CNN.com is holding its annual CNN Heroes - Ordinary People, Extraordinary Impact campaign.
This year, CNN winnowed from 9,000 nominees from all over the world 10 finalists for its "Hero of the Year" award. Efren Peñaflorida, a 28-year-old Filipino, made it to the top ten.
Amongst his accomplishments - Efren gives Filipino youth an alternative to gang membership through education. Since 1997, his Dynamic Teen Company's 10,000 members have taught basic reading and writing to 1,500 kids living in the slums of the Philippines.
Efren himself was a victim of gang member abuse when he was stoned and attacked at the age of 16. Instead of taking revenge, Efren responded in a very creative way. He brought his push cart filled with books and teaching tools to squatter's areas in the Philippines in an aim to divert kids from joining gangs and getting involved in a life of crime. He has brought a huge transformation to the life of these children (some former drug addicts and gang members in as early age as 9), that the sheer impact he has made in their lives is absolutely inspirational.
If Efren wins this year's award (based on the number of votes he gets), he will be able to expand his mobile school program to impact a greater amount of children in other regions throughout the Philippines.
Here's a link to Efren's story and Dynamic Teen Company (the organization he founded):
The online voting poll closes tomorrow at 11/19/09, 6am EST and CNN will announce the winner and give out the award this Thanksgiving in L.A.
Please be so kind as to vote. Let your voice be heard, and together, we can all make difference!
Thank you very much.
Tell me and I'll forget;
Show me and I may remember;
Involve me and I'll understand.
[ send green star]