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Wildfires burn through Colorado causing thousands to evacuate, and protests in Turkey are in 13th day. Tune in at 7am ET.
April 25th, 2013
12:15 PM ET

Host Ty Pennington unveils 'Make a Difference' rebuilding tour

Ty Pennington, the do-it-yourself expert and fmr. host of "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition," is now crafting up with Craftsmen.

He's teaming up with the tool manufacturer to rebuild communities across the country. He joins Christine Romans on "Starting Point" this morning to unveil the "Make a Difference" tour.

Filed under: Doing good
April 12th, 2013
04:52 PM ET

Giving people a second chance at a dream: Fmr. NFL QB Kurt Warner on his new series 'The Moment'

Who among us has not wished for a second chance to pursue his or her dream job? Former NFL quarterback Kurt Warner is the host of a new reality show "The Moment," that does just that. In the show, nine people sidelined for one reason or another are given the opportunity to start over.

Kurt Warner joins John Berman and Christine Romans on "Starting Point" to talk about what Christine describes as a 'makeover show with meaning though.'

Filed under: Doing good • Reality show
March 26th, 2013
11:08 AM ET

From actor to grocery entrepreneur: 'Treme' star Wendell Pierce works to combat food deserts in New Orleans

You know the actor Wendell Pierce from the roles he's played in HBO's "The Wire" and "Treme." Now, Pierce is working on his entrepreneurial skills.

He's opening a grocery store chain called Sterling Farms with the goal of providing healthy and fresh food alternatives for people in low-income neighborhoods, or what they often call food deserts, many of which are in New Orleans. In some areas, nearly 60% of residents have to travel more than three miles to reach a supermarket.

Pierce joins Soledad O'Brien on "Starting Point" this morning to talk about his venture.

"Food deserts are an issue across the country, and not just low-income neighborhoods," Pierce says. "We have New Orleans east, still looking for commercial districts to come back and it's something for me shouldn't be part of the American landscape. The First Lady put out a call of action to ask American business to come off the sidelines and go into those under-served communities and Sterling Farms is heeding that call."

Pierce says access to healthier foods helps folks to make better choices.

"You have to understand that obesity and hunger go hand and hand. Hunger comes from the fact that there is lack of food access. Lack of food justice really and that's what we're dealing with - with Sterling Farms to go into those communities and give people a choice. You know because economic development is also the social justice movement of the 21st century. And to have American neighborhoods, American communities to not have access to just fresh food is - is something that is unacceptable."

Filed under: Doing good • Food deserts
March 20th, 2013
10:51 AM ET

From NBA great to crossing guard: Adrian Dantley helps out kids in Maryland

After an all American career at Notre Dame, Adrian Dantley went to greatness in the NBA. These days, the Hall of Famer is pounding the pavement instead of the hard court. It's part of his new job. Dantley spends an hour each day as a crossing guard in Silver Spring, Maryland.

This morning on "Starting Point," we were really lucky to have Dantley on the show, live from the crosswalk at the school where he works. He explains why he decided to take the job, which pays him a little over $14,000 a year.

"Basically, I didn't work last year so I got bored sitting around the house," he says. "I'm a routine guy, so I was in the weight room one day and some guys were in there talking and they said they like to do some things for some kids just a little bit, maybe one hour a day. And then one guy said, you know what, my wife is a crossing guard."

"I said to myself that would be a good job for me. That way I can stay busy, spend some time with the kids, do something for the community. And that's why I'm here," he says.

He adds that though people talk about the benefits of the job, he is "basically doing it for the kids." But he also admits the pay does take the burden off paying his health insurance bill every year.

Dantley says that the intersection he mans is dangerous, saying he and two kids were almost hit. Though he says the other crossing guards rib him a little for being the 'rookie.'

CNN's John Berman asks Dantley if it's harder to cross the kids every day, or play against the 1988 Boston Celtics.

"I think it's more dangerous out here than playing one on one and me taking a hard foul from an NBA player," Dantley says.

Filed under: Doing good
November 30th, 2012
10:16 AM ET

Officer Larry DePrimo on his random act of kindness towards shoeless man: 'I had to help him'

Officer Larry DePrimo’s random act of kindness has touched and inspired a nation. Jennifer Foster of Florence, AZ was visiting Times Square when she saw Officer DePrimo stop to give a $100 pair of boots to a homeless man whose feet were covered in blisters. Unbeknownst the DePrimo, Foster took a picture and sent the photo to the NYPD, who put it on their Facebook page. Instantly the photo went viral and garnered comments from over 30,000 people around the world. This morning Officer DePrimo and Jennifer Foster join “Starting Point” to discuss his decision to help this particular shoeless man and why she snapped the picture.

