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Graduates Who Make A Difference

Iraq POW and LV77 Grad Shoshana Johnson is an Advocate for Disabled Soldiers

Shoshana Johnson, the U.S.'s first black female prisoner of war and a graduate of ChoiceCenter Leadership University's LV77 Personal Development workshop in 2007, has become an advocate for disabled soldiers, and published a book in 2010 that is a must-read for every patriot.

"I'm Still Standing" recounts Shoshana's 22 days as a POW in Iraq. On March 23rd, 2003, during Operation Iraqi Freedom, Shoshana was in a convoy that was ambushed in the city of an-Nasiriyah. Wounded, she and five fellow soldiers were captured and taken as prisoners of war, making world news headlines. The POWs were rescued by U.S. Marines on the morning of April 13, and Shoshana returned to the U.S., retiring from the Army on a Temporary Disability Honorable Discharge in December of that year. Her awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart Medal, and the Prisoner of War Medal.

Shoshana now travels the country inspecting veteran hospitals, and speaking out as an advocate for disabled soldiers. She is a regular guest of Larry King Live, and is often asked to provide perspective and commentary on CBS, ABC and NBC News.

Shoshana lives in El Paso, Texas, with her daughter Janelle, and will graduate from culinary school in 2011 to fulfill her dream of being a chef. As a result of her learning at ChoiceCenter, Shoshana developed her vision to make a difference for other wounded soldiers through her book and advocacy efforts, and also created a powerful co-parenting relationship with her daughter's father.

Phoenix Suns Owners Make a Difference with Children in San Diego

Lynne Carlson, LV70 Leadership, and her husband Glenn Carlson, LV78 Leadership, may be two of the owners of the Phoenix Suns, but for the last few years, they've been focusing their biggest game on Rady Children's Hospital in San Diego.

Annual fundraisers hosted by the Carlson family have resulted in the October 2010 dedication of Rady's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), which will care for the hospital's tiniest and most fragile patients.

The new 32-bed NICU at theAcute Care Pavilion has 22 private home-like rooms, helping moms to bond with their newborns. This is matched with incredible medical advances to ensure the best possible care.

The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit also includes nature-themed photography in patient rooms, two lactation rooms, and a parent waiting room with children's play space. There is also a surgical center.

Lynne Carlson is an attorney turned philanthropist who also supports the Dr. William Kupiec Girls Academy in Nigeria, making several visits before and since the school has opened. 

Glenn Carlson is the Chief Executive Officer and member of the Executive Committee of Brandes Investment Partners in San Diego – a leading investment advisory firm, managing equity and fixed income assets for institutional and private clients worldwide by applying the value investing approach pioneered by Benjamin Graham. The firm has total assets under management of $43.1 billion.

Todd Nigro - LV19 and Chairman of the Board of Habitat for Humanity

Todd Nigro, LV19, is President of Nigro Development LLC in Las Vegas. During his ChoiceCenter Leadership course almost 10 years ago, Todd served as the Community Service Captain for his team, and began volunteering at Habitat for Humanity. He got so much out of the experience, he continued his volunteer work with them indefinitely, and was asked to join the H4H Board in 2002. Today, Todd serves as the Chairman of the Board of Habitat for Humanity Las Vegas, and oversees Habitat's operations for all of Las Vegas.

Habitat for Humanity Las Vegas builds single family homes throughout Clark County for working families earning less than 80% of Area Median Income. The home is sold at no profit through a no-interest mortgage, and families volunteer their labor to help build Habitat homes, including the one they will eventually purchase.

Under Todd's leadership, H4H has opened the Habitat ReStore which generates operating revenue by salvaging, recycling and sourcing overstock building materials and selling them to the public at highly discounted prices.

To learn more about Todd and how he got involved with Habitat for Humanity, click here.

Taylor Barton - LV80 Nascar Driver and Spokesperson for Boys & Girls Club

Taylor "The Bomber" Barton, LV80 Leadership team Torchbearer, is a philanthropist by day and a NASCAR© driver by night.  Sole owner of the Barton Racing Team, and aponsored by, Taylor is also an official spokesman for Boys and Girls Club of Las Vegas. Taylor grew up in the Boys & Girls Clubs and credits the mentoring and programming at the Clubs for his success and drive to accomplish his dream of becoming a champion NASCAR© driver. 

Taylor's mission is to lead by example, and to show young men and women all over the world that they can achieve their dreams with determination, passion and hard work. Jim Richards, President of Boys & Girls Clubs of Las Vegas says: “Taylor’s dedication to the kids at the Boys & Girls Club is evident in everything he does from his racing career to his weekly visits to the Clubs. His fan base far exceeds that of the racing world. Thousands of children cheer from the stands of Boys & Girls Club’s gyms, learning zones, games rooms, ball fields, computer labs and teen centers for our fellow Club member.”

Taylor has competitively raced in motorsports for more than 19 years. He began racing motorcycles at age six and quickly displayed a natural talent and passion for racing. During his racing career he has competed in more than 200 competitions, locally and nationally, always placing in the top ten, if not first place. Currently Barton races in the NASCAR© K&N Pro Series and the NASCAR© Camping World Truck Series as part of the Thompson Motorsports team. The other members of his Thompson Motorsports team include Brett Thompson, Rick Boysal, John Wong, Kenny Vanderham, Drew Reitsma and Kent Jensen. 

In addition to racing, Barton is the sole owner of the Barton Racing Team. Setting him apart from competitors is his decision to make philanthropy a priority, supporting the Boys & Girls Clubs of Las Vegas, through his sponsorships.

For more information on Taylor, visit

Maynard Howe - LV100 Graduate Builds Five Learning Center in Phillipines

LV100 Torchbearer Maynard Howe, in collaboration with his brothers, has opened five schools for orphans and children living in poverty in the Philippines.

He opened the Dorothy Howe Learning Centers in memory of his late mother. Since launching the first school in 2003, many of the school's elementary-age children have gone on to complete high school, vocational schools and college.

During Maynard's 100-day Leadership Legacy program, he opened the 5th Learning Center in New Kidapawan, Kibawe in the Philippines.

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