Meet CNN's Top 10 Heroes of 2019
Most of their efforts started small – a few began with donations in their basements. Others have a personal connection with the people they help.
To find out who's been named, you'll have to watch "CNN Heroes: All-Star Tribute," hosted by Anderson Cooper and Kelly Ripa, live on Sunday, December 8, starting at 8:00 PM. ET.
CNN Heroes have been watching the impressive work of people around the world since 2007. Here's a look at this year's CNN Top 10 Heroes:
Stachi Alonso: A Pet Shelter
Her Cause:  In 2007, Stachi Alonso opened the Noah's Animal House, a pet shelter located exactly on the grounds of a Las Vegas domestic violence shelter. Less than 1
0% of domestic violence shelters offer pet services. In Noah, women can visit and care for their pets as often as they like. The shelter also has "lounges" designed as lounges where women can spend time with their pets.
What inspired her: Alonso served on the board of a women's shelter in 2004, when she discovered that women fleeing domestic violence often had nowhere to go, as shelters did not accept pets . "My two dogs … were my rock and my reinforcement," Alonso said. "I couldn't imagine finding myself in that type of situation, finding the courage to leave and having to leave them." Alonso was also shocked to learn that in many cases women would return to their abusive situation to stay with their beloved pet.
Read more about Stachi Alonso and her work
Naja Bazzi: Helping the impoverished women and children in Detroit
Her cause: Naja Bazzi founded Zaman International, a nonprofit that provides basic needs, education and job training for more than 250,000 women and children of all backgrounds in the Detroit area. The group's 40,000-square-foot warehouse in the suburban Detroit area of Inxster offers walkways with food, rows of clothing and huge, free-of-charge massifs of furniture. Group case managers help clients access housing and other services.
What inspired her: Buzzie worked as a nurse in 1996 when she visited an Iraqi refugee family to help care for her dying baby. She knew the situation would be difficult, but she was not prepared for what she was facing.
"There, in the house, I got my first glimpse of poverty … They had absolutely nothing," she said. "I was so devastated by this … I decided it would not happen on my watch."
That day, Baji and her family gathered all the furniture and household items they could – including a manger – and delivered everything to the family.
Read more about Naja Bazzi and her work.
Woody Faircloth: Fixing donated RVs for fire victims. refurbished recreation vehicles – or RVs – of California's 2018 California displaced survivors. Faircloth contacts RV owners who are interested in donating or selling used RVs at a low cost. He rebuilds the cars himself and negotiates the cost of having to hire professional mechanics for heavy repairs. Once the RV is ready to go, Faircloth arranges a way to transport it to the recipient. So far, its nonprofit has provided 70 RVs to campfire survivors.
What Inspires Him: As the campfire destroys homes in Paradise, California, Faircloth watched the news from his home in Denver, Colorado. , "I just couldn't imagine being in this position," said Faircloth, a four-year-old father. "I had a hard time letting it go … I knew I wanted to do something to help." He started creating GoFundMe to raise money to buy and rebuild used RVs to evacuate campfire – and his nonprofit is growing from that.
Read more about Woody Firecloth and his work.
Freweini Mebrahtu: Removing cultural stigma around women's periods they miss school or drop out because of their periods. So in 2005 Freweini Mebrahtu also designed a patent menstrual pad for reusable use. Today, she and her team produce 750,000 pads a year at their daughter's Mariam Seba sanitary ware factory. Mebrahtu works in partnership with the Non-Profit Dignity Period, which holds educational seminars for more than 300,000 students, teaching girls and boys that menstruation is natural, not shameful. Mebracht has spoken at these events from time to time and is pleased to see thousands of students receiving this message.
What inspired her: When Freweini Mebrahtu received her 13-year term, she panicked. "I remembered (heard) that it was actually a curse to have a period," she said. "Either that meant I was ready to get married, or (that) I was bad."
