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Giving in Focus

Aired December 25, 2010 - 16:00   ET



TOM FOREMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to "Giving in Focus." We are here in Washington, D.C.'s Union Station where people are coming and going from all over the nation in this season of giving. I'm Tom Foreman. And that's what this program is all about, people giving of their talents, their friendship, their helping hands, and this show itself is a gift from the fine photo journalists here at CNN.

So let's not delay. We start just south of here, in Alexandria, Virginia, where photojournalist Jeremy Moorhead found people giving lessons in life on the waterfront.


JOE YOUCHA, ALEXANDRIA SEAPORT FOUNDATION: Here at the Alexandria Seaport Foundation in oldtown Alexandria, Virginia.

When I look at these boats, I see people.

You're looking at a couple of boats that we built, gosh, back in 1993. The wife of a fellow that I started the boat building programs with, Bill (INAUDIBLE) one of the boats is named after his wife, Carol. It's a small shop, but boy, we've certainly been able to build a lot of boats and help a lot of kids.

SAUL CRUZ, APPRENTICE: At first it sounded too good to be true, basically getting paid to get my GED.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We got an apprenticeship program for kids who dropped out of school, gotten in trouble with the court. We have a larger facilities about four blocks south.

FRED GEIGER, VOLUNTEER: The warehouse is located right on the Potomac River at the (INAUDIBLE). I'm a volunteer at the Alexandria Seaport Foundation, have been here for three years.

Building boats and repairing boats is the vehicle for us in working with young men and women that come here. And I couldn't be happier.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've been sober for quite a while.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You just start painting and you start a conversation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good for you. GEIGER: And soon after a while, a relationship develops between you and the apprentice and the apprentice sort of opens, gives you an opportunity to make some life skill suggestions that might help them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How to use the tools properly, the safety hazards and all that stuff, I learned it from him.

CRUZ: (INAUDIBLE) It helped me improve my math a lot, and basically they do anything to help you out.

YOUCHA: When I look at these boats, I see the folks who built them. I seethe kids who built them who are now accountants and iron workers. What makes it worth it is the work that gets done every day, and the kids we help every day. I build things. I was trained to build houses. I build boats. Now we're just building people.


FOREMAN: Gifts of this type are unique because as the old saying goes, they keep on giving. Sometimes long after the original giver is gone. Take for instance the story we found in rural Delaware brought to us by photojournalist John Bone.


JOHN SHWED, LAUREL COMMUNITY FOUNDATION: Laurel is a wonderful community. It is a typical pioneer spirit of America. Agriculture has always been at the foundation of Laurel community. We have a lot of poultry growers in the area. That's a big business. Laurel has a problem, just like major urban areas. Every town across America has a problem with what we call the hidden homeless.

We had a nurse named Donna Whaley. She started to suspect things about certain children who came to school. She would talk with them and find out they were living out of a car or they might be living in a tent. She looked at those early year children and she thought, you know, nobody should have to live like this. So I'm going to try to do something to change that.

TARA MATTHEWS, SINGLE MOTHER: Otis is six, Iona, the middle, is four, and then the little one, Maya - she's two. They're actually my sister's kids. So, a situation happens and I actually have custody of the three for about two years now.

It's difficult at times, but it's also very rewarding. When I first got the kids, it was extremely difficult. I was just on a part time job, trying to find something permanent. I actually had to see what my options are, all my avenues, because I have these three kids. I had to provide a stable home for them, so that's where Hope House came into play.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hope House is transitional housing. We call them our guest families. They stay for up to about 90 days.

MATTHEWS: There you live rent free. So basically I was able to save up enough money that I would need to get out and provide on my own. By not having those extra bills or having to worry about where we were going to, you know, have a place to stay, it would be to provide them with a good Christmas. So that was very rewarding for me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The money that was used to purchase the land, to build the buildings, all came from private individuals. No federal, no state money.

