An awards show for the selfless
For the past six years, CNN has been honoring everyday people who are changing the world.
The tradition continues Sunday night, when the top 10 CNN Heroes of 2012 will be recognized at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.
"CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute" will air live at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT on CNN's global networks. The show, hosted by Anderson Cooper, celebrates the year's top 10 CNN Heroes, who each receive a $50,000 grant for their extraordinary efforts to improve the lives of others.
At the end of the show, Cooper will announce the CNN Hero of the Year. The Hero of the Year is chosen every year by a public vote on CNN.com, and he or she will receive an additional $250,000 to continue their work. Votes can be cast through Wednesday (11:59 p.m. ET) at CNNHeroes.com. Votes can also be cast on a mobile device.
Many celebrities will be joining CNN to help tell these Heroes' remarkable stories. This year's celebrity presenters include movie stars Susan Sarandon, Maria Bello, Viola Davis, Harvey Keitel and Josh Duhamel; athletes Jeff Gordon and Cullen Jones; and hip-hop artist 50 Cent. Television stars Rainn Wilson ("The Office"), Rico Rodriguez ("Modern Family"), Jane Lynch ("Glee"), Miranda Cosgrove ("iCarly") and David Spade ("Rules of Engagement") will also be in attendance.
And during the show, three-time Grammy Award winner Ne-Yo will be performing, as will "American Idol" winner Phillip Phillips.
"As we enter the season of giving thanks, we are grateful to these talented and caring entertainers who are joining us in this celebration of the human spirit," said Kelly Flynn, senior executive producer for the CNN Heroes initiative and "CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute." "We appreciate the time they're taking to raise awareness for the life-changing work of this year's CNN Heroes."
One hour before the tribute show, CNN will air a special presentation, "CNN Heroes: Sharing the Spotlight," that features exclusive interviews with Ne-Yo, actor Ben Stiller and model Christy Turlington Burns.
Since January, CNN Heroes have been profiled every week on CNN and CNN.com. These Heroes were chosen from thousands of nominations submitted through the CNN Heroes website.
Here are the top 10 Heroes of 2012, in alphabetical order:
Pushpa Basnet Pushpa Basnet was shocked to learn that many children in Nepal have to live in prisons with their parents. In 2005, she started a children's center that has provided support, such as housing, education and medical care, to more than 140 children of incarcerated parents.
Wanda Butts Wanda Butts lost her son in a drowning accident six years ago. In his memory, she started the Josh Project, a nonprofit that taught nearly 1,200 children -- most of them minorities -- how to swim.
Mary Cortani Mary Cortani is a former Army dog trainer who started Operation Freedom Paws, a nonprofit that helps war veterans train their own service dogs. Since 2010, she has worked with more than 80 veterans who have invisible wounds such as post-traumatic stress disorder.
Catalina Escobar Catalina Escobar is helping young moms in Colombia, where one in five girls age 15-19 is or has been pregnant. Since 2002, her foundation has provided counseling, education and job training to more than 2,000 teenage mothers.
Razia Jan Razia Jan is fighting to educate girls in rural Afghanistan, where terrorists will stop at nothing to keep them from learning. She and her team at the Zabuli Education Center are providing a free education to about 350 girls, many of whom wouldn't normally have access to school.
Thulani Madondo Thulani Madondo struggled as a child growing up in the slums of Kliptown, South Africa. Today, his Kliptown Youth Program provides school uniforms, tutoring, meals and activities to 400 children in the community.
Leo McCarthy In memory of his daughter who was killed by a drunken driver in 2007, Leo McCarthy started Mariah's Challenge. The nonprofit gives college scholarships to teenagers who pledge not to drink while they're underage. Nearly $150,000 in scholarship money has been awarded.
Connie Siskowski Connie Siskowski is helping young people who have to take care of an ill, disabled or aging family member. Since 2006, her nonprofit has provided assistance to more than 550 young caregivers in Palm Beach County, Florida.
Scott Strode After beating his addiction to drugs and alcohol, Scott Strode found support through sports. Since 2007, his nonprofit, Phoenix Multisport, has provided free athletic activities and a sober support community to more than 6,000 participants in Colorado.
Malya Villard-Appolon Malya Villard-Appolon is a rape survivor dedicated to supporting victims of sexual violence in Haiti. In 2004, she co-founded KOFAVIV, an organization that has helped more than 4,000 rape survivors find safety, psychological support and/or legal aid.
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