October 8th, 2010
02:24 PM ET

CNN Hero: 'You are giving me the biggest gift in this world.'

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/10/08/art.krishnan.cnn.jpg caption="Since 2002, Narayanan Krishnan has served more than 1.2 million meals to India’s homeless and destitute through his nonprofit Akshaya Trust."]

Programming Note: CNN Heroes received more than ten thousand nominations from 100 countries. A Blue Ribbon Panel selected the Top 10 CNN Heroes for the year. Voting for the CNN Hero of the Year continues through November 18th (6am ET) at CNNHeroes.com

Editor's Note: Narayanan Krishnan brings hot meals and dignity to India’s homeless and destitute – 365 days per year – through his nonprofit Akshaya Trust. Since 2002, he has served more than 1.2 million meals.

It was around 7.15 P.M. when I got a call from CNN that I had been selected as a Top 10 CNN Hero. I had just finished the evening food distribution.

I am flying, I’m thrilled. You are giving me the biggest gift in this world.

Getting nominated itself is big recognition. All the CNN Heroes… are doing a phenomenal job. Short listing from this elite panel of judges definitely makes me feel happy.

This exposure will make Akshaya Trust more visible globally. Recognition from a trustworthy media source like CNN adds to our credibility. The work done for over 8 years in one corner of the globe will now reach millions of people in different parts of the world. At the same time, this puts greater responsibility and accountability on us….We have to maintain our standards to be worthy of the recognition.

Human suffering is happening all the time, all over the world. Everyone has their own moments of happiness and suffering– the wheel keeps moving all the time. If we understand this… we will become softer in our attitude towards the less fortunate and extend a helping hand.

A Global Celebration: Thanksgiving Night at 8p ET

Filed under: CNN Heroes
October 8th, 2010
10:27 AM ET

Crystal Bowersox: 'Just Imagine…'

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/10/08/art.crystal.cnn.jpg caption="Crystal Bowersox: 'If you, or your child is being bullied, I encourage you to take the battered mind and spirits, and lift them up.'"]

Crystal Bowersox
Special to CNN

Editor's note: Bullying is in our schools, and it's online. Why do kids do it? What can be done to put an end to it? Don't miss an "AC360°" special report in collaboration with PEOPLE Magazine, "Bullying: No Escape," all this week at 10 p.m. ET on CNN.

Bullying is not acceptable at any age, for any reason. To my adolescent mind, the reasons why my peers treated me poorly were cruel and insignificant; and mostly for reasons that were completely out of my hands. I experienced what seemed like constant emotional bruises and jabs, repetitive negative verbiage, name calling, and harassment not only within the walls of my home, but also in the halls of my school. I understand that growing up is tough for everyone. It's not an easy task for pliable minds to weave through the labyrinth known as puberty. But there are lines in this human experience that are not meant to be crossed so furiously and frequently.

I was often picked on for being poor. My brothers and I were part of the low-income school lunch programs, so our lunches were free. My clothes were never name brand or new, and usually rust stained due to hard water. I remember feeling so proud of myself for making the junior high school swim team, then hassled for attending meets wearing a used Goodwill suit because we couldn't afford the team ones and gear. In the winter season, I smelled like a camp fire and kerosene because our mother would use anything to heat the house, i.e. kerosene heaters -pluming smoke into the middle of the living room, or old shoes or garbage to stoke the wood-burning stove in the kitchen. My home life was beyond humble. At school, I was punished for it. I was also taunted by a few students for being diabetic. I was diagnosed at the age of 6, so these taunts started early on and were usually based upon fear and/or curiosity. Literally, students used the word, "Diabetic!!" as an insult among sneering and scoffing when I would eat something in class. I later learned to manipulate my health to miss school, because I dreaded being there so, and the hospital felt safer than home.

There are a few incidents that I remember quite vividly. I've managed to let go and block out a lot of things, but this one has stayed in my mind. School had just let out. I was headed to the bus, when I was suddenly pelted with ice. A few of the Varsity jackets had taken snowballs dipped them in water, which then turned into baseball-sized hail, and began stoning me. In pain, I tried to throw the ice-snowballs back, to no avail. I went home that night with my body and my spirit, black and blue.

Filed under: Bullying • Opinion
October 8th, 2010
10:20 AM ET

Letters to the President: #627 'Experience? Who needs it'

Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Reporter's Note: President Obama won the office in part by arguing that more experienced politicians were too set in their ways. But now he has to fend off a whole new flock of candidates in both parties saying pretty much the same thing.

Dear Mr. President,

Some time back I was out in New Mexico talking to Gov. Bill Richardson and our conversation came around to his ill-fated presidential bid. You may recall while you were racing to the front of pack, he was back there elbowing for his life in that scrum of Democrats running after you: Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, John Edwards, Dennis Kucinich, and heck I can’t even remember all the names anymore.

Anyway, I asked him how he felt about the experience and he said he enjoyed it but the voters just weren’t buying experience that time around. You’ll have to admit he has a point. Based on his resume, he had all the chops: Years of experience with national and international affairs, business contacts, political savvy, you name it.

And judging from what I’m seeing in these midterms elections, experience is still not selling so well. I suspect about the last thing any politician wants to say in a close race right now is “I’ve been inside the government. I know how it works!”

October 8th, 2010
10:15 AM ET
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10:00 AM ET
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09:45 AM ET
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09:30 AM ET
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09:15 AM ET
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09:00 AM ET