Influential Celebrities: International Helpers

By Laura Colantonio, Trending Editor

Although celebrity influence is often considered as negative and inaccurate in terms of representing how average-people should be living their lives, many reflect positive lifestyle with international impact that all can relate to in some way. Whether it is donating to an international charity, adopting children from underprivileged countries, or providing those with the tools they need to succeed, there are celebrities involved in all sorts of ways.

Several celebrities are known for their international involvement through adopting children living in poor conditions worldwide. Some of the familiar names of those involved with this process include Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt who adopted three children from Cambodia, Vietnam, and Ethiopia, Madonna who adopted two children from Malawi, and Megan Ryan who adopted a child from China. This represents a model for all Americans of the opportunities to extend family to those who are in need of homes, especially in countries that do not have such freedoms and privileges offered in America. According to Intercountry Adoptions, such adoptions were at their peak in 2004 with 22,989 international kids finding homes. Unfortunately, these adoptions have decreased exponentially since, reaching 5,647 in 2015. Hopefully the influence that these celebrities have will inspire others to make a difference through adoption as well.

Another means in which celebrities have given back to the world include creating foundations or their own charities. For example, Oprah Winfrey created a school in South Africa, Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls. Its creation was inspired by her own humble beginnings and exists as a boarding school for gifted girls with impoverished backgrounds in Africa to receive an education and leadership opportunities. One of the amazing things about the academy that extends further than helping these girls receive better opportunity, is the fact that the school also aims to create leaders that will give back to the community through service, being one of the institution’s core values. The academy also commits to the completion of service as a part of their leadership development. This includes having the students contribute 3,000 hours to various efforts, including building houses, growing food, visiting the elderly, raising awareness about various causes, and more.

Other celebrities who have followed a similar model as Winfrey by creating foundations that impact those in other countries include Angelina Jolie who opened up an all-girls school in Afghanistan, Alicia Keys who founded the organization Keep a Child Alive, and many more. Celebrities not only inspire people to do better for the world, but also each other.

A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, January 24th print edition.

Contact Laura at


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