On the topic of why he chose to help this particular homeless man DePrimo says, “the biggest two things that night was it was extremely cold out and this gentlemen didn’t even have a pair of socks on.” The officer adds that he also saw the man had blisters on his feet, “probably about the size of [his] palm.” DePrimo goes on to explain that the fact the homeless man “wasn’t bothering anybody” and “was a gentleman” when he spoke and approached him were two more reasons for why he “had to help him.” DePrimo says as a police officer “you do things like this all the time and I think that’s what a lot of people haven’t noticed and are starting to notice which is great.”

One person who took notice was Foster who says one of her reasons for taking the photo was because the moment was reminiscent of something her father once did. At a young age Foster explains she witnessed her father who was also in law enforcement purchase breakfast for a person in need. Foster adds, “I know that these things do happen all over the country with law enforcement all of the time but I still recognized it as remarkable.”

Filed under: Doing good
November 23rd, 2012
09:29 AM ET

Hotels for Heroes: Donating miles to help provide housing wounded warriors and families

Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Fisher House Foundation's Dave Coker on the Hotels for Heroes program. For more information, visit

Filed under: Doing good • Veterans
November 20th, 2012
11:03 AM ET

Fighting cancer with fashion – Actor Stephen Baldwin on his daughters's clothing line for breast cancer research

Actor Stephen Baldwin on his daughters' clothing line "So Lucky To B Me" raising awareness for breast cancer research.

Filed under: Doing good
October 17th, 2012
11:17 AM ET

Political parties come together to build home for veteran – Ty Pennington explains

Ty Pennington is known for building homes for deserving people. We've been following his work as he brought both political parties together for one goal, to build a home for a military family. It's a plan both parties could agree on.

The plan called for half of the home to be built, you'll remember, at the Republican National Convention, the other half of the home was constructed at the Democratic National Convention. Today the home comes together. It's donated, it's finished and it goes to John Jones II and his wife, Tanisha. They're going to get that home at 12:00 noon today.

This morning on "Starting Point," Pennington talks to Soledad about the journey to getting the house produced, and the Jones family explain how thrilled they are to received the house.

Filed under: Democrats • Doing good • GOP
October 9th, 2012
11:37 AM ET

Singer Ashanti and NY Knicks's Allan Houston on "Garden of Dreams"

Madison Square Garden may entertain thousands of fans with sports events and concerts, but it also serves thousands of children in foster care, homeless shelters or hospitals all across the city.

MSG’s “Garden of Dreams” foundation has made special, once-in-a-lifetime experiences a reality for a nearly a quarter of a million of these children since 2006. These experiences offer exclusive access to MSG celebrities, events and venues. One event held yesterday featured the New York Knicks, Rangers and even the Radio City Rockettes.

Grammy Award-Winning Singer/Songwriter Ashanti and current NY Knicks Assistant General Manager and legendary former Knicks player Allan Houston are two of the big names who make a difference through the Garden of Dreams. They joined the Soledad and the “Starting Point” team this morning to share their experience.

“It’s a wonderful foundation,” Ashanti says about her affiliation with Garden of Dreams. “It creates unique experiences for kids to kind of just experience their dreams,” she says. “Being a part of that is absolutely an honor.”

O’Brien asks if the foundation offers a lasting experience that transcends one day at these iconic locations. “It’s just so much that they do,” for underprivileged children that includes afterschool programs, Houston answers. “It’s like a family that continues to grow,” Ashanti adds. “You begin to see the same kids over and over.”

Houston explains that Madison Square Garden and the Garden of Dreams foundation is really a combined effort rather than simply the Knicks or the Rangers. “It takes all of these, the whole brand, and kind of wraps it all together and provides this experience.” He shares his favorite event, a talent show at Radio City Music Hall. “You have all these kids” who are singing, dancing or doing poetry. “They can actually walk on Radio City Music Hall and show their gifts and talents.”

CNN Political Analyst Roland Martin then grills Houston on the Knicks’ stats and performance. However, Houston only has kind words and gifts to share in response in friendly Garden of Dreams fashion.

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Filed under: Doing good
September 21st, 2012
10:55 AM ET

Actor Forest Whitaker marks 10th anniversary of Intl. Day of Peace, launches Peace Earth Foundation

He is an actor best known for his Oscar-winning performances, but Forest Whitaker is also a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Peace and Reconciliation.

This morning on "Starting Point With Soledad O'Brien," Whitaker shares details of the launch of the Peace Earth Foundation, which aims to focus on "peace-building and community empowerment in areas of conflict." He explains to Soledad why this is an issue that is personally important to him.

"I'm just trying to be a part of that conversation work with so many people are working in peace building and community building all over the world," Whitaker says. "To be part of it is important. I think, you know, especially at this time - you guys were talking about earlier to take a second and think about what's going on, what sort of politics are occurring all over the planet, all over the world. Not just this last incident, but what's been going on for years and years. I think it's important for us to take a step back."

Whitaker also gives the Starting Point team some insight into his latest movie "The Butler," which was inspired by the story of long-time White House butler Gene Allen.

For more information on the Peace Earth Foundation, visit

Filed under: Doing good • Peace
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