Giraffe Heroes Database
Letter "L"
Entries beginning with "L"

Ladinsky, Judith

Judith Ladinsky MD of Madison WI, a medical professor, has been called both a CIA agent and a Communist by people who can't understand her dedication to improved relations with Vietnam, including helping Amerasian children there get to their fathers' country, the USA.

  • international peace
Giraffe work location(s): Asia, Vietnam
Home when commended: North America, US, Wisconsin
Home now: North America, US, Wisconsin
Gender: F (female)
For more information, click on the Giraffe's name.

Ladyi, Henri Bura

In the war-ravaged Democratic Republic of Congo former schoolteacher Henri Bura Ladyi works constantly for peace, disarming militia fighters and helping them rejoin their communities, helping displaced people get back to their homes, resolving conflicts, and rescuing thousands of children—some as young as seven—who have been abducted into violent militias. Ladyi persists despite the constant danger that he’ll be killed for his efforts.

  • community development
  • education
  • international peace
Giraffe work location(s): Africa, Democratic Republic of Congo
Home when commended: Africa, Democratic Republic of Congo
Home now: Africa, Democratic Republic of Congo
Gender: M (male)
For more information, click on the Giraffe's name.

Lakey, George

George Lakey of Philadelphia PA stages non-violent direct actions in troubled places around the globe. He's been arrested for civil disobedience, and has risked death on many occasions. He has taught non-violent tactics to Sri Lankan Buddhist monks, Norwegian pacifists, New Zealand whites and Maoris, Mohawk community leaders, Michigan farm workers, and maximum security prisoners.
  • civil liberties
  • international peace
  • public safety
Giraffe work location(s): Global
Home when commended: North America, US, Pennsylvania
Home now: North America, US, Pennsylvania
Gender: M (male)
For more information, click on the Giraffe's name.

Lame, Michael

Michael Lame of Los Angeles CA walked away from a lucrative legal career to start and run the Foundation for Mideast Communication, which provides workshops in which Arabs and Jews in the Middle East and the U.S. face each other openly to talk—and to listen. Lame often goes into conflict zones to do the workshops, despite threats and accusations that he’s a spy or provocateur.

  • international peace
Giraffe work location(s): Asia, Middle East, North America, US
Home when commended: North America, U.S., California
Home now: North America, U.S., California
Gender: M (male)
For more information, click on the Giraffe's name.

Lang, Eugene

Eugene Lang of New York NY, attending a commencement at his old elementary school, told the graduating sixth-graders that if they stayed in school, he would pay their college tuition. The son of poor parents himself, the multi-millionaire inspired hundreds of other people of means to follow his lead, guaranteeing kids' tuition and meeting with them regularly to monitor their progress and give them encouragement.

  • education
  • ethnicity/minorities
  • youth issues
Giraffe work location(s): North America, US, New York
Home when commended: North America, US, New York
Home now: North America, US, New York
Gender: M (male)
For more information, click on the Giraffe's name.

Larson, Dora

Dora Larson of Orion IL started PACT, Protecting All Children Together, after her 10-year old daughter was raped and murdered. Through PACT she has helped pass a dozen laws, including the Children's Bill of Rights. Larson supports and protects young victims during the trials of their abusers. Sometimes threatened with violence herself, Larson is on call 24 hours a day for victims of abuse and their heartbroken families.
  • civil liberties
  • criminal justice
  • youth issues
Giraffe work location(s): North America, US, Illinois
Home when commended: North America, US, Illinois
Home now: North America, US, Illinois
Gender: F (female)
For more information, click on the Giraffe's name.

Lasdon, Doug

Doug Lasdon of New York City founded the Legal Action Center for the Homeless, working alone in an unheated, burned-out building instead of the posh office he could have commanded as the top student in his law class. He set up five soup kitchens and legal clinics as well as an outreach and referral service, trained a staff of six, and won a string of legal and administrative victories for the homeless.
  • criminal justice
  • poverty
Giraffe work location(s): North America, US, New York
Home when commended: North America, US, New York
Home now: North America, US, New York
Gender: M (male)
For more information, click on the Giraffe's name.

Lawrence, Michael

After being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis—MS—Michael Lawrence hit rock-bottom. He lost his job, his family, and his home, and he made several attempts at suicide. But then he took a motivational seminar and began playing racquetball. He became an expert racquetball player, and established a foundation for other people with MS. He went on to give racquetball demonstrations and motivational talks across the country.

