John Michael Stagliano, 18
Five years ago, while volunteering at a local shelter, John Michael Stagliano learned that permanent housing is a blessing — but for formerly homeless people, it’s often bare-bones, without furniture, kitchenware or other essentials.
“It was absolutely heartbreaking,” recalls the high school junior from Summerville, South Carolina.
The discovery inspired Stagliano to collect beds, silverware and more from family and neighbors to furnish the newly rented home of three men who had recently left the shelter. He dubbed the project Home Again, and today Stagliano and his team of 10 volunteers have furnished new homes for 461 men, women and children. Many are veterans, including Walter Edwards, 68, of Charleston, who was sleeping on his floor for two weeks before Home Again swooped in.
“What they are doing is a blessing to everybody,” says Edwards.
From cutting-edge innovations to simple acts of kindness, these 10 young men and women are improving lives in their schools, communities and beyond