by Amy and Nancy Harrington, Pop Culture Passionistas
An Oscar winner becomes a Good Will Ambassador, a Glee cast member gives the gift of Dance and a “Celebrity Apprentice” candidate gives back to the American Red Cross. Here are this week’s most inspirational pop culture moments.
Liam Neeson Named Goodwill Ambassador
Actor Liam Neeson, famous for such films as “Shindler’s List” and “Taken,” was named a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador. In a UNICEF press release, the organization’s Executive Director Anthony Lake said, “Liam Neeson is not only a passionate dramatic actor, he is a deeply compassionate humanitarian actor. UNICEF is very lucky that he is choosing to use his time and talent to support the world’s most vulnerable children, and we thank him for accepting this new role as UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador.”
Neeson accepted the appointment by commenting, “I am deeply honoured to have been asked by UNICEF to become a Goodwill Ambassador and am committed to working with UNICEF to help children overcome poverty, violence, disease and discrimination across the world.”
The actor has been working with UNICEF in Ireland for over 15 years and now will be expanding his reach globally. He remarked, “It is shocking to me that in this day and age, 22,000 children are still dying every day for want of the most basic things like clean water to drink, a safe place to live or access to medicines when they are sick. I am determined to do whatever I can to help UNICEF.”
‘Glee’s’ Harry Shum Gives the Gift of Dance
Harry Shum Jr. plays Mike Chang on “Glee.” He’s the kid who isn’t really a very strong singer, but kicks it in a kick line. This week the dancer who appeared in films like “Stomp the Yard” and the “Step Up” franchise shared his talents with a group of kids at Mattel Children’s Hospital at UCLA.
The Give Back Hollywood Foundation brought Shum in to support the Andrea Rizzo Foundation in a dance therapy session. He also made a PSA for Drea’s Dream. The foundation was established in memory of Andrea Rizzo. Her life ended at the tender age of 24, when she was hit by a drunk driver after surviving a childhood battle with cancer. Drea wanted to become a dance therapist and give kids with cancer the gift of movement. So now celebrities are doing that in her name.
Shum told Give Back Hollywood, “To me movement is such a big deal, whether it’s walking or just lifting your arms up. It’s really incredible what that does… It’s great to see these kids use movement to be able to talk about their emotions.”
The PSA Shum made revealed an online auction where one lucky fan will win tickets to the Glee live show and a meet and greet with the actor.
Niki Taylor Supports the American Red Cross
Niki Taylor didn’t last long on “The Celebrity Apprentice.” In fact she was the third star to get the boot in Donald Trump’s boardroom. But she didn’t go before earning a chunk of change for her favorite charity.
The supermodel explained why she was playing the game for the American Red Cross. “I chose it because I was in the car accident in 2001 and I needed over 100 units of blood. And the American Red Cross supplied my hospital with that blood and this is me thanking all those people that donate blood every day.”
She might not have lasted long but Taylor was able to garner a significant donation for the relief organization. She remarked, “I got to win $135,000 for the American Red Cross in the first episode. So I did win a little money for my charity.”
Besides the American Red Cross, Taylor went on “The Celebrity Apprentice” to help her teammates take in money for their favorite causes, too. She commented, “We all love charities. We all love everybody’s charity. I think everybody wanted to win money for each other’s charity, as well.”
There’s more money to be made for a good cause each Sunday night when “The Celebrity Apprentice” airs at 9 p.m. EST/8 p.m. Central on NBC.