Like most girls in northern Ethiopia, she suffered silently, never mentioning it to her mother or sisters. Without access to sanitary products, she coped with rags. "I had an accident at one time and I was so scared and ashamed," she said. "Even today I remember how I felt."
Mebrahtu continued to study in the United States and remembers his first trip to an American drug store.
"I saw tremendous choices in the choice of sanitary pads," she said. "I started to think …" How about the girls I left behind? ""
Read more about Freweini Mebrahtu and her work
Mark Meyers: Sanctuary for abused and neglected donkeys  His cause: Donkeys helped build America today are abused and abused. Mark Myers and his wife operate the largest donkey sanctuary in the United States, known as the Donkey Rescue Valley. The nonprofit has saved 13,000 donkeys and a storm so far and has expanded to two additional ranches in Virginia and Arizona. Together, the three ranches can handle 3000 of these animals at a time. The organization also has smaller satellite adoption centers across the country. The group trains donkeys to accommodate them in good homes. The organization accepts about 400 donkeys each year.
What inspired him: Myers didn't always feel that strong with donkeys. In 1999, he was living out of Los Angeles and working as an electrical contractor when his wife bought donkeys to accompany their dog. They named the donkey Izzy.
"We fell in love with her," Myers said. "She opened her eyes to the donkey problem. We started to notice donkeys in need everywhere." By 2005, Myers and his wife had 250 donkeys on their land.
"We decided that we either had a problem or we would have to find a way to find homes for these donkeys," he said. So they gave up their careers and moved to a ranch outside of San Angelo, Texas, where they started for profit.
Read more about Mark Myers and his work
Richard Miles: Helping Ex-Prisoners Get Jobs, New Life
His Cause: Michael's Nonprofit Purpose of Freedom Richard Miles helps ex-prisoners restart their lives. Working in South Dallas, the non-governmental organization assists people returning home from prison by helping them obtain identification, enroll in college, and provide housing. The group also provides computer training and career training, financial literacy and employment programs.
The Miles of Freedom Lawn Care Service provides temporary employment for men and women in the program. Miles also offers a shuttle, which takes family members to see their loved ones who are imprisoned.
What inspired him: Miles was a teenager when he was arrested and charged with murder. At 20, he was sentenced to 60 years behind bars. He was an innocent man.
Wrongly convicted of a crime he did not commit, Miles spent 15 years in a Texas prison. He was 34 when he was released in 2009.
"I was overloaded. I was 34, but I was 19 in terms of society. I wasn't dealing with the world and I was literally scared," he said. "I didn't know about taxes and employment. The world was completely different. "
For two years Miles struggled to get to his feet. He eventually found a job, and today he is married with a child. His own struggles and seeing other ex-prisoners in the same situation were the impetus to help other ex-prisoners transition and stay out of prison.
Read more about Richard Miles and his work
Roger Montoya: An Art Center for Children Living in an Opioid-Deserted Region
His Reason: In the New Mexico Area, severely affected by the opioid crisis, Roger Montoya takes care of young people to find a different path and express themselves in positive ways through his nonprofit Moving Arts Española. Since 2008, its community arts center has provided arts classes, free food, mentoring and support to more than 5,000 children and young people. Several hundred students participate each year in classes ranging from gymnastics and circus arts to fashion designs and musical arts such as singing, violin, ballet and hip hop. The group also celebrates local culture by teaching traditional Mexican dances known as folklore as well as Spanish flamenco and guitar dances.
What inspired him: Montoya was a professional dancer in New York, but until the late 80's, ie. he was HIV-positive and had lost his partner and many AIDS friends. Returning to New Mexico, he felt that he was going home to die.
"My soul was really suffering from such loss and sorrow," said Montoya, 58,. "It seemed inevitable that I would be the same this time."
Immersion in drawing, a lifelong passion, helped restore his health. Montoya was then inspired to bring the healing power of local children's arts. The vision of young people to grow as artists and as people gives Montoya great satisfaction.
