Maria D'Angelo believes in the Hope Effect. She arrived to America on a freighter from Italy, searching for a better life with her family, and to this day she remembers how much hope filled her at that moment. To share this sense of positive possibility, she began The Children's Lifesaving Foundation, which through countless acts has improved the lives of families and children living below the poverty level. The organization assists homeless families in finding apartments, provides tutoring services, and raises money for college tuition. And the team's works are so renowned that they've been featured in People magazine and on CNN, and were voted the 2013 Non-Profit of the Year by the Los Angeles Business Journal.
Although today The CLF works to establish housing and educational opportunities for underserved families, Maria's quest began with a much simpler gesture. In 1992, while volunteering at a homeless shelter, she met an 8-year-old boy who never attended school because his mother couldn't afford to get him a physical. So Maria took him to a doctor. That one act, blossomed into other simple acts, which blossomed into the founding of The CLF, but the spirit of that simplicity remains. To improve homeless kids' quality of life, the organization runs a summer camp with surfing lessons, which leave children with a good memory and a bit of hope.