Tampa's Zach Bonner wins Beliefnet's Most Inspiring Person of the Year award
UPDATE: Zach Bonner was named Beliefnet.com's Most Inspiring Person of the Year, beating out Capt. Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger and actor Michael J. Fox for the award. “It’s an honor to receive the award, especially amongst such a really distinguished group of people,” Zach said. “Being nominated has raised a lot of awareness to the Little Red Wagon Foundation and the work we are trying to do to raise awareness and meet the basic needs of the over 1.3 million homeless kids living in this country. I believe these kids are no different than I am, and that we must stop looking at them as statistics and start looking at them as human beings. My hope is that one day in my lifetime we will see an end to youth homelessness and that every child will have a safe place to sleep, food to eat and access to equal education. I believe that through awareness and education this crisis can be solved.”
Not bad for a 12 year old. Read more on the win here.
Tampa resident Zach Bonner, the 12-year-old boy who marched 1,200 miles to raise money to house homeless kids. He is one of 10 finalists in Beliefnet.com's ninth annual Most Inspiring Person of the Year award. The award is given to someone who, Beliefnet says, "has demonstrated courage, forgiveness, self-sacrifice or love under difficult and challenging circumstances or ... spread life-affirming joy in a creative and uplifing way." Zach will embark on a new Coast to Coast Walk to Los Angeles in 2010 to raise money for an L.A. Boys' and Girls' Club.
Zach will face some pretty stiff competition, including the "Hero of the Hudson" Capt. Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger who had just moments to save the 155 people on board his US Airways flight when the engines failed just after takeoff; and actor Michael J. Fox, who suffers from Parkinson's disease but works tirelessly to find a cure. Go to the Beliefnet Web site through Dec. 12 to vote once a day for your favorite. A team of Beliefnet editors will select the ultimate winner from the top three votegetters. The winner will be announced Dec. 16.
Also seeking your online votes are several local charities that are among the hundreds of thousands of charities seeking a portion of the $5 million that Chase is giving away to small, local non-profits. You can help your favorite local charity win up to $1-million by voting for the group on Facebook. Here's how it works: Facebook members go on and vote for their favorite charity in the Community Giving program. The winner of the overall contest will get $1-million grant which is set to be announced on Feb. 1. Five runners-up will receive $100,000, and then the top 100 receive $25,000 each. Now with more than 500,000 charities, you gotta vote carefully. The voting ends on Dec. 11. On Dec. 15, the top 100 will be named and then voting will be reopened Jan. 15-22 for those charities to compete for the top prizes.
There are all kinds of charities in the bay area that want your votes: On a random search I found a bull terrier rescue group, some theater groups, even a charter school. You must be a registered Facebook member and sign on to be a fan of Chase Community Giving to participate. You can vote for up to 20 charities in the first round of voting and then vote for up to five charities in the second round. You cannot, however, vote for the same charity more than once in each round.There's a lot of good you can do just sitting at your computer. Get cracking.
-- Sherry Robinson
[Times files of Zach Bonner in 2007]