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Thanks to Hollywood and Invisible Children’s viral KONY2012 campaign, most Americans associate child soldiers with African dictatorships or Middle Eastern terrorists. But the reality is the problem is much closer to home. Head to Mexico and you’ll soon discover that over 30,000 of that nation’s youth have been coerced into working as child soldiers for the various drug cartels.

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Occasionally something amazing comes from a simple conversation between two surfers. One day earlier this year, Ian Glover, who runs a Bay Area surf camp, was chatting with longtime local board shaper Tim Gras, who also works as a community organizer in the largest housing project in San Francisco.
A simple idea hatched. Ian has the resources and people power to take lots of kids surfing in Marin and Tim has access to kids who could use a fun day at the beach, some of whom may have never seen the ocean—despite living a couple of miles from it. Together they arranged for a group of these kids to go surfing a few weeks later. The kids loved it and Ian and Tim started plotting the next trip. I heard about all the fun they were having and I had to get in on the action too. I'm a surf photographer and filmmaker and I pitched the idea to my company, Micro Documentaries, of doing a pro bono film about these special days.
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Formerly Homeless Student Starts Nonprofit to Help His Peers Get to College

19-year-old student Orayne Williams got his first home when he went to college. Now he's working to get other homeless teens there, too.


Nineteen-year-old New York City student Orayne Williams knows a lot about how to avoid becoming a statistic. Last year Williams, who was abandoned by his family when he was 12 and spent his teen years living in homeless shelters, managed to graduate from high school with honors and enrolled at Manhattanville College on a full scholarship. His campus dormitory was his first non-shelter home in years.

His achievements are so inspiring that the New York Daily News made him their success story of 2010 and their readers generously donated $15,000 to him. But Williams is determined to not be a happy exception. Last November, he founded a new nonprofit, the Progressive People Movement, Inc, which hopes to help at-risk "youth break free from the cycles of homelessness, incarceration, poverty and failure."

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