The Hero’s Call | Champions of Safety and Justice
We recognize that times are difficult. Many of our friends and neighbors are hurting. We made this web series, The Hero’s Call, to profile positivity in our community. We hope the extraordinary actions of ordinary people will help inspire others.
The Hero’s Call | Episode 18 | Helen Helen Slottje | Environmental Attorney
Lawyers may not wear a mask and a cape but they certainly do make valuable contributions to society. This is evident in the work of Attorney Helen Slottje, Esq. She was taken aback by how prominent fracking was in the gas and oil industries and how our natural resources were in great danger. She soon shifted her career focus to environmental law. Her tireless work on raising awareness about the dangers of fracking and its environmental hazards has made her the recipient of the North America Goldman Environmental Prize. Helen is truly an environmental hero. As Helen states, “Ordinary people can achieve extraordinary results.” We were so excited to have her sit with us as a featured heroic guest on The Hero’s Call. Click the video above to here Helen’s story.
The Hero’s Call | Episode 17 | Mahsa Khanbabai Immigration Attorney
Lawyers can be heroes too! For 20 years Mahsa Khanbabai dedicated her career to represent immigrants. Her amazing work got the Trump Administration to reverse course on a policy that would have deprived lifesaving medical care to countless immigrants here legally. Attorney Khanbabai regularly appears on news outlets including MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show, Lawrence O’Donnell, NPR among others. We were so excited to have her sit with us as a featured heroic guest on The Hero’s Call. Click on the video above to hear more about Masha’s work.
The Hero’s Call | Episode 16 | Michael Kaplan | Milford Area Humanitarian Coalition
When schools shut down and many kids in Milford were struggling to secure meals, Michael Kaplan from the Milford Area Humanitarian Coalition stepped in to expedite planning and to deliver meals to those in need. Between March and September, the coalition served over 105,000 meals. Click on the video above to hear more about Mike and the organization.
The Hero’s Call | Episode 15 | Chris Nikic | Ironman
Early in November, Chris Nikic became the first person with Down syndrome to ever attempt and complete the grueling Ironman triathlon (2.4 miles open-water swim, 112-mile bike ride and a 26.2-mile run). With help from his dad and coach Dan Grieb, Chris started preparing more than a year in advance for this tremendous feat. In the latest episode of The Hero’s Call, we sat down to talk big dreams with Chris. The Ironman was the first step for him towards his other goals, like living independently with his own house and family.
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The Hero’s Call | Episode 14 | Noelle Lambert | The Born To Run Foundation
We all face adversity in our lives. The challenge is deciding how to deal with such adversity. On this episode of The Hero’s Call, we spoke with Noelle Lambert, a Division 1 athlete in women’s lacrosse, who lost her leg in a tragic accident. After receiving a running prosthetic as a donation, Noelle continued her athletic career and now is the 100M record holder for our U.S. Paralympic team. Learn how Noelle started The Born to Run Foundation, where she gives back to other amputees and help them overcome their own personal adversities.
The Hero’s Call | Episode 13 | Leonard Lee | Masking the Community
The coronavirus can affect anyone, but for various reasons the virus has disproportionately affected the Black and Latino communities. We sat down with Leonard Lee, a member of the Boston Parks and Recreation Commission, who is helping to slow the spread by “masking the community.” To date, his initiative has handed out over 100,000 masks to at risk communities in the greater Boston area.
The Hero’s Call | Episode 12 | John Kinney | Gloria’s Gladiators
Our elders fear going outside these days. But, what happens when it’s unsafe for elders to stay in their homes? A Woburn electrician came to the rescue for one such elder, Gloria. He started a fundraiser “Old Lady Needs Help” and raised more than $100,000 to make Gloria’s house safe. Now, he’s started a movement of volunteer tradesmen, who help repair elders’ houses. This week on the Hero’s Call, we sat down with John Kinney, the founder of Gloria’s Gladiators. Learn about this inspiring story and the man behind this movement.
The Hero’s Call | Episode 11 | Annie’s Kindness Blankets
September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. We sat down with three members from the Annie’s Kindness Blankets team to discuss the work their organization has done to stop the stigma around depression & suicide and promote kindness. Annie’s Kindness Blankets sends handmade blankets to those in need as an everlasting hug to let them know they are never alone.
The Hero’s Call | Episode 10.2 | Susan Velardi | Elementary School Teacher
Massachusetts teachers and students are getting ready to go back to school. Whether in-person, remote or hybrid, school this year will be different. This summer, one school in Connecticut resumed in-person classes before others. We interviewed one of those teachers – Susan Velardi – a 2nd grade teacher, who resumed in-person education because she was committed to deliver all children access to education. In Part 2 of this episode, learn how teachers supported each other in this new education model and what advice Susan gives to the teachers, parents and children gearing up to resume in person and remote education.
The Hero’s Call | Episode 10 | Susan Velardi | Elementary School Teacher
In the upcoming weeks, teachers and students will go back to school. Whether in-person, remote or hybrid, school this year will be different. In MA, we are all navigating these uncharted waters together. This summer, one school in Connecticut resumed in-person classes before others. This week on The Hero’s Call, we interviewed one of those teachers – Susan Velardi – a 2nd grade teacher, who resumed in-person education because she was committed to deliver all children access to education. In Part 1 of this episode, learn how district teachers and students kept safe, what the classrooms looked like and how teachers, children and parents reacted to in-person learning.
The Hero’s Call | Episode 9 | Declan Houton | Devri Boston
When the bars and restaurants shut down, the annual fundraiser hosted by local band @DevriBoston was cancelled. Learn how a local musician, Declan Houton turned his basement into an Irish pub and hosted a live concert for charity every Sunday night to raise money for @Lucy’slovebus. Houton raised more than $36,000 to improve the lives of child cancer patients.
The Hero’s Call | Episode 8 | Philjay Solar | Asian American Commission
Have you heard the term “China Virus”? Since the pandemic, Asian Americans have faced racism. Learn how Philjay Somera Solar and the Asian American Commission have dealt with the negative stigma attached to such intentionally derogatory phrases.
The Hero’s Call | Episode 7 | Cara Soulia | The Front Steps Project
How does a simple idea go viral and raise more than $1.85 Million for the charities most needy in the midst of a global pandemic? In Episode 7 of The Hero’s Call, learn how Needham photographer, Cara Soulia, took her unexpected free time and founded The Front Steps Project, where she documented this historical time by photographing families on their front steps during the quarantine.
The Hero’s Call | Episode 6 | Dr. Tonisha Pinckney | Professor | Social Justice Advocate
In the wake of George Floyd’s murder and the racial justice crisis in our Country, learn how social justice advocate Dr. Tonisha Pinckney (Dr. Toni) is ready to resume mentoring police officers and to tackle race relations’ issues head on in an effort to make “liberty and justice for all” a reality.
The Hero’s Call | Episode 5 | Kerry Miller & Steve Clark | Mass Restaurant Association
Learn how 4 staff members of the Massachusetts Restaurant Association (MRA) carried the local restaurant industry on their back in an effort to help every restaurant and their employees navigate the pandemic and get to the other side of COVID-19.