MATTHEWS: I'm thankful that there is people that give to these type of programs, because a lot of times they don't know the people they're touching. They just hoping and praying that it's somebody that is good and that's going to do well with it. And I thank god that it was there because it was able to help me to provide for me for them.

SHWED: It was Donna's idea that the community needed to do something. And so Hope House I and II are now the realization of her dream. Unfortunately she passed away before she got to see the project up and running.

MATTHEWS: Thank you, Ms. Whaley, for having this vision and that enough people are able to take the vision and just run with it.

SHWED: I know that she's in some place now and I know that she's smiling and thinking the people back in Laurel did a good thing.


FOREMAN: The simple truth is, people who need help can be found everywhere and so can the opportunities for giving. Take for instance a woman out west who had an idea to help her own daughter and has turned it into a gift for many, many youngsters facing special challenges.

Photo journalist Chris Audick takes us there.


CONNIE GILLY, SERT PROGRAM DIRECTOR: Horses make a connection with our kids with special needs. There's a special bond that occurs. We don't know what it is. We don't know how it occurs, we just witness it.

We're going to put our hand here. Foot in. You're going to lift that leg all the way over.

SERT is Special Equestrian Riding Therapy. It was founded in 1987 by parents and their friends that wanted to have a therapeutic riding for their children with special needs.

Thank you.

We're going to hold our reins. We're going to ask for the walk. Walk. Thank you.

We have children with all kinds of disabilities. Autism, Down's syndrome, cerebral palsy, Williams syndrome, behavioral issues, emotional issues. Anyone that we can help. Now we're going to make a right circle around there holding our reins.

Each rider will come to our program and they will be assigned a horse that we feel is going to fit best with this child. They are part of our team. They are our team, as a matter of fact, without these horses we wouldn't have a program.

Let's sit tall and ask her to walk.


GILLY: Thank you. Excellent.

My daughter, Vickie, has Down syndrome and I wanted to find a program that could work with Vickie and understand her needs. The benefit of being a parent of a person with special needs, being a program director of a program like this, it just is multiplied over and over just for the good.

Over the cone. Thank you.

I can understand a parent coming in and going to hand me their seven or eight or nine-year-old child and I'm going to put them on a 1,000 pound animal and tell them everything is going to be OK. As a parent, I saw a child grow and become self confident, I want to share this with the parents and these families, because I know it's going to be a positive outcome for them.

John, we're going to ask Dundee to?


GILLY: Perfect. Nice and tall. I want you to sit tall with that chin up.



FOREMAN (voice-over): We have so much more coming up.

The 9/11 rescue dog with six lives.

The tide of generosity riding the West Coast.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You locked into my life at just the right time.

FOREMAN: And a man with a song in his heart for anyone that wants it.

"Giving in Focus" will be right back.


FOREMAN: Up in New York, Dale Henderson is afraid that the gifts of classical music are being lost to modern Americans, simply because people are no longest interested in them. So he's set out to single- handedly change that. Not by reaching out to the music lovers in Carnegie Hall, but by playing for ordinary commuters in the subway.

Photojournalist Towanda Scott Sambou found him.


DALE HENDERSON, CLASSICAL MUSIC ENTHUSIAST: My name is Dale Henderson, and I play the bass solo cello in the subways of New York City.

You have this massive slice of the population, most of the population who've never heard it. They've never sat in front of a live classical musician and had the opportunity to see how incredible it is.

I caught some fear from some other musicians that classical music is dying, and in 100 years there will be no more classical music. A lot of orchestras struggle, a lot of orchestras have closed. It's discouraging, but in the end, I can't believe that something that offers so much value and such deep emotional, spiritual value to so many people could just die. I don't think it could happen.

I don't collect donations while I play, because on the most simple level, it pollutes the experience for myself and for everyone listening. I'm not asking for money. It attracts a lot more attention, because people realize that I'm not doing this for money, I'm doing this for another reason.

Music has offered me, in my life, something a lot more valuable in many ways than money. So I want to give it back. This is my contribution. I get a lot of thank yous for doing this. And a lot of smiles. And then plenty of people don't feel the need to talk to me, but they just - when I glance over, I can tell they're silently appreciating it.