  • health/public health/disabilities
Giraffe work location(s): North America, US, National
Home when commended: North America, US, Colorado
Home now: North America, US, Colorado
Gender: M (male)
For more information, click on the Giraffe's name.

Lawrence-Chewning, Sharon

Sharon Lawrence of Roswell NM risks her fragile health to volunteer more than 30 stressful hours a week as a court-appointed advocate for abused and neglected children. Lawrence takes on the toughest cases, recommending to the court actions that are in the best interests of the children.
  • criminal justice
  • youth issues
Giraffe work location(s): North America, US, New Mexico
Home when commended: North America, US, New Mexico
Home now: North America, US, New Mexico
Gender: F (female)
For more information, click on the Giraffe's name.

Lazar, Jeff

When he was five years old Jeff Lazar of Oak Park MI began spending his summers and afterschool hours raising funds for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. As a teenager, Jeff organized summer carnivals that became a major annual event in Oak Park, raising thousands of dollars for the cause.

  • health/public health/disabilities
Giraffe work location(s): North America, US, Michigan
Home when commended: North America, US, Michigan
Home now: North America, US, Michigan
Gender: M (male)
For more information, click on the Giraffe's name.

Lazar, Martin

Martin Lazar, a neurosurgeon, makes it a practice to look up other physicians when he travels. He was so concerned about the sub-standard equipment many of them were using that he used his own time and money to create Medisend, a nonprofit that collects medical equipment in the US and ships it to doctors in Nepal, Mexico, Tanzania, China and the Phillipines.

  • international aid
Giraffe work location(s): Global
Home when commended: North America, US, Texas
Home now: North America, US, Texas
Gender: M (male)
For more information, click on the Giraffe's name.

Lazerev, Michael

Michael Lazerev is a doctor in Russia who has sacrificed advancement and suffered a great deal of suspicion and criticism for devoting his free time to helping asthmatic children.
  • health/public health/disabilities
Giraffe work location(s): Asia, Russia
Home when commended: Asia, Russia
Home now: Asia, Russia
Gender: M (male)
For more information, click on the Giraffe's name.

Lazo, William

William Lazo of Haddonfield, New Jersey, gave up a successful real estate career to help victims of crime, assist the police, and rehabilitate offenders. He became a teacher of disabled students and then started and managed an organization, VPO, to help Victims of crime, Police and corrections officers, and Offenders.

  • criminal justice
Giraffe work location(s): North America, US, New Jersey
Home when commended: North America, US, New Jersey
Home now: North America, US, New York
Gender: M (male)
For more information, click on the Giraffe's name.

Leanna, Anthony

In 2001 when Anthony Leanna was 10, his grandmother was in cancer treatment and the boy became concerned that she and so many other seriously ill people lost their hair. Anthony braved adults’ disbelief and children’s taunts, to create Heavenly Hats, a non-profit that in its first 10 years distributed more than a million hats to patients in the US and abroad.

  • health/public health/disabilities
  • poverty
Giraffe work location(s): Global
Home when commended: North America, United States, Wisconsin
Home now: North America, United States, Wisconsin
Gender: M (male)
For more information, click on the Giraffe's name.

Lebo , Justin

Justin Lebo of Saddlebrook NJ refurbished dozens of bikes for kids who couldn’t afford them, donating them to boys' homes and to local families. When he was 10 Justin started working summers and weekends, using his earnings to purchase old bikes and buy new parts to refurbish them, so other boys' dreams of having their own bikes could come true.

  • poverty
  • youth issues
Giraffe work location(s): North America, US, New Jersey
Home when commended: North America, US, New Jersey
Home now: North America, US, New Jersey
Gender: M (male)
For more information, click on the Giraffe's name.

Lechtenberg, Jennie

Sister Jennie Lechtenberg of Los Angeles CA abandoned the security of her religious order's traditional teaching role to pioneer an educational service for East Los Angeles. Free educational programs for students from toddlers to elders include English as a second language, adult literacy, computer skills and job training, plus latchkey and tutoring programs for the largely Hispanic community.
  • community development
  • education
Giraffe work location(s): North America, US, California
Home when commended: North America, US, California
Home now: North America, US, California
Gender: F (female)
For more information, click on the Giraffe's name.
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