Monday, November 23, 2009

"Pushcart Educator" Named CNN Hero of the Year

The paragraphs below were copied and pasted from CNN and links are included to each of the articles and videos.

(CNN) -- A teacher and the organization he began has just been recognized by the Cable News Network.

Efren PeƱaflorida, who started a "pushcart classroom" in the Philippines to bring education to poor children as an alternative to gang membership, has been named the 2009 CNN Hero of the Year. The show was taped last Saturday, but premieres on Thanksgiving, November 26, at 9 p.m. ET/PT on CNN.

Efren gives Filipino youth an alternative to gang membership through education. His Dynamic Teen Company's 10,000 members have taught basic reading, writing, arithmetic, and English to 1,500 kids living in the slums. Stocked with books, pens, tables and chairs, they recreate a school setting in unconventional locations such as the cemetery and municipal trash dump. The group also runs a hygiene clinic, where children can get a bath and learn how to brush their teeth.

"Our planet is filled with heroes, young and old, rich and poor, man, woman of different colors, shapes and sizes. We are one great tapestry," PeƱaflorida said upon accepting the honor. "Each person has a hidden hero within, you just have to look inside you and search it in your heart, and be the hero to the next one in need.

So to each and every person inside this theater and for those who are watching at home, the hero in you is waiting to be unleashed. Serve, serve well, serve others above yourself and be happy to serve. As I always tell to my co-volunteers ... you are the change that you dream, as I am the change that I dream, and collectively we are the change that this world needs to be."

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, remember all of the blessings you have matter how big or small, and make a difference in someone's life! Unleash that hero inside of yourself!!! J.T.

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