From Feeding the Hungry to Mentoring Children, our 2017 Holiday Heroes Serve Their Communities in an Inspiring Way

As we wrap up 2017 and our Holiday Heroes campaign comes to an end, we wanted to take a moment to recognize some of the men and women who do so much to make a positive impact within their communities. We were thrilled to award each of them a $1,000 Visa gift card to thank them for everything they do to improve the lives of others.

From helping people with mental and physical disabilities, to those struggling with poverty and homelessness, each day our heroes sacrifice their time, finances and whatever else it takes to make a difference. With so many meaningful charities and dedicated volunteers out there, choosing our recipients wasn’t easy; but we hope their stories inspire you nonetheless—because they’ve sure inspired us!

Cassidy has been traveling abroad on mission trips since the age of 16 to Columbia, Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic. She visits children in hospitals and orphanages, building structures in the some of the most impoverished villages. Relay for Life, Children’s Miracle Network and Tim Tebow’s Night to Shine Prom, are only some of the organizations to which 22-year-old Cassidy has given to improve the lives of those in need. She’s a special education teacher and the founder of International Helping Hands, a service club at the school where she teaches, devoted to raising money for the Lighthouse School in the Dominican Republic.

As the founder of JumpStart Ministries, Joanne has been visiting neighborhoods throughout Chandler, Arizona, for more than a decade, teaching Sunday School and bringing hope to children. She works year-round to collect backpacks and other supplies for school-aged kids, as well as toys and gifts to donate during Christmas. Joanne also provides outreach through her prayer ministry, an invaluable source of hope for the homeless.

Tim has dedicated his life and career to creating a higher quality of life for people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD). He currently leads the team at Courtney’s Place as CEO, a Scottsdale-based family founded non-profit day center serving the IDD population and those with severe disabilities. He is also the founder of 2Gether We Live, a program designed to assist wounded warriors, the severely ill and those with IDD who wish to take part in sporting events (including marathons and competitive mountain climbing), but are unable to do so on their own.

Heber is known throughout his community as someone who goes out of his way to help his students by providing them with the means to buy shoes and sports equipment, obtain their driver’s licenses, or whatever they may need. If Heber sees one of his kids falling behind academically or making the wrong choices, he supports and mentors them, coaching them through their trials. A high school special education teacher and former college football player for North Carolina State University, Heber has always had a heart for working with youth. As a volunteer middle school football and track coach, Heber understands the invaluable lessons that kids can learn from team sports.

As the Development Director for the Center for Independent Living in Central Florida, Brittany and her dedicated team work non-stop hosting fundraisers and recruiting additional volunteers to provide much-needed home modifications for those in need. Installing grab bars, retrofitting doorways to accommodate wheelchairs and building ramps, are essential to ensuring the safety and independence of those with physical disabilities; and it’s something Brittany works for continually, to help those with disabilities achieve dignity through self-sufficiency.

As a dedicated staff member of the non-profit group The Singletons, Jody and her team work tirelessly to ensure that the needs of parents and their children are met. The Singletons—which also includes Singleton Kids—provides financial support, family-style meals, cleaning and other household needs for single parents battling cancer, as well as single parents whose children have cancer. The organization hosts a variety of fundraisers and community events, raising awareness and garnering support for their cause. Jody and her team will stop at nothing to make sure that the needs of these deserving families are met.