Some people insists on putting the money there, but it really just gives me a very bad feeling.

I think that Bach in the subways is providing something meaningful to a lot of the people that hear it. The most obvious answer to the question to why am I doing this without collecting money on my own time is that I love it. The interest is growing, so I think it's working.

I have no idea how long I'll keep doing this. I have no plans of stopping, that's for sure. So I guess that's a mystery.


FOREMAN: The power of art has long been noted to inspire, to raise awareness, sometimes to raise money for a good cause. Out in Los Angeles, another man's unique mission, to share his struggle with a devastating illness and help others at the same time.

Photojournalist Gabe Ramirez introduces us.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) ADAM GORDON, ARTIST: I had 38 years of total easy, perfect life. Great wife, great kids, great career. I started to notice that I had little weird chest pains. It took like two or three months of testing and scans, and surgeries to figure out what it was that I had.

DAVID HOFFMAN, M.D., TOWER CANCER CENTER: It turned out to be a tumor that was causing a blood clot. Really a rare tumor, a pulmonary artery intimal sarcoma. The location is what makes it really rare, though. This comes from the lining of the artery near his heart.

GORDON: The treatment has been pretty tough. And it's been tough not only while I get it but it's tough while I'm trying to recuperate. I started doodling, just expressing myself that way. I entered a new median with which to do that with, which is the iPhone and the iPad. There's applications called brushes and it allows me to literally do digital finger painting.

Like wow, you can do that on your iPhone. That's how it kind of started. I did a bunch of those, and one thing led to another. And we ended up having my first exhibit, which was also doubled as a benefit to a cancer research center.

HOFFMAN: Part of our mission here is to develop new treatments so there's a research foundation that we have built here that is experimental treatment based. And Adam's art has helped to support that financially.

GORDON: There's no way in the middle of the night that I'm going to get up and set up an easel, set up paint. I just wouldn't have the energy to do that. So it's the portability. It's been a distraction also for me. So it really helps. Sitting there watching TV or if I'm in the treatment center.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. Order exam already. Premeds to give you.

GORDON: If I just kind of crouch down in my chair and I just have my pad and I just sit there and kind of do that, I can get through it a little bit easier. Much easier than just trying to read or just sit there.

HOFFMAN: He's fighting a battle that in many ways he knows he cannot win. That there is no answer to this. And at the end of the story, this disease will take his life. But the journey that he takes has real value both to him and his family.

Adam's got an artist heart and soul and I think that art has helped bridge some of these gaps that have otherwise would have trapped other people.

GORDON: When you're getting chemotherapy at that moment, it's hard to think over the horizon. But that's what I've been trying to figure out through my own artwork is how I'm going to live with this.


FOREMAN: Sometimes gifts come in the most unusual and unexpected ways. For example, who would look at a calendar and see natural gifts hidden there? Well, a man on the beaches of Southern California did. And Anthony Alino takes us there.


JOHN CONOVER, FOUNDER CALENDARLINK.ORG: My name is John, and I'm the founder of Calendar Link. Calendar Link is web site technology, it's a great picture here of Baja. It allows an organization to make their own calendar, put it on the web site and sell it really quickly. It gives you an option of ready to buy without any inventory. The first calendar they sell, the first order, they make $10. The web site becomes a vehicle for them for fund-raising.

The calendars can be made with or without the tides. Just nice, flowing tide graph line that you can actually see the rising and falling of the tide as it moves through the day. Then there's organizations who their whole following is surfing or something to do with life guards and it becomes a tool.

MIKE SILVESTRI, LIFEGUARD SUPERVISOR: I grew up with the little column hieroglyphics but they were just columns of numbers. Very difficult to really read, especially for a young person. And when you get tide lines, you really don't have to worry about the numbers, you just look at the curve and pick a safer area or make sure I'm in front of a life guard.

