March 7, 2017 at 11:00 am by Melanie
Looking to read up on all our 2016 Caught in the Act (CITA) public vote nominees before you cast your ballot? We’ve got your back! Below, you’ll find a quick summary of each of the four finalists, plus links to our CITA voting page.
As a reminder, you have until Monday, March 13 at 23:59 ET (11:59 p.m. ET) to cast your ballot. You may only vote once.
Natalie, 16, was a victim of bullying for several years. As the person who nominated her explained, her father Scott struggled to find a way to make things better for his daughter, who was previously fought her way through both depression and hospitalization. After eventually changing schools and making new friends, “she felt like she needed to do more.” With her own experiences as a motivator, Natalie created an app to help those struggling with depression, loneliness, or just generally feeling like they don’t belong. The app, called Sit With Us, helps kids feel like they belong. As the person who nominated her explains it, Sit With Us is “a free lunch planning app that allows people to offer a seat at the cafeteria table to those who need a welcoming place and a friend.” Her app was a major success and has since been picked up by various media outlets, including NPR, The Huffington Post, and The Los Angeles Daily News.
As Larry and Marsha’s nominating party writes, “This couple is spending their golden years in Zambia, April through September, [where they’re] working to provide water and medicine to children.” Rather than kicking back and relaxing, the kindhearted couple is working to ensure “the sustainability of the organization” as the person who nominated them explains, as “the need for well repairs in Zambia is astonishing.” Repairing existing wells is more cost effective than starting from scratch and building new wells, and as the couple have a good understanding of the way things work, they’re putting that impressive knowledge to good use through the Christian relief organization OneMillionChildren, whose philanthropic mission is “to provide clean water, medical care and the Word of God to one million children in Africa.”
SreyRam is a refugee and a child survivor of war and the Cambodian genocide, and “has always had a deep passion and commitment to caring for underserved populations”, according to the person that nominated her. “After her life was saved by a volunteer surgeon in a Cambodian refugee camp as a child, she went on to become a surgeon herself”, the nominating party explains, eventually becoming the chief medical officer for the state of Louisiana’s Medicaid program, which serves approximately 1.6 million people. There, SreyRam implemented a Zika prevention strategy for pregnant Medicaid patients; worked to ensure women have access to BRCA testing and coverage of contralateral breast reconstruction for breast cancer; and, during the massive Louisiana flooding, “traveled to shelters, coordinated medical efforts, and spoke at town halls with flood victims to educate about flood health hazards such as mold treatment and tetanus shots.” Currently, she is working on a number of projects to help low-income patients, including fighting back against the ongoing opioid crisis “through initiatives such as doctor training, public education, limits on opioids, and dosing guidelines”. Over the holidays, instead of purchasing gifts for friends, SreyRam and her sister organized a fundraising benefit for the Nomi Network, an organization combatting human trafficking. “Giving back to the community is important to SreyRam because of her own personal experiences of overcoming adversity and surviving a genocide,” the person who nominated her explains.
As the person who nominated her notes, Danielle, who runs the Rochester, Minnesota Random Acts of Kindness Facebook page, has carried out several acts of kindness for the community over the years. “Earlier this summer Danielle spearheaded a Giving Tree campaign,” her nominating party explains. “Several trees around the town were decorated—toys, small works of art, and ideas for RAKs were hung from the branches anyone passing by to take.” In August last year, Danielle organized a donation drive for a local homeless shelter; “helped organize a rally, United4Love, to bring the community together to stand against hatred and intolerance”; and “organized donation, packing, and delivery of Thanksgiving and Christmas meals for numerous families who wouldn’t be able to afford them otherwise”. “[Danielle] is always finding ways to help others in the community,” the person who nominated her writes.
As a reminder, the public vote for the 2016-2017 round of Caught in the Act is now open until 23:59 ET on Monday, March 13, 2017 (That’s 11:59 p.m. ET)! Cast your ballot here and be a part of the final year of our CITA program.