OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network announced today that it will air a new original 10-part docu-series, “The Hero Effect” from Dolphin Entertainment and United Way. The series will premiere on November 12 with two 30-minute episodes airing monthly on Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. ET/PT. The series is co-hosted by Donald Driver (NFL player, “Dancing With the Stars”) and actress/advocate Emily Wilson (“The Newsroom,” “Castle”).
Presented by United Way and produced by Dolphin Entertainment, “The Hero Effect” is described as an uplifting docu-series that brings to life the stories of ordinary individuals who are making extraordinary differences in their communities. Shot on location in ten different communities across the country, each episode will celebrate everyday heroes that facilitate beneficial, life-changing impact on the people around them. The heroes featured in the series were identified in part through nominations from the 1,200 local United Ways across the country. Each episode concludes with a call-to-action, encouraging viewers to visit www.HeroEffect.com and connect with their local United Way or other community-based organizations to create positive change.
“Instinctively, we all believe that there are quiet heroes out in the world, helping others in meaningful ways,” said Bill O’Dowd, CEO, Dolphin Entertainment. “The Hero Effect’ hopes to create some noise around their efforts, in the hope of inspiring others to do the same. With OWN and United Way, we have two strong partners who have built leading, recognizable brands on celebrating the power of the human spirit, and will help us to bang the drum for more heroes.”
“Throughout my 35 years of working with communities at United Way, I’ve learned that the vast majority of people are eager to make the world a better place,” said Brian Gallagher, President and CEO of United Way Worldwide. “The men and women featured in The Hero Effect are our local heroes, stepping forward to make a difference in their communities. We’re incredibly inspired by their work and excited to help share them and their efforts with the world.”
Below is an episode breakdown:
Episode One, “Mission United”: Founded by Stephen Moss, who was inspired after his daughter returned from deployment injured, Mission United supports military veterans and their families.
Episode Two, “Café Momentum”: Chef Chad Houser created this Dallas-based restaurant and culinary training facility to transform the lives of at-risk youth who have spent time in juvenile facilities.
Episode Three, “More too Life”: Brook Bello used her story of survival as a way to reach out to other victims of human trafficking to help them heal and restore their own lives.
Episode Four, “Mary’s Center”: Maria Gomez, a nurse in the District of Columbia’s Department of Health, founded this federally qualified health center to provide health care, family literacy and social services to individuals whose needs too often go unmet.
Episode Five, “Raising Readers in Story County”: Carolyn Jons leads the effort to help improve language and literacy development in children, and nurture healthy family relationships.
Episode Six, “Rising Tide Car Wash”: Founded by John and Tom D’Eri, Rising Tide Carwash hires individuals with autism and teaches them job skills to help them on a path towards independent living.
Episode Seven, “Treehouse”: Founded by Judy Cockerton, Treehouse is a multi-generational affordable community connecting the elderly with families in foster care or who have been adopted.
Episode Eight, “Katie’s Krops”: 17-year-old Katie Stagliano started this organization to teach kids about growing vegetables and how providing those crops to disadvantaged populations can help fight hunger.
Episode Nine, “Cheyenne River Youth Project”: Project leader Julie Garreau works with young people from poverty stricken Native American families in the Eagle Buttle, SD, community to create services that foster healthy choices and life practices.
Episode Ten, “Indo Jax Surf Charities”: Jack Viorel leads this organization, which empowers disadvantaged, medically fragile and special needs children by exposing them to the ocean environment and teaching them to surf.