MARIA D'ANGELO, 67
Maria D'Angelo never dreamed she'd start a charity. But one afternoon in 1992, while volunteering at a homeless shelter, she met an 8-year-old boy who hadn't been attending school because his mom couldn't afford to get him a physical. "So I took him to a doctor," recalls D'Angelo, "and before long I started taking other kids." One act of kindness blossomed into another for this Italian immigrant who arrived in America on a freighter at 14. Each time D'Angelo, a former private school teacher, discovered a new need, she found a way to meet it. In 1993 she started the Children's Lifesaving Foundation (childrenslifesaving foundation.org), which-with a paid staff of three and hundreds of volunteers-has provided tutoring for hundreds of grade-schoolers, awarded college scholarships, moved families from shelters into new apartments and run summer camps attended by 50,000 inner-city kids. Says recent scholarship recipient Jasmin Romero, 18, who plans to become a nurse: "I owe my world to Maria."
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