It's just a really nice move on John's part is it's going to be a fund riser for the California Surf Live Saving Association.

CONOVER: This is a good life. Giving a little back to the community, giving some opportunities for nonprofit people that are working really hard to make a difference in the world. It kind of ties in all together.


FOREMAN: When we return, the old one-two. Boxing out violence.


FOREMAN: And a little girl, a wish, and a glorious gift of "The Nutcracker." "Giving in Focus."


MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, I'm Martin Savidge at the CNN Center. More of "Giving in Focus" in a moment.

But first, a check of your top stories.

Snow is falling this hour across parts of Alabama, Georgia and North Carolina. In fact, live images here from downtown Atlanta where you can see the white stuff. Parts of New England, though, are facing an even more desperate situation. They could get up to 18 inches of snow by Monday and a blizzard warning has just been issued for parts of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. Overseas, the Taliban are claiming responsibility for a suicide blast that killed at least 43 people in northwest Pakistan. The victims were lining up at a food distribution center. At least 90 other people were hurt. The Taliban spokesman is denying reports that the bomber was a woman. The attack comes one day after security forces killed 40 militants along the Afghan border.

Police in the Netherlands have arrested 12 people, they believe were planning a terrorist attack. The men who were all of Somali origin were arrested at several locations in and around Rotterdam. A spokesman says that police acted because an attack was believed to be imminent. Two hotel rooms, that is a pawn shop and four homes have been searched. No weapons so far or explosives have been found.

Christians worldwide are celebrating one of the holiest days on the calendar, the birth of Christ. Pope Benedict is urging world peace. He delivered his traditional Christmas blessing from the balcony at St. Peter's Basilica. Tens of thousands of followers gathered in the drizzle to hear his message in 64 languages.

Merry Christmas. I'm Martin Savidge at the CNN Center. Now back to "Giving in Focus."


FOREMAN: Turning a life around from bad to good is often difficult, and even more so in tough circumstances, where everything seems stacked against you. At times like that, it's good to have a strong friend, but like the former gang member in Chicago who is helping young people in his old neighborhood lead better lives.

Photojournalist Derek Davis made the rounds with him.


DEREK BROWN, COMMUNITY ACTIVIST: I had six blocks that I corrupted.

I was trapped up in a life of selling drugs.

"Shotgun," it came from - I actually stayed across the street. This was a big gambling spot and one day I was outside gambling and I looked down my third floor window and I've seen the whole crowd just dispersed.

And I looked, I don't know what's going on, I can't hear anything. And I see this car jumps on the sidewalk and run this guy over and I came off my back porch, boom, boom, shooting a shotgun.

The kids right now call me Coach Brown. You know, Coach Derek is what I tell them to call me. What I'm doing, I'm watching you. Try to hit me right there.

It's a big problem in the city. For one, it's not enough programs that's over here. It's not enough community centers.

Ready, go. All your punches are straight. There you go. Perfect. What's ironic is, I went to this school right here, it's bullet holes in this wall that came from me, you can see. Bullet holes in this wall that came from me.

It's two parents, though. It's your home parent, whether it's your father or mother, and your streets. That's something that goes unnoticed. The streets take your kids and turn them into what they is. I look at them, I think hope, I think somebody is going to be something in life. Somebody is going to be definitely better than me.

Put some snap to it. Keep your hands (INAUDIBLE). He don't have to grow into nothing negative. He can see all negative, but he'll know how to handle it. I'm not just teaching them how to box, but I'm teaching them to box their way through life. There you go, good.

That's a champ.


FOREMAN: It takes special people to thrive in circumstances where no matter how much you give is never enough because the need is simply endless.

But there are such people. Like the woman you're about to meet here in Washington, D.C., who has doggedly applied her skills, year after year, to help the most needy, as shown by photo journalist David Ruff.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Bread for the City started out as a food pantry and a clothing room pantry in the mid '70s.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you so much.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As time went on, it merged with a medical clinic and started a legal practice and became the holistic organization that is today. Our expansion to our existing facilities and are primarily for our medical clinic and it is going to allow us to go from about 3,000 patients a year to up to 9,000 patients a year. We're very excited about that.


