes we have to go thousands of miles from home in order to find our life's calling. Jenifer Colpas graduated from college in Colombia and landed a great job in the tech industry in India. While there, she encountered extreme poverty everywhere. It made her think of all the people back home in the rural areas who lacked the basics -- clean water, power, and sanitation.

And so she returned home and later co-founded Tierra Grata, which means gratitude to the earth. By truck, by donkey, and by foot, she and her young team traveled to villages to connect solar panels, install water filtration systems, and build safe toilets and showers. So far, Jenifer has reached 43 communities, helping more than 10,000 people feel connected to the world, lifting people out of extreme poverty with ingenuity, kindness, and grace.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JENIFER COLPAS, TIERRAGRATA.ORG: These areas are so remote, that there is no even roads to get there. Nobody goes there, but we are going there to provide them the essentials -- clean energy, safe water, and sanitation. Tierra Grata means that gratitude to the earth.


The families use candles, gasoline lamps. They were spending a lot of money, and the smoke of the lamps were negatively affecting their health. So we put solar panels on their homes.

The water filter program, it is the micro filtration process that take out bacteria, viruses and all elements that can make people sick. So they can cook and they can drink safe water. The eco-toilets, they are made by recyclable plastic. With our eco-toilet, you don't need to flush with water. Every time you poop, you are going to add sawdust.

We also provide a shower with like a complete hygiene solution. A very important part are our guardians. They are our main partners within the community. We are working with women because for us, it's very important to empower them and to re-signify their role in the community. So they will be not just social leaders but also problem solvers.

My biggest dream is that they can wake up not just to survive, but they can make a step further and start fulfilling their dreams.



ZEGLER: It is my honor to present CNN Hero, Jenifer Colpas.


COLPAS: They're living without a light, a toilet, drinkable water. That's not living. It is surviving. The families we work with, they are suffering, but their stories, their power to go ahead inspired me to take action. No matter what problems they face, they never give up. They are resilient.

I invite to join the mission of Tierra Grata. Let's continue to bring dignity, well-being, and opportunities to every single rural family in Latin America. I know and I'm sure we can do this together. Gracias.



COOPER (voice-over): For the men and women who protect and serve the Capitol, January 6th likely began as any other day. They put on their uniforms, took their kids to school, kissed their loved ones good-bye. It was supposed to be a quiet ceremonial day certifying the 2020 election. But there were those who had other plans.

Those who led a rally fueled with misinformation and lies that the election had been stolen. And those in the crowd who heard those words and then marched down Pennsylvania Avenue, emboldened with weapons, anger, and a determination to halt the business of the nation. They stormed the Capitol and did the unthinkable, using tasers, chemical sprays, pipes, baseball bats, flagpoles, anything they could get their hands on. They attacked the police they claimed they supported.

The insurrectionist has flooded inside, desecrating symbols of our democracy while Capitol officers heroically guided our elected leaders, their staffers, and many others to safety. For four hours, officers at the West Terrace doors held their position and likely prevented thousands more from entering and doing harm. Because of what they did during those hours, we'll never again take for granted the peaceful transfer of power.

January 6th will live on in history as a testament to the strength of our republic thanks to the courage, resilience, and valor displayed by the extraordinary women and men who honored their oath to protect and serve.



RIPA: Five people died in the attack on the Capitol, and in the days that followed. Hundreds were injured, and four officers have since died by suicide. For those who stood their ground for this nation and have sacrificed so much, we humbly thank you.

COOPER: Please join us in honoring all the officers who defended democracy on January 6th, and please welcome to the stage four of these Heroes.


Private 1st Class Ari Dunn, Officer Michael Fanone, Sergeant Aquilino Gonell, and Officer Daniel Hodges.


ANNOUNCER: Coming up, Josh Groban salutes a Young Wonder.


COOPER: Welcome back to CNN Heroes. As Kelly will attest -- and she often tells me -- I'm not exactly great at expressing feelings.

RIPA: That's not true. You just smiled like just now.

