Visionaries - Changing the World One Story at a Time

Season 08

The Salvation Army

I Know You by Heart: Marching with the Salvation Army - If you think the Salvation Army is bell ringers at Christmas time and thrift shops after the spring cleaning, then you will be shocked by what you will discover in this episode of The Visionaries, "I Know You by Heart: Marching with the Salvation Army." You'll meet the modern day risk takers and adventurers who serve in today's army tackling some of societies largest problems on an international scale. Shot in the brothels of Bangladesh and a gang infested neighborhood of New York City, you'll meet an extraordinary group of visionaries charged with the seemingly impossible task of restoring hope.

In Part 2, "An Officer and a Minister: A Life of Service in the Salvation Army," you'll experience first hand what it takes to commit to a life of service. You'll meet a young woman volunteering as a teacher in Dhaka, Bangladesh and facing the challenges of loneliness and isolation as she questions what to do with her life. You'll journey with retired Salvation Army Officer Cnl. Damin Rader back to the outpost he calls his "heart home" - the center of the AIDS epidemic in Zambia, Africa. And while living the life of service with these adventurers, you may just discover a bit of the adventurer in yourself. Shows 801 & 802.


Thirty years ago there was no environmental law. There were no environmental lawyers. Ordinary citizens did not have a right to present their environmental causes and complaints in our courts of law. Earthjustice attorneys have helped to change all that. Originally called the Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund, Earthjustice is a trailblazing organization whose attorneys have made a stunning impact on our institutions and on the nation's conservation policies. In this documentary you will witness who the real clients of environmental lawyers are: unborn generations. In Louisiana, watch a real David and Goliath struggle as Earthjustice helps put an end to environmental racism. Attorneys work with communities of color to block the building of noxious facilities including an uranium enrichment plant, a rayon factory, and toxic dumps to prevent people of color from bearing the greatest burdens of toxic waste sites and hazardous industrial facilities in our society. In the Pacific Northwest, Earthjustice lawyers are responsible for putting more wildlife on the endangered species list than anyone else in America. What started with protecting the spotted owl has now evolved into a heated battle over salmon and the Snake River dams. Show 804.

San Francisco SPCA

The San Francisco Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SF/SPCA) believes that animals, as living creatures, have value beyond economic measurement, and are entitled to legal, moral, and ethical consideration and protection. The Society's mission is to act as an advocate on behalf of animals and as an enforcer of their rights; to provide for the well-being of the community's animals who are abandoned, injured, subject to unfair or cruel treatment, or otherwise in need; to cultivate in the people of the community an awareness of the animals whose world we share; to promote a bond of mutual assistance between people and animals; and to instill respect for the appreciation of all living things.

In this episode The Visionaries crew travels to San Francisco to visit the SF/SPCA's on site programs and to venture into the field with the Society's staff as they work in the community. On location at the Society's state-of-the-art facility, the crew visits with staff and volunteers as they work to get the shelter's dogs and cats adopted. As a part of the SF/SPCA's no-kill policy the Society works with thousands of treatable animals, including sick and injured cats and dogs. Every year, approximately 3,200 treatable animals are medically or behaviorally rehabilitated by the SF/SPCA before being placed in loving new homes. Also on site, SPCA staff members work in the Society's accredited animal hospital, entertain the dogs in the Doggie Daycare, offer a variety of animal behavior and training courses to the public, and educate children in the Society's summer camp program.

Then, in the field, the crew travels with SF/SPCA staff as they work with the Society's network of volunteers committed to assisting and controlling the Bay Area's feral cat population. Through the SF/SPCA's Feral Cat Assistance Program over 6,000 cats have been spayed or neutered, improving their health and well being and preventing the birth of thousands of unwanted kittens. Also while in the field, the crew visits area hospitals with the Animal Assisted Therapy Program (AAT). This program brings the healing presence of animals to people in health care facilities citywide. Every year AAT volunteers visit more than 35,000 patients at 125 institutions, including hospices, retirement communities, and convalescent homes.

For 130 years the San Francisco Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has served the animals and people of the Bay Area. Today the Society is recognized as the nation's most progressive and innovative humane organization. The SF/SPCA's work is dedicated to protecting and providing for communities' animals in need, fostering an awareness of their importance in our lives, and finding a loving lifelong home for every animal taken into its shelter. Show 805.

Children's Home of Stockton

Eighteen year-old Jimmy is a quiet, intense young man who speaks only when he has something to say. He is seen as a leader in his community house and at school and is often looked up to by younger kids just arriving at Children's Home of Stockton. From the outside people might think that CHS is just another care facility but in fact it is not. On the inside, it is an innovative residential treatment program where children, as part of the close-knit CHS family, can grow and learn, and for perhaps the first time in their lives, feel a sense of belonging.

At 118 years old, CHS is a quiet but noteworthy social service organization dedicated to helping troubled youth of California's San Joaquin Valley. Opening in the 1880s, its original mission was to provide the basic necessities to neglected, destitute and abandoned children. Today, Children's Home of Stockton is a modern residential facility, which provides specialized psychiatric treatment and Special Education services for severely emotionally disturbed children and their families. While the mission to help troubled kids has remained the same over the years, these days, CHS faces new challenges with the ever increasing numbers of sexual, physical or emotional abuse victims, more and more causes of attention deficit disorder and dysfunctional family settings.