I am Randi Abramson and I'm the medical director at Bread for the City.

We're going to do blood work today.

My patients call me Doctor Randi.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She's amazing. Doctor Randi is sort of the heart and soul of the clinic.

She came here 18, 19 years ago, and really wanted to do primary care for the community.

ABRAMSON: I started to come here, we were a small clinic. It was really the basement of a townhouse. Always short on supplies, but just did the best we can. I feel lucky that I've had the privilege of being able to get this education that I have, and that I kind of owe it to the community to give back.

Sounds like you have a virus.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In the 17 years I've known her, she's never taken a sick day. And she's always here.

GLENDA SAUNDERS, MEDICAL CLINIC PATIENT: Right now, I'm just basically trying to survive, like everybody else.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The folks that are coming to us are dealing with a lot of issues that make their lives difficult.

ABRAMSON: Part of getting out of poverty is your quality of life. And you have to feel good to make decisions, to get up, to look for housing, to look for a job, to get the training you need. If you don't feel well, you just can't do that.

SAUNDERS: I never had a doctor to call me just out of the blue to say Ms. Saunders, I just called to see how you're feeling today. And that really made me feel good.

ABRAMSON: OK, great.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Really what makes this stand out is she's such a wise and gentle spirit. She is so patient with people. She knows people are struggling with all kinds of issues.

SAUNDERS: She's a doctor and a counselor to me.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And she listens and she gives guidance in a way that I think is gentle and thoughtful and appropriate, and not judgmental.

SAUNDERS: She's given me the encouragement to do things that's going to make me better.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The fact that she comes back year after year and keeps doing it means that they need to hang in there, too.



FOREMAN: Healing and helping can come through two hands, or sometimes on four feet. As photo journalist Floyd Yarmuth found in Ohio.


You're going to be okay. JEFF ERICKSON, FATHER OF AUTISTIC CHILD: Logan was diagnosed after age two with moderate to severe autism. He doesn't have any language and has severe social issues. One of the things that came up over and over, over the years, was this option of having a service dog to help with the treatment of autism. We never felt like we -- whether it was a financial burden, or the responsibility, that we could manage it.

Just throw a treat in front of her nose. Wherever the treat goes is where her nose is going to go.

DONNA ERICKSON, MOTHER OF AUTISTIC CHILD: Things by the love of people just started falling into place. It was like a snowball. It moved from our little village to other villages in our region, to the whole state. And then we started getting donations from the whole U.S., even from around the world. They give, they give, they give, so that people like us can survive.

JEREMY DULEBOHN, TRAINING DIRECTOR, 4 PAW FOR ABILITY: Giving a family a search tool to find their child or a tethering, or something that's consistent to go with the child is huge for them. That they can keep their child safe and it really gives them their life back.

D. ERICKSON: I think he really loves this. That's all he wants to do is tether with the dog. He just -- I think it's freeing for Logan, too.

(voice over): Having Duke is giving Logan not only a best friend, it will give him more independence. He'll be able to grow.

Duke's going to find you.

I'm getting more and more confident as time goes on that Duke will be able to track Logan when he runs off from our house.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ready, ready, track.

With Duke tracking his smell, it should be right on.

Where is Logan, where is Logan

Good dog, Duke!

Good talking, Logan.

It's given us survival as a family, freedom and survival.



FOREMAN (voice over): In just a bit, dancing cares away.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just keep smiling.

FOREMAN: And singing anything but the blues.

Join us next Saturday for more stories from the CNN photo journalists, "FAVORITES IN FOCUS, New Year's Day at 2:00 p.m. Eastern.


MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN NEWS ANCHOR: Hello, I'm Martin Savidge at CNN Center. More of GIVING IN FOCUS in a moment, but first, let's check our top stories.

