Taryn Davis is helping young military widows find the emotional support they need. Davis was just 21 years old when her husband, an Army corporal, was killed in Iraq. Four months after his death, she created the American Widow Project. The nonprofit has connected more than 900 young military widows through the Internet and weekend retreats since 2007.
Surrounded by gang violence in her Chicago neighborhood, Diane Latiker opened her home to area youth and started a community program called Kids Off the Block. Since 2003, Latiker’s nonprofit has taught valuable life skills and provided recreational activities to more than 1,500 young people.
Fariba Nawa, an award-winning Afghan-American journalist, covers a range of issues and specializes in immigrant and Muslim communities in the United States and abroad. She is based in the San Francisco Bay Area but has traveled extensively to the Middle East and South Asia. She lived and reported from Afghanistan from 2002 to 2007, and witnessed the U.S.-led war against the Taliban and al Qaeda. She has also reported from Iraq, Pakistan, Iran, Egypt, and Germany.
Dick Bolles is the author of What Color Is Your Parachute? A Practical Guide For Job-Hunters and Career Changers, the most popular job-hunting book in the world. TIME Magazine chose it last Fall as one of the 100 best nonfiction books written since 1923. The Library of Congress chose it as one of 25 books down through history that have shaped people’s lives. It is a New York Times bestseller, appearing on its list for over 5 years. The book has sold 10 million copies, to date, and is revised every year. It has been translated into 20 languages and is used in 26 countries.
Jenny Pell is a permaculture designer, consultant, and teacher based in Seattle, WA. Jenny specializes in edible landscapes, urban permaculture, and creating “living genetic banks” of useful and valuable plant materials on projects large and small. Recent designs include a 7-acre permaculture food forest on public lands in Seattle, a two-acre demonstration garden at Evergreen State College, and a collaborative project integrating permaculture on a 60-acre organic farm outside of Portland, OR. She has a small urban farm in Seattle where she experiments with mixed annual and perennial hedgerows.
Mark’s family fled Lebanon during its 15-year civil war, a conflict that claimed the lives of his uncle, his aunt and their infant daughter. During primary school, Mark and his family immigrated to California. Starting a new life in a new country, Mark found stability through sports. His passion for sports would earn him a football scholarship that took him to Baker University located in a small Kansas town. After graduation, Mark went home where at summer’s end he planned to pursue a masters in refugee and migration studies in Egypt. This was until he learned that during his absence San Diego had become the largest refugee resettlement city in the world, and over half of the refugees are under the age of 18.
Rüdiger Gamm was not born math genius, in fact he failed math in school. It wasn’t until he was 21 years of age that he learned the power of the mind. He is able to do complex calculations in his mind, can speak backwards in complete sentences and words, and calculate calendars. He says that anyone can learn this. We invited Rüdiger to Bonfire Heights because he mentally challenged himself and demonstrates the power of the mind.
Withelma T Ortiz
Withelma “T” Ortiz is a survivor leader and advocate. From the ages of 10-17 T survived being subjected to commercial sexual exploitation here in the united states, through Domestic Human Trafficking. T now uses her lived experiences to teach, lead, and educate on needed reforms to systems and existing services that often interface with youth who have been sexually victimized including the child welfare, juvenile justice and mental health systems.
Kelly Hart has had a lifelong interest in building and has worked in construction professionally, but much of his activity has centered around media. He has worked as a freelance photographer, a film and video producer, and an animator . He has written many articles about sustainable architecture and now manages several popular websites on this topic.