Mary Soriano

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Mary Soriano, a retired high school teacher, spends her challenge money on preschoolers—buying toys for children at the Friendly Fold Head Start in Newark, New Jersey. She gives 42 Elmo dolls to the children and talks to them about kindness and how they, too, can help people in need.

That was just the beginning of her surprise! Before her challenge, Mary heard that her 13-year-old videographer and his family had suffered a fire in their home. To help his family in their time of need, Mary decides to reach out to friends and family to raise additional funds. At the end of her presentation, Mary surprises the boy with $1,000!

"This entire experience has placed me on an emotional high for 10 days," Mary says. "My interaction with the children was priceless. It is far better to give than receive. I hope that the children will grow into giving adults in mind and spirit."