As we get to know Jimmy in this episode of the The Visionaries, we see how an ex-gang member from the streets of San Francisco was given a second chance at life when he came to CHS. This is an emotional story of the transformation and success of one young man who beat the odds by learning not only to survive but also thrive with the help of Children's Home of Stockton. Show 806.

Medical Benevolence Foundation

What do you think of when you hear the word missionary? Tremendous sacrifice? Religious extremism? Isolation in the wilderness of a far off land? In this episode of the Visionaries you will meet a young missionary couple serving in Africa - a couple who will change every stereotype you ever had about missionaries. Jim and Jody McGill are anything but isolated in their work to bring quality health care to a small community in Malawi, Africa. They are supported by individuals in small towns in the United States - and by an organization, the Medical Benevolence Foundation, considered the Presbyterian Church's best kept secret. Show 808.

Education Concerns for Hunger (ECHO)

Around the world more than 800 million people are living with hunger. The images of starving people are burnt into our collective memory. While many feel helpless to act in the face of this global epidemic, one small group of people from Ft. Myers, Florida is literally planting seeds to fight hunger around the world.

In this edition of The Visionaries, we travel from the lush green fields of the Southern United States to the deforested mountainsides of Haiti's Caribbean Coastline with Educational Concerns for Hunger Organziation, or ECHO. For the past 18 years, ECHO has partnered with thousands of agricultural missionaries and development workers in 140 countries to help farmers overcome problems like drought, disease and famine. Unlike many international development organizations, which provide handouts to people in need, ECHO chooses to empower people with knowledge.

ECHO has developed a strategy that is brilliant in its simplicity. Through its worldwide information network, ECHO shares advances and discoveries in agriculture with more than 3,500 people working in Third World countries. In this episode, we see first-hand how that knowledge is helping people worlds apart. Under the unrelenting tropical sun in Haiti, farmers plant a drought-resistant type of papaya discovered in Taiwan, and reported to ECHO. This small harvest could lead to a new and bountiful crop, and symbolizes the first step towards self-sufficiency for a new generation of Haitians. Show 809.

A Course in Miracles

Published 25 years ago, A Course in Miracles is a monumental body of work containing a powerful message of love and forgiveness. The book has brought peace to the minds of more than one million people worldwide and has been the inspiration for dozens of nonprofit organizations. In this episode of The Visionaries, we will meet some of the first people involved with this incredible text, and learn how it has changed their lives.

We'll hear the story of the book's scribe, Dr. Helen Schucman, and learn of her extraordinary experience through some of the people who knew her best and are still involved today.

Judith Skutch-Whitson has made it her lifelong mission to publish A Course in Miracles at The Foundation for Inner Peace. Kenneth and Gloria Wapnik dreamed of providing a quiet and contemplative setting where students of the course could further their understanding of the book. Their dream was realized at The Foundation for A Course in Miracles in Roscoe, New York. And Jerry Jampolsky, a long-time student of the course, took his experience with A Course in Miracles down a different path, founding the Center for Attitudinal Healing in 1975. We'll talk with them, hear their personal life stories, and learn how their work continues to change the lives of thousands every year. Show 810.

The Colored Women's Democratic Campaign Committee

When you hear the word Visionary all kinds of images come to mind. We are about to add a new portrait to our gallery of great social innovators. Her name is Victorine Q. Adams. When this visionary sprung into action, Harry S. Truman was President of the United States. Racial segregation was legal, leaving African-Americans and women largely disenfranchised.

In this episode of the The Visionaries, witness how Ms. Adams formed The Colored Women's Democratic Campaign Committee in Baltimore in the 1940's, and how she has been a powerful force that has transformed the political landscape and inspired a whirlwind of remarkable social reform. You will see how she then took it a step further. As the first black woman elected to the Baltimore City Council, she led an electoral transformation of the city by rallying voters and candidates of color to become part of the political process.

After having changed thousands of lives, this civil rights leader, politician, community activist, entrepreneur, philanthropist, and educator labors still, continuing to dedicate her time to improve life for others. Victorine Q. Adams combine into a powerful force capable of changing the world around her. Show 812.


When Richmond, California faced economic and social crisis in the 1970s, a group of volunteers responded by starting a drop-in center for those in need. The tiny organization continued to grow and respond to its community's needs, and is now Rubicon Programs, a multi-million dollar nonprofit organization that not only provides a broad spectrum of social services, but also operates three booming businesses.

In this episode of The Visionaries, we'll visit Rubicon Bakery, Rubicon Landscaping Services, and Rubicon Home Care Agency, and examine the notion of social entrepreneurism and what place it has in our economy. Social entrepreneurism describes businesses that are providing a quality product or service to compete in the marketplace, in addition to providing a social service to their community. Rubicon Programs is giving people hope by giving them a job. Show 813.