Vinny Ferraro makes his way to a chair at the front of a dim, chatter-filled room. Most Friday nights in San Francisco, he leads a meditation and an open discussion group session. And tonight is that night.
Once seated, Ferraro bends down to remove his shoes. He then sits up straight, closes his eyes and takes a deep breath before opening his eyes to say, "All right, all right, all right, y'all. Let's bring it in."
Everyone -- from ex-cons and recovering addicts to everyday businesspeople -- searches for a seat.
And then silence.
All eyes are on Ferraro, who is wearing a gray sleeveless t-shirt that reveals his tattoo-covered arms.
"Welcome, everyone. My name is Vinny Ferraro and I'm the guiding teacher. This is a particularly surreal night when there is, like, cameras over our shoulders," he says, referring to us.
"So, if you are in witness protection, please exit through the gift shop."
The crowd laughs.
(CNN) Sometimes it takes a song a few tries before it becomes a hit. See if you know the original creators of these internationally popular remakes.
1. "Respect" (1967)
In an era when women were fighting for respect in the workplace and home, Aretha Franklin's "Respect" became a feminist anthem. Released in 1967, the single was Franklin's first No. 1 hit and helped her claim the title "Queen of Soul."
But the song was actually written by a man.
Otis Redding, known as the "King of Soul," penned and originally recorded "Respect" in 1965. The lyrics differed only slightly, but his version portrayed a working man coming home to his wife and pleading for respect. It's a far cry from the confident woman's demand for props.
2. "Proud Mary" (1970)
In 1969, John Fogerty's band, the Creedence Clearwater Revival, released the riverboat-themed "Proud Mary." The song did well, peaking at number 2 on the US Billboard Hot 100.
But Ike and Tina Turner's version of "Proud Mary" set fire to Creedence Clearwater's song. The infamous couple's rendition starts slow with a sultry soul cadence before kicking into high gear with a rough, hard-hitting gospel and rock vibe.
Ike and Tina's "Proud Mary" charted at number 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1971 and won a Grammy Award the following year. And for Tina Turner, "Proud Mary" keeps on burning as one of her signature songs.
Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. (CNN)
Duval was inspired to do something after her son, Brett Simon, returned from two tours in Iraq. Simon was a civilian K9 police officer before joining a special team whose main mission was to work with the Army.
"I was chosen to work with explosive tracking dogs in Iraq. Once I arrived in Iraq in Baghdad, I was shipped out to Mosul, where I worked with the striker brigade working on the first tracking explosive dogs that were attempted in Iraq," says Simon.
Duval says she wasn't prepared when her son came home diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury.
"He was somebody different, he was not my son that went over there. He was completely changed and that was a shock that I've never experienced before, so it was more of panic. What do I do? What can I do? How do I fix it?"
Duval started researching methods on how to treat persons with PTSD and found that using service dogs was a promising solution. But at the time, there weren't many organizations providing service dogs for veterans.
(CNN) Veterans' dedication to protect and defend our nation comes with great courage and sacrifice. And there is a special group of people who will never forget what these men and women in uniform do -- their families.
This especially goes for children, who are sometimes without their parents on birthdays, graduations and holidays.
As CNN's Impact Your World honors our veterans, we talked to some of their kids. In their own words, these children opened up about some of the strains a military family life can bring. They also shared how proud they are of their parents who serve.
(CNN) NFL player Benjamin Watson wants to tackle race. He says he believes talking about race freely is the key to moving forward.
Watson's take on the situation in Ferguson wasn't one-sided. The essay allowed a more fresh approach to one of the most delicate conversations in the U.S.: race relations.
"Anytime there's a situation where you've got police officers, you've got citizens, you've got the race aspect of it -- it's always a big deal. And everybody comes in on their own side. Everybody has specific experiences that lead them to their conclusions." says Watson. "I really think part of the race issue is just for us to be open and honest with each other."
“In between songs on tour, I always take time to try and encourage the girls to appreciate all of the things that make them unique and all of the things that maybe you hate about yourself, those are things that make you. And you’re the only you, you’re ever going to be,” Crosby said.
But the movement Crosby created through a simple fashion statement was even a surprise to her. After receiving compliments for a hotel key that she had engraved and wore around her neck on a chain, Crosby started selling similar ones while on tour.
(CNN) This month Michelle Davis will proudly take the stage to accept her high school diploma. For her it was a journey that could have taken an entirely different turn.
When she was younger, Michelle Davis was diagnosed with a learning disability. She had trouble reading and writing. Gradually she started to fall behind other students, became disruptive and was later diagnosed with ADHD (attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder).
And according to the Journal of Psychiatric Research, teens with ADHD are more likely to drop out of high school or delay graduation.
With the help of her mother, Robyn Olivo, Michelle set out to beat the odds.
Raising three children, divorcee Robyn Olivo did all she knew how to do at the time to help Michelle with her disability. She bought “Hooked on Phonics” – educational software designed to help children read. Olivo would sit with her daughter and have her repeat words and practice vowels. Her mother signed Michelle up for cheerleading to help her spell and sound out words. Later she would pay for tutors.
“As we continued working, the more she read, the better she spelled. But it took her a long time to say the words. So she didn't like reading out loud to try to pronounce the words,” says Olivo. She would always say, "I can't do it," and I said, "You can do it."
Olivo says she also signed Michelle up for various community projects to help her with her leadership skills. She believed it helped build her confidence.