Hometown Heroes celebrates people in the Bay Area who make a difference in their communities. In addition to highlighting remarkable individuals, the Hometown Heroes feature aims to encourage volunteerism, raise visibility of nonprofits and key causes in the area and create a spirit of giving.
Read about a new Hometown Hero every other Monday and watch the program on Comcast On Demand at Channel One-Bay On Demand-Hometown Heroes.
Blindsided by the death of her 21-year-old son, Joey, from a combination of prescription drugs and alcohol in 2009, April Rovero has since made it her mission to help other parents avoid the nightmare she endured.
Pleasant Hill woman's account of her teenage daughter's suicide is hard to hear. But she shares it unflinchingly with college students, police officers and parents as part of her work with the local chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
Ron Van Den Baard has worked 3,500 volunteer hours since 2005, saving the short-handed Antioch Police Department more than $81,000 -- and that doesn't include the additional time he spends answering questions on the phone and offering other advice.
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Thomas got help from her adopted children, whom she home schools, to fundraise for a mural at hospital
Nonprofit leader expanding program to provide vocational training and work experience to help wean clients off government support.
Don't dare try to dog Kari McAllister -- she'll have none of it.The 57-year-old transgender Jill-of-all-trades is on a mission to stop bullying, be it in schools, at work or at home. And she certainly won't put up with any kind of harassment directed her way.
Bicker started at ARF as a volunteer then rose through the ranks at the nonprofit organization.
Tyler Page, 13, along with his mother, Laura Page, is the founder of Kids Helping Kids, which has donated $50,000 to children in need. Tyler and Laura say it was a snippet of daytime TV that changed their lives.
There's something to be said for knowing that your feet are planted firmly on the ground. That's why Bertha Cuellar chose the name "Terra Firma" for her drug, alcohol and abuse rehabilitation center when she started her program 20 years ago.
Music has been important in Larry Wang's life since preschool, when he started tapping away at the piano. So when the 14-year-old Pleasant Hill teen heard the Mt. Diablo school district had cut the fourth-grade band program, he knew he had to try to save the music.
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Before this tale of heroism begins, the heroine would like to make one thing perfectly clear. She doesn’t consider what she does heroic. What’s more, Lisa Busbee-Young says her contribution to a better society is, in a way, self-serving.
Sometimes small acts of kindness can unleash a torrent of good deeds. Consider the case of Ed McClelland. He would have others believe he's just a blue-collar guy who works hard. And that much is true. But McClelland also is the driving force behind an outreach that's provided more than 700 U.S. troops overseas with tangible reminders that a grateful country hasn't forgotten them.
After her mother's seemingly senseless death, Susan Lieu said, "I was determined to have a purpose." Since then, the Oakland resident has earned a bachelor's degree from Harvard, supported sustainable farming methods in Vietnam, worked with an AIDS project in an African refugee camp and started a successful Oakland chocolate business. She is 25 years old.
"Richmond, do something for your country!" the Bay Area radio announcer said. "Go to the Richmond shipyard and be a welder." That's how Agnes Moore remembers her call to duty after Japan bombed Pearl Harbor in 1941. The Rossmoor resident was 21 at the time.
Sheilah Fish's success in building a network of East Bay teenagers who see themselves as stewards of Planet Earth probably has something to do with her background as a marriage and family therapist.
At 6, with the help of his mom, John Holland-McCowan founded Kids Cheering Kids, a nonprofit group made up of children and young adults ages 5 to 23 who volunteer at homeless shelters and centers for chronically ill youth.
Jan Schilling looks back on the birth of her scholarship program and says everything "just fit together." As a young woman in the early 1960s, Schilling spent two years volunteering with the Peace Corps in the African country Ivory Coast. Her time there, and the people she met, deeply influenced her.
Lorrain Taylor's pain brought her to a point where she longer wanted to go on, but she pulled through, and has dedicated herself to helping others get past the low point many mothers experience after losing a child to violence.
The Lafayette Senior Recreation Center's monthly bulletin is chock-full of listings for upcoming activities such as bingo, bridge and yoga. Also sprinkled throughout the newsletter are memorials dedicated to members who have recently died — and pleas for volunteers to help those who remain stay active at the center. Two of those volunteers curtailed their service, for different reasons.
For the last 20 years, Mona Walker has been donating her time to the Seniors in Schools program, which has been sending retired people into Newark elementary classrooms.