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'Secret Millionaires' give back to those less fortunate

March 4, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
Several of America's most successful, self-made business people take part in a unique journey with the new TV series, "Secret Millionaire."

Dani Johnson is living her American dream. She's a wife, mother, and grandmother, and has started a successful business that has made her a wealthy woman.

And while Johnson makes millions, it's also important for her to give back as much as she receives. That's why she chose to take part in the new ABC reality series.

"I believe 'Secret Millionaire' the show is going to change people's lives and get them off the couch. Quit focusing on your own problems and let's start helping somebody else that is really in need," said Johnson.

The premise of the show has wealthy Americans leaving behind their comfortable lifestyles to live and work within some of the country's most impoverished communities. They keep their true identities a secret until the end of filming.

Their goal is to give recognition to some of America's unsung heroes.

Johnson knows firsthand what it's like to be in a bad situation in a culture that often offers no hope for things to get better.

"You think that nothing is ever going to change. You think that your life is always going to be doomed for poverty and for this kind of abuse, and so I made stupid choices, ended up homeless at 21 with $2.03 to my name," said Johnson.

For the show, Johnson moved out of her mansion and was asked to seek out and live among those whose lives revolve around helping others. That included 82-year-old sisters Helen Ash and Ellen Turner.

The twins have been making people smile for 25 years at the Love Kitchen in Knoxville, TN, and today serve more than 2,000 people each week.

Johnson's hope is that by watching the sisters, and others who devote their lives to service, people will be inspired to reach out to others.

"People right now are struggling," said Johnson. "All of us need to use what we have - we need to use our smiles, our encouragement, our time, and if we have the money, help somebody that is truly in need."

"Secret Millionaire" premieres Sunday, March 6 at 8 p.m. on ABC7.


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