Visionaries - Changing the World One Story at a Time

Season 10

Near East Foundation - First in American Philanthropy

Almost 100 years ago, a group of Americans answered the need to create an organization that would respond to the first refugee crisis of the 20th Century. Near East Relief-now Near East Foundation (NEF)-played a crucial role in saving a generation of Armenians. Today, NEF works with people of the Middle East and Africa to build community projects under the control of the local people. This two-part episode offers a glimpse into the group's fascinating past as remembered by a survivor of the Armenian genocide. We also travel to Morocco, where Berber women are teaming with NEF to discover a life that includes more than hauling wood and water. In Egypt, you'll meet a former drug dealer transformed by the renaissance of Cairo's oldest slum. He credits his family's survival to an amazing NEF project that spans from music to construction. Show 1001 & 1002.

Pathfinder International - Because Nobody Goes There

In this Visionaries episode, you'll travel with Dr. Annie Mathew, project manager for one of the nation's leading reproductive rights organizations. Dr. Mathew's assignment is to introduce birth control to an Islamic fundamentalist village in India where more women die from pregnancy than from old age-but birth control is a religious violation. You'll also travel to Kenya and meet local groups working to protect their families from AIDS. You'll meet volunteers committed to providing care against all obstacles. Join us and find out how social change is possible when locations are remote and topics are taboo. Show 1003.

International Crane Foundation - Creatures of the Sky vs. Tillers of the Soil

The International Crane Foundation built its reputation as a world-renowned center for scientific research and breeding of captive cranes. But that's all about to change. The International Crane Foundation has been presented with a challenge it is not prepared to face. They must convince Chinese farmers to give up the land they need to feed their families. The same land is needed as breeding ground for threatened wild cranes. Like many environmental organizations, the foundation must determine what is more important: people or wildlife? Is there a point at which human needs outweigh the needs of wildlife? Join The Visionaries in rural China and experience the surprising answer. Show 1004.

Community Chest - From the Farthest Reaches: Toward Building a Caring Community

In America, the average age of a homeless person is just nine years old. For the people at Community Chest, in Virginia City, Nevada, this is a dire statistic that means nothing less than the failure of our communities. This episode of The Visionaries takes viewers to two different parts of the U.S.: to the west, where Community Chest is working to build a sense of community so that the people they serve never reach such a critical point as homelessness, and to the east, where Vilmaria Harvey, a homeless mother of three, struggles to survive in a motel room in Framingham, Massachusetts. In the six months that they followed Vilmaria, The Visionaries crew watched as her children were taken from her by the state and as her oldest son was hospitalized after suffering a breakdown. While Vilmaria and the staff at Community Chest have never met, together their two stories show the power of caring-and how devastating life can be without it. Show 1005.

American International Health Alliance - Partners in Health

The disintegration of the Soviet Union and its allies set off an unprecedented collapse in that region's public health system. By establishing innovative, volunteer-centered partnerships between American healthcare professionals and their counterparts overseas, the American International Health Alliance offers a human response to this crisis. More than 100 partnerships in 22 countries have linked individuals and institutions in a mutual exchange of information, expertise, and friendship that improves not only the health of communities abroad, but also the health and well-being of citizens in the United States. Show 1006.

Community Advocates for People's Choice - Expanding Opportunity

In this episode of The Visionaries, we follow the stories of four disabled individuals who transcend their disabilities to lead active and meaningful lives in their community. They go to work and school, speak to community groups, and actively engage in meaningful relationships. Community Advocates for People's Choice (CAPC), located in suburban Los Angeles, works to empower individuals with disabilities to maximize the quality of their lives in their home communities. These stories go far to prove the power of their work. Show 1007.

Community Financial Resource Center - Expanding Opportunity

Forescee Hogan-Rowles remembers her neighborhood in south central Los Angeles as one of green grass and welcoming streets to children. Now, after two major riots her formerly pristine neighborhood is hardly recognizable to her. Yet today, as the leader of the Community Financial Resource Center (CFRC), she works to empower those who live in these communities to rebuild their lives and reclaim their neighborhoods. CFRC, under the direction of Ms. Hogan-Rowles, works to provide economic empowerment programs to previously disinvested communities in Los Angeles. Show 1007.

NASPE-Heart Rhythm Society - Designs on Life: Medical Advances Sustaining Meaningful Lives

On May 12, 1997, Deborah Daw Heffernan felt her heart explode. At the age of 44 and in the middle of her weekly yoga class, she was having a massive heart attack. Deborah is alive today only because of medical technology and research supported by groups like the NASPE-Heart Rhythm Society. In their 25 years, this membership organization of more than 3500 heart rhythm specialists has saved countless lives by bringing critical research on pacing and electrophysiology from the lab bench to the patient's bedside. In this episode of The Visionaries, Deborah Daw Heffernan, author of the bestseller "An Arrow Through the Heart," recounts her extraordinary journey from near-death back to life, while the staff at the NASPE-Heart Rhythm Society shows just how far they've come in keeping patients' hearts like Deborah's beating strong. Show 1008.