Well, it looks calm right now, but a blizzard warning has been issued for New York City, northeast New Jersey and coastal Connecticut, the warning takes affect tomorrow morning at 6:00. Up to 16 inches of wind-driven snow are predicted with visibility near zero.

The Taliban are claiming responsibility for a suicide blast that killed at least 43 people in northwest Pakistan. The victims were lining up at a food distribution center. At least 90 other people were hurt. The Taliban spokesman is denying reports that the bomber was a woman. The attack comes one day after security forces killed 40 militants along the Afghan border.

The actor seriously injured while performing in a stunt in the "Spiderman" musical is up and walking, following back surgery. Good news. Christopher Tierney took his first steps yesterday. Tierney fell 20 feet and broke four ribs, cracked three vertebrae and suffered a hairline fracture to his skull during Monday's performance. Shows resumed on Thursday with new safety procedures in place.

I'm Martin Savidge at CNN Center. GIVING IN FOCUS continues right now here on CNN.

FOREMAN: The Make A Wish Foundation is well known for the extraordinary gifts it gives to children facing life-threatening medical problems. Last year, the foundation helped a young girl named Theresa, here, go to a rehearsal of the Washington Ballet's classic "Nutcracker." Now her disease is in remission, and photojournalist Oliver Janney found her back on stage.

THERESA BROOKS, CANCER SURVIVOR (SINGING): Away in a weird manager, no crib for a bed


BROOKS, THERESA'S MOTHER: Rademeyer's Sarcoma is diagnosed in about 350 kids a year.

BRIAN BROOKS, THERESA'S FATHER: She couldn't have a surgery to remove the entire tumor. So that left us with chemotherapy and radiation.

BROOKS: She couldn't recover very well from the chemo. So she had a lot of blood transfusions and a lot infections.

B. BROOKS: We were overjoyed when she appeared cancer free on the last scan. It was probably the best Thanksgiving we ever had.

BROOKS: After we got through that, we said hey, let's do something special.

T. BROOKS: Star of wonder, star of light.

BROOKS: Here they come.

Hi, Theresa . How are you?

WEBRE SEPTIME, WASHINGTON BALLET: We came here to visit you to tell you a big surprise. I remember two years ago when you came to visit us at the studio and met the ballerinas. We're here to tell you, welcome to the cast. You'll be performing in two as one of the guests at Clara's Christmas party with Washington Ballet's "Nutcracker". Congratulations.

And a one.


T. BROOKS: Uh-huh.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're really excited to have you.

MAURA HARTY, MAKE A WISH FOUNDATION: I think there's nothing greater than to be able to take a child who faces adversity, and put a smile on their face and a bright spot on their horizon.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, you're gorgeous. You're the most beautiful child.

HARTY: This is the season of wishes for the Make a Wish Foundation. From about mid November to the end of the year, we try very hard to raise enough awareness and funding to be able to grant 30 wishes.

SEPTIME: In keeping with how ballet has been passed on from generation to generation, kind of like a gift of the retiring ballerina to the next young generation. I think that's how everyone feels about this particular case.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Stand up tall and look at me in the mirror.

Oh, my, look at you!

SEPTIME: The show is about to start. As a matter of fact, there's about 1,000 people waiting outside, waiting to come into this beautiful theater, and enjoy the performance of the Washington Ballet with special guest star Theresa .

HARTY: I know we've done a terrific job when we see a child like Theresa smile. It's the biggest and best brightest smile on the planet. It's magical.


FOREMAN: Sometimes gifts can be elaborate, sometimes remarkably simple. And yet, even the smallest amount of giving can often make a huge difference in the lives of others, as Jake Carpenter found with the good folks from a church in Georgia.


How are you doing today? Let me tell you how it's going to work. You're going to put your meat and your bread, no condiments.

Ham or turkey, and the bread.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is my first time. We just read about it in the church website and came on out.

