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Mary Provost is the heart and soul behind Thomas Good Turn - an outreach that assists the homeless with care and feeding of their pets. For many homeless with pets, these are their family and their companionship. Finding a meal for themselves can often be a challenge, and with their furry friend in tow, it can be an even more complicated process. Mary has a huge heart for animals and found her calling in creating a charity to help these loved family members of the homeless. Not only does she help feed them but she also coordinates needed medical services including spay/neuter and rescuing animals from abusive situations. Mary is making a difference in the lives of the homeless and their pets.
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Karin Doolin embarked on a journey years ago which changed her life and is now in turn changing the life of many others. It was back in 2013 when she embarked on a photography trip to Nicaragua that Karin found herself touched by the remarkably uplifting spirit the people showed despite the deplorable conditions they were living in. It was then that Karin pondered the thought of sharing their stories of hope and courage despite their odds. However, instead of just taking pictures herself and telling their story, Karin empowered these individuals with a camera and in turn gave them a voice. Karin started the non-profit organization, The Big Picture Project which lets the people tell their own stories through their pictures. Not only is The Big Picture Project capturing and sharing the stories of people in a world that seems so foreign to us, but they are empowering these people to learn and have fun.
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Molly Stapelman is a resource and voice for families that have a child with a limb differential. Back in 2007 Molly gave birth to a healthy baby girl names Ryan. Ryan was born with a hand difference - the growth on her right hand had been stunted, her palm small and no fingers except a tiny thumb. Back then there was very little support or information about children born with limb differences. Frustrated with having to search for answers, Molly decided to start a non-profit called Lucky Fin Project where she educates parents and connects them with a community of support, resource and celebration. Molly has not only created a huge network of support but she also regularly shares inspirational stories on her Instagram page that promote acceptance, inclusion and a love for all these beautifully unique individuals.
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Michelle Sullivan is an example of a fierce mama that chose to turn a situation that at first seemed devastating and find the beauty in it. At 20 weeks pregnant Michelle found out that her son had Down Syndrome. Michelle embraced this beautifully unique child that she was blessed with and wanted to connect with other moms that had children with special needs. Wanting to stay home with her son, Eli, Michelle decided to earn an income starting a shirt business that spread awareness and inclusion. She started Littlest Warrior in 2015 which creates t-shirts that advocate kindness, acceptance and inclusion. Each month Michelle donates 10% to families in need to help with medical bills, or a family adopting a child with special needs, or to a foundation that helps kids with special needs. Through Michelle’s t-shirts and her advocacy, she is creating a dialogue to promote kindness and compassion to those that have special needs.
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Tayrin Tapia-Torres experienced difficulty in her childhood and decided as an adult that she had two options. She could force those painful memories down, or she could choose to use those experiences and all that she overcame and learned to help others. Tayrin chose to look for the light and shine it in the lives of any warriors that needed a little guidance in sharing their story and healing. Tayrin started the non-profit organization, Dear Tayrin, to be a safe space for individuals who have been victimized by sexual violence and provide them a first step towards internal healing by creating support groups and workshops within the Western New York community and abroad. Tayrin is making a difference by providing a safe space for people to share their story, connect with others and start the process of healing.
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