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Jake Hanrahan: Irregular Warfare

As audiences turn from mainstream news reporting, independent journalism is gaining in popularity and trust. Riveting stories of conflicts and crime on the world stage are brought to us by journalists who accept the risk of putting themselves in harms way. They do it to get the story behind today’s headlines so the rest of us can know what’s actually happening in the world. One such independent journalist is Jake Hanrahan of the UK, who brings us stories from some of the world’s most dangerous hotspots. His firsthand reporting also covers the underworld of organized crime, exposes extremist political views, and dives into conspiracy theories. Take a look at his showreel to see what takes to get the story… Journalistic Integrity at Stake In an interview with Defiance, Hanrahan shares his view on why audiences are becoming distrustful of mainstream news, “Because a lot of people are getting sick of what they’re seeing every day. It’s not just kooky people. Normal people now, everybody is just going like, ‘Hang on, I’m sick of this. I’m sick of being told what

Estella Mims Pyfrom And Her Brilliant Bus For Underprivileged Kids

Underprivileged kids take charge of their destiny on a magical mobile learning lab. Magic School Bus  In today’s digital age, information is everywhere. This has made for a more informed general public, but some poor and rural locations have fallen behind due to a lack of resources. That’s why Estella Pyfrom, an 82-year-old activist and educator from Quincy, Florida, is giving those who need it an “education on wheels.” Her ‘magic school bus’ established a movement to make education accessible to all. The Brilliant Bus is a non-profit, designed to help both underprivileged children and adults access education, modern technology, and educational resources no matter where they live. The project is helping to eliminate the digital divide in communities and has been featured during a Microsoft Super Bowl commercial, in O, The Oprah Magazine, and was a recipient of Toyota’s Standing O-vation award. Pyfrom was also named a CNN Top 10 Hero. You can watch her hero story here… Retirement Redefined When most people retire, they usually spend their savings on traveling, moving to a different country, or satisfying their

Guardians of the Children: Protecting Our Priceless Resource

Biker heroes serve to shield and protect the powerless victims of child abuse. They’re not just another biker club rumbling down the open road. They are not a Motorcycle club at all. Rough looking on the outside, they’re soft on the inside when it comes to kids, especially victims of child abuse. Meet Guardians of the Children (GOC), a non-profit biker organization formed in 2006 by Founders “LT” Trevino and “Bamm-Bamm” Cano whose members protect abused and neglected children. GOC’s members cover a broad range of professions united in a cause through their love of motorcycles. As bikers, they leverage their alliances to serve victims and their families. More Than Bikers “We’re an organization within the biker community,” says the Vice President of San Antonio Chapter. “It’s a matter of dedication to the lifestyle — we’re a group of volunteers that uses the image of the biker to help us in our mission, but we’re not living out the full lifestyle that the motorcycle clubs do.” GOC benefits communities by informing the public of how widespread the child abuse crisis

Diane Latiker: Chicago South Side’s Founder Of “Kids Off The Block” (KOB)

Chicago South Side’s Ms. Diane opens her heart and home for at-risk youths to realize their potential. A Memorial Like No Other Another stone is placed on a memorial wall in Roseland, a neighborhood in Chicago. Bearing a name and date, the stone is carefully and lovingly displayed among the other 800 stones that have been collecting there since 2007. The wall is a sad testament of young lives cut short by the barrel of a gun. Worse yet, the wall has been rebuilt 15 times since 2007, and is over 400 stones behind! Diane Latiker, a community activist and founder of Kids Off the Block (KOB), set up the memorial wanting to shock “her community and the youth she served,”  KOB is a non-profit started in 2003 in Roseland, one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in Chicago, where walking home from school could mean dodging a gauntlet of bullets. Even Latiker is not immune to her neighborhood’s violence. Her own van was found shot up by gangs. On another occasion, she says she found herself between two guns with

Laura Galante: Cyber Crime Fighter

Expert in cyber intelligence and 4-H clubs she’s looking to build a future for rural Virginia. There are some undeniable threats to safety, such as an assailant with a gun, a natural disaster, or a burning building, but what about the threats that are more mysterious? Like those that lay in the dark webs of cyberspace. Just because the naked eye can’t see them doesn’t make these threats any less dangerous. In fact, because of this they are even more dangerous, according to Laura Galante, a world-renowned cybersecurity expert. She deals with these types of crises every day. From security breaches that hold entire governments hostage, viruses that seek to steal your personal information, or teams of cyber spies attempting to sway public opinion, these are obstacles that Galante conquers. She’s spoken to the United Nations about hackers and malware, and documented Chinese interference with American trade secrets. Her skillset has allowed her to regularly appear on CNN, BBC, and other networks and in publications on matters of cybersecurity and adapting to digital threats. Fighting cyber crime is a taxing

