FILIPINO youth worker and teacher Efren Peñaflorida, 27, has been named a “CNN Hero,” a title bestowed on ordinary citizens around the world accomplishing extraordinary deeds. Peñaflorida will be featured on CNN’s Larry King Live (airing Friday, March 6 at 6 p.m. Manila Time).

High school was hell for Peñaflorida. He was constantly harassed and threatened by local gangs that terrorized his school. Students had few alternatives to the gangs, and were either forced into joining or dropped out of school. Despite the pressure, Efren was determined to complete his education. Growing up near the slums of Cavite City, Efren knew that, despite his problems, he was lucky.

A lot of kids with his background didn’t have the opportunity to go to school.

At 16 years old, Efren decided to combine two problems to create a solution. He recruited three fellow high-school students to go to the slums on Saturdays to teach younger kids. That was the beginning of the Dynamic Teen Company (DTC).

Ten years later, DTC’s membership has grown to 10,000 members and they have tutored approximately 1,500 children from the slums. DTC became the solution Efren envisioned. It gives high-school students an alternative to gangs and young children access to education. At 27, Efren continues to share the gift of learning. He teaches at a local private school in Cavite City and still accompanies DTC to the slums every Saturday.

Peñaflorida is the third of approximately 32 heroes to be unveiled this year. An esteemed blue-ribbon panel will then select the top 10 CNN Heroes before the international public selects the CNN Hero of the Year via voting at the CNN Heroes site www.CNN.com/Heroes

At a year-end gala, CNN will honor these 10 heroes and reveal the CNN Hero of the Year, who will receive $100,000. In its second year in 2008, the multiplatform initiative received nearly 4,000 submissions from 75 countries. A special “CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute,” program will then air globally on CNN International, CNN/US and CNN en Español.

CNN is the world’s leading global 24-hour news network and one of the world’s most respected and trusted sources for news and information. The CNN brand is available to 2 billion people via 18 CNN branded TV, Internet and mobile services produced by CNN Worldwide, a division of Turner Broadcasting System Inc. and a Time Warner company. CNN International is the international directorate of CNN Worldwide and distributes news via 14 services in seven different languages. CNN International can be seen in more than 249 million households and hotel rooms in over 200 countries and territories worldwide, including more than 36 million across the Asia Pacific region and online at www.cnn.com/international

Who is Efren Peñaflorida?

He is the founder of Dynamic Teen Company (DTC), an organization training young children to become responsible, systematic and principled.

He is one of the nominees of Global Youth Awards 2008 in the Humanos category. He is also cited as one of the 2009 CNN Heroes.

He was born to Efren Peñaflorida Sr. and Lucila Geronimo. A middle child of a tricycle driver and a housewife, F! grew up near the city’s open dumpster where he plays, and swims in the garbage beach when he was very young.

He was featured in a World Vision, USA documentary about kids living in the worst conditions. Despite of these conditions, F! showed responsibility when their family started a noodle micro business to help make both ends meet. An intelligent student in elementary, he was given scholarship assistance by World Vision Phils.

A very studious and industrious F! was given several class honors and awards in elementary and high school. He was awarded highest honor for Associate in Computer Technology of San Sebastian College- Recoletos Batch 2000.

For several years, he’s a regular viajero of fish crackers from Baclaran to Cavite and sells these in school to be able to help his family. It has been his commitment to improve the standard of public secondary education.

He has been conducting free tutorial classes to more than 50 high school and college students for more than four years already. He is currently enrolled at Cavite State University, pursuing Secondary Education as a second course to be able for him to make more difference in the lives of other youth in the near future.


* Regional Winner, Outstanding Volunteer Awards
NEDA – 2008, Calamba, Laguna
* Outstanding Caviteño in Republic Service
2008, Independence Day Celebration, Cavite
* Finalist for Global Youth Awards
2008, Southhampton, UK
* Official Nominee for Right Livelihood Award Foundation
2005, Stockholm, Sweden
* Gawad Geny Lopez Jr. Bayaning Pilipino Regional Winner
2004, ABS-CBN Studio 1, Quezon City
* Golden Anahaw Awardee as Outstanding Community Servant
* Role Model Awardee
2004, City Gov’t Award for CAVITE CITY WEEK, City Hall, Cavite City
* Most Outstanding VBS Staff
1996, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003 , Club 8586 Center, Cavite City
* Excellent Member Awardee
1997, LDES Multi-Purpose Hall, Club 8586 INC. Cavite City
* Model Sunday School Student Award
1995, 1996, 1997, Club 8586 Center, Cavite City

In time like this, we all need a person not politician, celebrity, or wealthy one but only a simple person who have the heart of helping others to uplift the moral not only pilipino but also to the whole world thanks to CNN for showing to the world that even we experienced the cruelty of this society there are still few out there who cares and willing to sacrifice themselves for the common goal inspired to us by Jesus himself.


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