TMM's 'Ordinary Oprahs' Returns!

Wendy Johnson's travel to Africa

hide caption NPR administrative assistant, Wendy Johnson, is pictured with children at a small village school outside Accra, Ghana in March 2007.

James Johnson

Lee, here...

Earlier this year, Tell Me More, or the program formerly-known as Rough Cuts, brought you stories of ordinary people doing extraordinary things. We called them Ordinary Oprahs, people who use what they have — little or much — to make a big difference in either their local community, or the world at-large.

We received an outpouring of listener feedback following our early conversations back in January. Here's a note we received from Jamie:

I really enjoyed this episode. I particularly liked hearing how ordinary people are making a difference. So much media attention is given to the big names who are doing good works - and certainly their work deserves attention - but it's equally important to hear what average Americans are doing because this is where the real inspiration lies.
I like the new show! I can't wait to hear more.

(Back when we were VERY new, of course)

And, a note from Lindsey, who wanted us to know she's doing her part:

My dear friend and coworker Rose, who works as a loan processor has funded, entirely on her salary and donations a preschool (Destiny Preschool) and scholarship program in her home country of Belize ... Each year I sponsor two of her graduating students through their kindergarten year for books and uniforms ... Anytime I feel limited in my own capacity to give I think of what Rose has achieved with seemingly very little resources.

And now, again, we want to hear from you ... Do YOU know someone who's making a difference in an extraordinary way? And, yes, feel free to include yourself.

Tell us more about the Ordinary Oprahs in your world ...



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Aoy - Owner of the Rice Paddy in Marquette, MI ... She works hard cooking (delicious)food and running her take-out restaurant. Proceeds from throughout the year go towards her yearly trip - a week or so in her native Thailand purchasing computers and books for schoolchildren in her hometown.

Sent by Patty Lee | 11:31 AM | 10-17-2007

You asked about everyday Oprahs, well my mother, Zereta Young, qualifies in spades. She is a leader at her church, First Baptist Churc of Glenarden, as a missionary. She has lead groups to South Africa (2 times), Jamaica, Nanjemoy, MD and is now on a fact finding trip in the Phillipines. She is a retired IRS employee who despite very serious rhumatory arthritis devotes many hours to planning, coordinating, and participating on these missionary trips. She is a tireless servant of the church and a doting and supportive parent and grandparent. I hope you will consider her story for your ordinary Oprah series.

Sent by Jeffrey Y. | 11:32 AM | 10-17-2007

I think that former Peace Corps volunteers would make great Ordinary Oprahs. They are typically normal folk who do their best to make life in a small village or town in the developing world a better place.

Sent by Steve Petersen | 12:26 PM | 10-17-2007

I've known Wendy for years and she truly is a remarkable woman. Go Wendy Go.

Sent by phenix hall | 5:14 PM | 10-17-2007


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