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Looking for the Helpers: Celebrities connect with students during pandemic

As our area is faced with ongoing changes due to a growing pandemic, we are bringing stories of people doing good in the community during a time of uncertainty.

Help us look for the helpers!

Heroes Assemble!

Another batch of helpers are connecting local teens with celebrities, leaders and each other.

Imagine going online and getting advice and encouragement from someone you admire. Local organization AHA! is making this possible.

AHA! is based in Santa Barbara and has been making a big difference in our community for 21 years.

The nonprofit is dedicated to cultivating social and emotional development in teens, parents and educators.

AHA! offers many programs including peace building and even sustainable organic farming. But, when learning shifted online because of the pandemic, AHA! created what it calls "Heroes Assemblies."

During a virtual Heroes Assembly, teens get to hear from leaders, and celebrities like Jeff Bridges, news commentator Van Jones and many more.

They record a video message for the students about life lessons, leadership qualities and what it means to be a hero during these difficult times. Then teens and teachers talk about what they learned.

Dr. Jennifer Freed, Chief Content Officer at AHA! says with the pandemic and teens being isolated at home, connecting with others is more important than ever.

"All of us need role models right now. We need to believe that there are people that we can emulate and we can look up to," Freed said. "When teens see their everyday heroes and celebrities talking about what difference a simple gesture can do, that reminds them that inside of them, they have that possibility."

The Heroes Assemblies have already served 3,000 students, teachers and principals. Their goal is to reach 60-thousand people next year.

If you would like to sponsor a Heroes Assembly or learn more, click here.


Know of any other helpers making a difference during these trying times? Send Alys an email and let her know!

Author Profile Photo

Alys Martinez

Alys Martinez is a reporter and anchor at NewsChannel 3-12. To learn more about Alys, click here.

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