COOPER: Just like a human being. Yes.

RIPA: Yes. Just like a human being. Have you ever tried expressing your feelings through art?

COOPER: I'm not very good at that either.

RIPA: That's not true. Maybe you should try it. Try a little art class once in a while. Art is powerful. OK.


COOPER: So they tell me.

RUPA: Just ask our next Young Wonder. To tell us all about her wonderful work is the multi-Grammy nominee and founder of the Found Your Light Foundation, which is dedicated to ensuring that every child can experience a quality arts education, is none other than Josh Groban.



JOSH GROBAN, YOUNG WONDER PRESENTER: Our kids are in crisis. And just at the time that our kids need art to help them express their difficult feelings in a positive way, those classes are being cut left and right.

Chelsea Phaire is on a mission to change this. She knows how the power of art can heal one's heart. See, when she was younger, she lost her grandfather. To deal with the grief, she did what she knew how to do to express her love. She drew him a picture. She drew it and she folded it up. She put it in his pocket when she said good-bye at his service.

When she learned that so many kids didn't have the tools to do the same, she started Chelsea's Charity. She wants young people to be able to create, to create something beautiful, to ease the crisis of our times and to find a way to process their pain and reconnect to their hopes and joys.


CHELSEA PHAIRE, CHELSEASCHARITY.ORG: When I start painting or drawing, I feel really tranquil, calm, everything is right with the world.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Chelsea had experienced loss of loved ones and some pretty rough bullying moments. Those were definitely times where she learned art could really help her overcome some of the sadness she was experiencing.

PHAIRE: I was like, oh, well, this helped me. Maybe it could help other people. It's supposed to be like 200 in there.


PHAIRE: Chelsea's Charity it's art kits to children in homeless shelters, foster care agencies, hospitals, schools, gifts to veterans. To some people who might need a little extra art in their lives. Every kid is different. It's like every kid is different. So we usually have the basics like crayons, markers and paint.

Wow. My name is Chelsea. And as you guys know I have some very awesome art kits for you guys. My favorite thing that I get to do with Chelsea's Charity is do live distributions because I really get to interact with the kids. It's very cool. Chelsea's Charity has distributed over 20,000 art kits.

Before we start, I just want to state one thing. Art is your own. It depends on what you want to see and how you want to see it. It's really fun watching the kids learn how to create their own drawings and learn how to make their art unique.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She wants to spread so much love and to see it received so well, it warms my heart honestly.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I love art because it's colorful.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I love art because I can share with people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I love art because it makes me happy.

PHAIRE: It gives them the freedom of expression. So they can express themselves in whatever way they want to positively. I think all kids should know it doesn't matter what age you are, everyone can make a difference.



RIPA: Very nice. So I'm here with Chelsea. You really are so -- you are magic, period. Now here's my question. I understand that you experienced some bullying at school. And you immediately wanted to buy your bullies some art supplies. Can you tell me why that is?

PHAIRE: Well, it went against my better judgment. But I had grown up in a Christian environment. And going to the church, I was taught to love my neighbors. And even if somebody wronged you, everyone does deserve a second chance, which has been mentioned several times today. So I realized that my bully was going through a lot of stuff afterwards. So I was like, oh, gees, so I decided to give them an art kit.

And yes, I guess that was pretty much it. And I actually became friends with my bully afterwards. They were like, OK, I'm sorry I did that. And now we are friends in school. And it's a lot of fun now.

RIPA: Well, you are an exceptional young woman. That's why you are a Young Wonder.


RIPA: Definitely going places. Hey, look at that. To learn more about Chelsea's story and all of our Young Wonders, please go to Thank you, Chelsea.

PHAIRE: Thank you.

COOPER: Over the years, no organization has been a greater supporter of our efforts than Subaru which has generally sponsored -- it's true. (APPLAUSE)

COOPER: They've generously sponsored CNN Heroes since 2008. Please welcome Tom Doll, the president and chief executive officer for Subaru of America.