Hydrocephalus Association - Designs on Life: Medical Advances Sustaining Meaningful Lives

When 11-year old Gerard Fudge was diagnosed with hydrocephalus in 1981, his mother Emily was terrified. She had questions. What exactly is hydrocephalus? What kind of life could she expect for her son? Unfortunately, there was no place for Emily to go for support. Being helpless and uninformed was not an acceptable option. She promised herself that no one else would have to feel so alone at such a difficult time. Now, 22 years later, the Hydrocephalus Association provides support, education and advocacy to people impacted by this life-long condition. In this episode of The Visionaries, we travel to San Francisco, St. Louis and Dallas to find out what happens when people dealing with complex medical, emotional and physical issues associated with hydrocephalus receive support, education and access to ongoing quality healthcare. Show 1008.

Village Adult Services - Links to Life

Jack is a 90-year-old man who loves Saint Patrick's Day, baseball, and talking with his many friends. He is also a man betrayed by a longtime caretaker. Jack lost his home and life savings, but not his will to live independently. Village Adult Services (VAS) stepped up its commitment to help Jack at the most vulnerable time of his life.

The aging of the American population has been called the most defining social change in the country. Most of us know the options: nursing homes, hospice, senior centers, assisted living. But how are we reinventing community and care for seniors who want to stay home? VAS is one of the oldest adult day centers in the nation and offers answers that promise dignity for the elderly and respite for their families. We'll find out why day centers are overlooked-but should not be. Show 1009.

EngenderHealth - One Choice, One World

This episode of The Visionaries begins with an extraordinary event in a small village in West Africa. Rather than celebrating the birth of a child, the residents of Adantia are singing and dancing to rejoice in the prevention of a birth. This is an extraordinary moment for the staff at EngenderHealth, an international reproductive health and family planning agency based in New York. For the last 60 years, this nonprofit has been working in West Africa and in many other parts of the world to promote a woman's right to make informed decisions about her reproductive health-and to then help clinics provide safe and accessible services to accommodate those decisions. On a broader scale, EngenderHealth is tackling issues like overpopulation and environmental degradation by fostering a dialogue around family size in communities like Adantia. The decision not to have more children begins with one woman but it has profound implications for her community, her country, and the entire world. Show 1010.

Initiative for Social Action and Renewal in Eurasia - Living the Legacy

The Visionaries travels to one of the most contaminated spots on the planet to show that, even though no bombs were dropped, victims from the cold war do exist. Due to an explosion at a nearby nuclear facility that remained a secret until the 1980s, some residents of the southern Ural region of Chelyabinsk were exposed to as much as twenty times the radiation as the victims of Chernobyl. Struggling to bring this human tragedy to light, the Initiative for Social Action and Renewal in Eurasia (ISAR) in Washington, D.C., began an exchange program between Russians and Americans. Their goal was to get both sides talking about the real enemy in the cold war-the nuclear contamination resulting from the arms buildups in both Russia and America. Viewers will witness the extraordinary relationship that develops between two of these exchange participants-an activist from Los Almos, where the atomic bomb was invented, and a liquidator from Chernobyl-as they share their stories of tragedy and survival with the residents of Chelyabinsk. Show 1011.

Family Services of Westchester - Living the Legacy

Author Edward Everett Hale wrote, "I am only one but still I am one. I cannot do everything but I can do something. Because I cannot do everything I will not refuse to do the something I can do." In this episode of The Visionaries, you'll discover the extraordinary history and legacy of Family Services of Westchester, a social service agency that was created by individuals who, when facing the seemingly insurmountable needs of their community, chose to do the something they could. Discover how one woman's decision has altered the lives of generations of New Yorkers. Show 1011.

Trickle Up - Business Unusual

Trickle Up is an international nonprofit organization dedicated to reducing poverty by providing the poorest of the poor with the opportunity to create their own businesses. Our Visionaries crew travels to the worst slums of Sub-Saharan Africa and India in order to document the work of Trickle Up. What we witness will astound you: hope growing quietly among the filth and desperation. The visionary who planted the seeds of this revolution is a senior citizen who began the battle against poverty with her beloved husband and continues it in his memory. Mildred and Glen Leet saw Trickle Down economics as a fallacy. In response, they created Trickle Up-an innovative answer to some of the world's most troubling questions. Show 1012.

AbilityFirst - From Pity to Possibilities

AbilityFirst provides lifespan services specifically designed to help children and adults with physical and developmental disabilities realize their full potential. The group has a fascinating history that began in the days when polio stole childhood from so many of America's young. In fact, AbilityFirst (formerly known as the Crippled Children's Society) built the first camp for people with disabilities. Our Visionaries crew hears firsthand from campers past and present, who provide poignant testimony to the evolving perception of America's disabled community. AbilityFirst's vision is of a society that values each individual and provides the opportunity for all people to lead full and productive lives. Looking beyond disabilities, focusing on capabilities, expanding possibilities-we'll show you how they do it. Show 1013.