"You can feel when they have this sense of pride and confidence," he said. "There's a small fire and we just feed it a little more every day."
Read more about Roger Montoya and his work.
Mary Robinson: Helping Children Learn How to Mourn
Her Cause: Mary Robinson Founds the Nonprofit Idea to deal with Loss in 2011 to help children deal with all the emotions that come from the death of a loved one. In the center, children learn how to deal with their grief with other children who have lost a parent, sibling, or sister.
Through games or arts and crafts, children and teens are encouraged to open and share with volunteer organizers. A realistic hospital room gives children whose parents have suffered long-term illnesses a unique way to work through their feelings, while others let some steam in the Volcano Room with their padded walls, punch pads and tear-down books.
What inspired her: Robinson founded the center to create what she didn't have after her father died of cancer when she was 14. As a result, her grades dropped, she quit her job and became
"It looked like bad behavior … But it was an example of a textbook for a grieving child," Robinson said. "I wasn't a bad kid. I was a sad kid."
Robinson fought until he received help in his late 20s. She eventually volunteered at a child support group and quit her job nearly two decades ago to devote herself to full-time work.
"I really do this job to make sure that other children do not lose years of their lives to an untold grief," she said. "The death of a parent is really a trauma for a child. But I don't have to leave a child traumatized if they get support. "
Read more about Mary Robinson and her work
Afroz Shah: Keep plastic out of the ocean
His cause: Afroz Shah started a voluntary movement that cleared over 60 million pounds of garbage – mostly plastic waste – from the beaches and waterways of Mumbai. Shah, a lawyer in Mumbai, has launched the Afroz Shah Foundation to help spread its mission to save the world's oceans from plastic pollution. Over 8 million tonnes of plastic end up in the oceans every year – the equivalent of a garbage truck thrown away every minute. It is estimated that by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean.
What inspired him: In 2015, Shah began collecting rubbish from Mumbai's Versova Beach every Sunday morning. He had played there as a child and was upset when he saw that the sand was no longer visible because it was covered with a layer of rubbish more than five feet thick. "The whole beach was like a carpet of plastic," he said. "That pushed me away."
At first it was just him and a neighbor, and then he began to recruit other people to join him. Word spread and with the help of social media, more volunteers became involved.
Shah Hasin "I have not stopped since. He has now spent more than 200 mission weekends inspiring over 200,000 volunteers to join him in what is known as the largest beach cleanup in the world. By October 2018. Versova's beach was finally clean and the Chess clearings extended to another beach as well as stretches of the Miti River and other regions of India.
Read more about Afroz Shah and his work
]] Zach Wigal: Transferring Video Games to Hospitalized Children
His Cause: Zach Wigal Turned Wigal is the founder of Gamers Outreach, which guarantees that children who cannot leave their hospital rooms during long-term medical treatment can choose their favorite non-profit hobby that carries game consoles – and relief – for children with chronic illnesses. He helped design the GoKarts, a portable trolley equipped with a game console and an array of video games that easily roll into the patient's room. The carts are now in more than 150 hospitals across the country.
What inspired him: As a junior at Wigal High School, he organized a Halo 2 tournament at his high school cafeteria. He was imprisoned "by a police officer who believed that games like Halo, in his words, corrupted the minds of America's youth," Wigal said.
The cancellation spawned an idea: Wigal wanted to show authorities that gamers aren't all bad or lazy kids – and they can do something right with their gaming skills.
In 2008, Wigal and his friends held an event called gamers to give and raise money for the Autistic Society of America. The event continued year after year, and as its popularity grew, the Wigal team branched out and began working with local hospitals.
"We have noticed that many of the video games (in hospitals) are jamming in the gaming halls." said Wigal. "And because of that, there was a whole segment of the hospital population that was somehow restricted to anything, they had access to their night environment."
Read more about Zack Wigal and his work