And it is cool to see the impact that we can do.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I thank you that you opened up the hearts that they showed up this morning, Father, to do thy will. And your will is today, in our lives, to go to the last, the lost and the least, and to compel the truth of the gospel to them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I come out here at 12:00 every Saturday. We normally get a lot of volunteers. The majority of the time w come out every other week, Monday, Wednesday and Friday, as well, to feed the homeless.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We ask you to remember the person whose home we're now visiting. We know, Father, they're fighting for survival. We know that you're holding their hands, you're with them, you are a part of their lives.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I've been out on the streets about eight months.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: About eight months, what did you do before? What kind of work were you doing?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I worked at a pet supply store.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Pet supply store? Just can't find a place now, nobody's hiring, huh?


MARY BIEGLER, VOLUNTEER: There's just no judging, because I know it could be my family, my husband has lost a job before. What is to say had we not had money put aside, I would be put in the same position. It's sad, but I still have hope that it can change. That's why we come out. It will get better and maybe just one hug for somebody will make all the difference in the world for them. Good thing I'm a hugger.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Team Tracker Foundation is about continuing trackers extraordinary search and rescue legacy.

FOREMAN: We'll be right back with Trackers Tale and who comes with gifts in the night?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How are you tonight, Merry Christmas.

FOREMAN: Well, there's this guy up in Massachusetts. GIVING IN FOCUS continues.


FOREMAN: Superstar entertainers such as Beyonce and the Rolling Stones share their talents with tens of thousands of people in a single concert. So imagine trying to give that same gift to just as many folks, one at a time. In the great music city of Chicago, one taxi driver doesn't have to imagine. Photo journalist Derek Davis takes us with him on a ride through the Loop.


RAY ST. RAY, SINGING CAB DRIVER: Although I drive a cab every day, I'm not really in the business of cab driving. What I'm doing is fine art. This is guerrilla street theater.


ST. RAY: Hello there, how are you?

Guerrilla street musical theater apparently.

SINGING: Somewhere in Chicago, there's a cab driver I know that sings to his passengers all day.

Yours truly, Ray St. Ray, the singing cab driver.

Would you like to hear a song that I wrote in the taxi?


ST. RAY: What kind? I write about love, sex, social significance, or other.


ST. RAY: What kind of love? I've got sweet, sappy, sentimental, thinking person, defiant, unrequited, or non-committal?


ST. RAY: It shall be. Now, please, while I'm singing, no phones, texting, recording photographing, talking, or rattling of that bag.

ST. RAY: Ah, 19 years, seven months and eleven days ago, I needed a job, basically.

SINGING: You walked into my life at just the right time

As of that time, I had already achieved my goals in life, which are, A, to never get a real job again. But instead, B, my childhood dream to live the life that I would want to read a book or see a movie about. You get to pick the other kind of song then.


ST. RAY, SINGING: I just keep smiling, don't give up, or get sad, keep pushing forward through the good times and the bad, because attitude is everything.

I've personally sung to well over 65,000 passengers by now. The magic is the randomness of it; that you weren't expecting the singing cab driver.

The biggest kick is when somebody just recognizes me from hearsay. Are you the singing cab driver? Yeah. Oh, I've heard about you, oh my friends have had you. I've been hearing about you for years. That's the best.

I'm pretty darn happy and I pass a bit of that happiness along.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, I will remember this ride forever.

ST. RAY: Exactly why I'm here.

I just look for people to sing to. If they don't want to hear a song, that's all right. But I'm just going to get them to where I'm going as fast as I can so I can go find somebody else to sing to.

Kitty cat, kitty cat, meow

Thank you, thank you.

I do this every day. There might be two or three days a year that I don't get in a cab and go out just to sing to at least one person. Because that's what I do, I'm the singing cab driver.


FOREMAN: Last year we told you the story of Tracker, a German shepherd that played a powerful role in the difficult days after 9/11. We told you how Tracker had passed away and had been cloned. So, guess who is giving this year? The puppies are on the prowl. Photojournalist John Torigoe has Tracker's legacy.


See if this guy will speak.

Every 10 minutes in this country, somebody is in need of life saving search and rescue resources.