Anastassia Elias: Heart for Art

A thing of beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Artists like Anastassia Elias make our world come to life. Their ingenuity, resourcefulness and clever outlook allow us to see beyond the norm. Elias pushes artistic boundaries by using often overlooked materials and turning them into masterful artistry. “I often take what others don’t see and turn it into something that everyone can connect to,” she says. Elias is a Paris-based digital artist, illustrator, and innovative do-it-yourself (DIY) designer, residing in Landerneau, a small town in the western part of France (Brittany) near Brest, who uses precise techniques to inspire free thinking and bring attention to important global issues. Her mediums include painting, paper collages, ink, photos, fiber, drawings, and recycled materials. Thanks to her unique outlook, her artwork has been featured in exhibits all over the world, including the National Museum of Singapore, the Portuguese Film Festival, and in Milan, Italy. She’s on a Roll We’ve all heard the phrase, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” but Elias knows this all too well. As an artist, illustrator,

Alicia Keys and Keep a Child Alive

Superstar takes positive action to combat the physical, social, and economic impacts of HIV. Star Power Alicia Keys, a world-renowned songstress and piano player, uses her global fame to make the world a better place. For years, her soulful voice and lyrics about hope, love, and freedom have inspired fans worldwide. As a classically trained pianist with 15 Grammys, she understands the power of music. She was signed to Columbia Records when she was 15 and has recorded megahits like No One, Empire State of Mind, If I Ain’t Got You, and Girl on Fire. Aside from music, Keys has acted in films such as The Secret Life of Bees and The Nanny Diaries. Even though Alicia Keys’ powerful voice, undeniable piano skills, and star power are her claim to fame, that’s not the only way she wants to leave her mark on the world. Few people know that she is a human rights activist and a spokesperson for afflicted women and children around the world. Musical Mission One of Keys’ most pivotal moments was when she traveled to South Africa

Jonna Mendez: Veil of Spies

Risking it all to turn the odds to America’s favor. If I told you the Soviet Union fell with the help of glued-on facial hair and commuter dummies would you believe me? Well, probably not. But if a former CIA master of disguise told you it was true, you would. Seemingly innocuous things like wigs and ink pens were essential parts of the CIA’s ingenious toolkit for protecting assets who gave us vital information, consequently protecting millions of American lives. Tools like this were invented out of necessity during the Cold War, and Jonna Mendez, former Master of Disguise at the CIA, was the Mother of Invention. All-American Girl Mendez was born in Campbellsville, Kentucky to a family whose roots in the county were six generations deep. The plucky blonde no doubt learned the ways of the hills as all Kentucky children do; how to make something from nothing and fashion what you need with what’s on hand. Skills like these would come in very handy in her career. She graduated high school in Wichita, Kansas, attended nearby Wichita State,

Jack Haldrup: Dr. Squatch

A simple idea raised the bar on the men’s grooming industry and how men approach their hygiene. Heeding Nature’s Call Sometimes the biggest success stories are spawned by the simplest of ideas. This was the case for Jack Haldrup, who came up with a business idea and scrawled it on a napkin while on an airplane flight. He was restless, wanting something more than what his current job could offer. By the time he stepped off the plane, he knew exactly what he wanted to pour his energy into – creating a line of high-quality natural soap for men. Going at it from scratch wasn’t easy but he was determined. He did his homework and learned to build a website, researched suppliers, and honed marketing skills – practical tools he needed to launch his product. Not knowing a thing about soap-making, he taught himself how and learned all about natural ingredients. “A major advantage I had was that I was creating a product I wanted to buy myself. I also didn’t really identify with any of the brandings that were

Bernadette Placky: Climate Central’s Weather Expert

She’s educating the public on extreme weather events and the impact of climate change. Weather the Storm There is no Planet B. Climate change is real and it is threatening the way most people live. Bernadette Woods Placky says there is no debating the science that weather is heating up and that the global population is feeling the effects. Woods Placky is the Chief Meteorologist and Program Director for the Climate Matters program on Climate Central, a nonprofit news organization focused on climate research. Discussing the effects of greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide, fossil fuels, and human consumption on our ecosystem are normal conversations for Woods Placky. She understands the dangers of extreme weather patterns, like sea level rise, drought, heat, and more. As an accomplished journalist, she has a knack for simplifying complex terms and spitting out the truth. She’s appeared on MSNBC, Public Radio, ABC, PBS, and other major networks linking our weather to climate change. “You can’t go outside if the weather is not cooperating. I learned this lesson when I was young, and it still applies to