The Team Tracker Foundation is about continuing Tracker's extraordinary search and rescue legacy, while at the same time trying to fulfill those needs.

We arrived at ground zero within 14 hours of the Towers collapsing. Canine resources were in short supply and we immediately began searching for survivors. Sometime late on the morning of the 12th, Tracker got a hit, indicating that somebody alive was buried beneath the surface. These rescuers later pulled a woman, the last survivor, from the rubble. And I'm extremely proud of the role that Tracker played in her recovery.

Tracker initially was trained as a police dog, trained to find live people, evidence, and drugs. He helped locate hundreds of people, recovered over a million dollars worth of stolen goods. But the culmination of his amazing career was finding the last survivor of ground zero.

When I first met Tracker, when we first started working together, cloning wasn't even an option. So it wasn't even a consideration until one day I happened to see a TV report and they were talking about a cloning contest. BioWorks (ph) International was a company that was responsible for the cloning contest. I received not one, but five amazing replicas of Tracker.

The aim is to train these dogs to become certified search and rescue dogs.

That a good boy.

They'll be trained to track people, which is a ground thing. You're taking them over rubble piles and through things that they might encounter.

KEVIN GALLIVAN, TEAMTRAKR.ORG: He can search an area a lot quicker and a lot faster than a human can. These dogs can be trained for obedience, agility, area search, building search, tracking.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We solicited the expertise of Kevin Gallivan, my mentor, a trainer who trained myself and Tracker back in 1995.

GALLIVAN: OK, exercise completed. Praise your dog. Step off, praise him.

We're going to try to get this dog speaking for his reward.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's been training dogs over 25 years. He's trained and certified over 2,000 dogs in his career.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I respect that cloning is not for everyone.

I train, foster, and rescue dogs. And I encourage anybody who can provide a good home for a dog to go out and adopt a dog from a shelter or rescue group.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And this is our newest member, this is Legacy.

This is Tracker's female genetic double. We're hoping by the spring of 2011, we'll be able to share with you that Team Tracker graduated, and has been deployed and has been successful in saving people's lives.

That's it boys! Good fellas. Let's go, come on! That a good boy.


FOREMAN: We just have time for one last bright idea about giving. So stay put. GIVING IN FOCUS rolls on.


FOREMAN: All of the great photojournalists at CNN enjoy so much giving you this annual gift of stories, and all of the in focus specials throughout the year, they wanted to pass on one last tale from the cold Massachusetts night from photojournalist Bob Crowley. We leave you with that, along with our very best wishes for a great New Year. I'm Tom Foreman. Thanks for watching.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it's amazing.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a tradition every Christmas.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's the biggest Christmas display I've ever seen.

SINGING: It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I wouldn't like to see that electric bill.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think realistically, we have over 100,000 lights, and a lot of animated figures. We have a Ferris wheel.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Look at reindeer.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dasher, Dancer, Donner.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How are you tonight? Merry Christmas.

I'm Kevin Meyan (ph) and this is our Mills Wonderland. This is our home. We started about 10 years ago. A few more lights every year, we try to add something new. We do it seven days a week. It's for free.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think on a good night, on a weekend night, we get in excess of 5,000 cars.

The Salvation Army is our charity of choice. They come down and they get donations.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you, Merry Christmas.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What started the whole thing, 10 years ago my dad came to live with us. He was very sick, he was dying. Out of anxiety, out of whatever, I went out and started stringing lights. He died 10 years ago today. And we just kept it going, just kept doing it.

Merry Christmas. How are you doing tonight?

I think we're exceptionally blessed. If everyone would give back a little more, we would all be better off. The people that come through, they're really family people for the most part. They really appreciate it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you for the lights.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, you're welcome. Thanks for coming by.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We come all the time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The 15 or 20 minutes that takes you to drive through, it transports you to a different place.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One of the greatest things I've done around Christmas.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it generates hope. I think it generates a lot of good will. It gives you a little bit of that Christmas feeling.