Local Heroes Project

Since 1995 Jim Yager Media has partnered with Union Bank and California public television stations to produce over 600 short profiles about the unsung heroes in communities from San Francisco to San Diego. These very special individuals toil behind-the-scenes in the arts, public advocacy, education, and business to meet the unique challenges of today’s society and create better lives for all of us.

The Local Heroes project has received numerous accolades and awards over the years, including a recent Emmy Award nomination. Below are a few of our recent favorites. For more Local Heroes profiles, check out our Jim Yager Media YouTube channel.

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Nadine Burke Harris : Local Hero

Nadine Burke Harris : Local Hero

Nadine Burke Harris, MD, MPH, FAAP is the founder and CEO of the Center for Youth Wellness (CYW), a comprehensive health and wellness center that integrates medical, mental health, holistic and social services for an evidence-based approach to improving the health and well-being of urban children and youth. Her focus is serving communities where issues of poverty and race present challenges to conventional healthcare and education.

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Jodi Schwartz : Local Hero

Jodi Schwartz : Local Hero

Jodi Schwartz has more than 30 years of experience in nonprofit work, and an ardent commitment to social justice. During Ms. Schwartz’s tenure as Executive Director at LYRIC, she has developed San Francisco’s first LGBTQQ youth-specific case management program, and facilitated the formation of the Community Partnership for LGBTQQ Youth – an eight-agency continuum of services for LGBTQQ youth.

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Edna James: Local Hero

Edna James: Local Hero

Edna James is the President of Commission on Aging and Adult Services and is a staunch advocate for senior and disabled services. James has been an active member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. for over 50 years and joined the San Francisco Chapter in 1961. As a senior herself, James believes powerfully that there is no such thing as growing old gracefully, that staying healthy and active requires a lot of hard work and dedication – and a little bit of fun too.

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Linda Bounds: Local Hero

Linda Bounds: Local Hero

Linda Bounds has a lot of heart and grit. After a difficult divorce she decided to pursue her passion: art. For the past several years Bounds has taught art to seniors and people with disabilities through her specialized program, LEAPS and Bounds. She believes anyone can create with a little encouragement, and has helped her students produce some amazing works of art.

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Tom Nolan: Local Hero

Tom Nolan: Local Hero

For 17 years, Tom Nolan was the executive director of Project Open Hand, an organization that provides meals to San Francisco individuals suffering from HIV/AIDS. Under Mr. Nolan, it expanded its mission to include those in Alameda County suffering from serious illnesses and seniors. His activism in LGBT issues started early: In 1987 he became the first openly gay person to serve as president for a board of supervisors in California’s 58 counties, and he co-created the county’s first response to the AIDS crisis.

PJ Hirabayashi: Local Hero

PJ Hirabayashi is a taiko artist, teacher, artistic director emeritus and founding member of San Jose Taiko (SJT), a nonprofit professional performing arts company celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2013. Based in the heart of San Jose’s Japantown, SJT is an active catalyst in its cultural preservation and contemporary vitality. Hirabayashi has helped guide SJT’s longevity through extensive educational and outreach programs, performances, collaborations, and national and international touring.

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Stephanie Bravo: Local Hero

Stephanie Bravo: Local Hero

Stephanie Bravo is co-founder and president of StudentMentor.org, a social media platform that has connected over 20,000 college students and adult mentors. She met with President Obama and White House officials in 2012, to launch a partnership designed to improve college completion and prepare students for the workforce of tomorrow. Stephanie is also a fellow of the National Hispana Leadership Institute.

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Tom Carpenter: Local Hero

Tom Carpenter: Local Hero

Tom Carpenter’s fight for equal treatment of the LGBT community in the military was a personal mission. He served from 1970 to 1976 in the U.S. Marine Corps, piloted the Douglas A-4 Skyhawk, and protected the nation as a respected Captain, More than two decades after his resignation from the Marines, Mr. Carpenter paved the way for the equal treatment of LGBT service members through his dedication to the repeal of the controversial policy, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”.

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Stu Smith: Local Hero LGBT Pride

Stu Smith: Local Hero LGBT Pride

Stu Smith was a CEO in Silicon Valley in the 1960s and was diagnosed with HIV/AIDS in the late 1980s. As a way to help himself and others he began volunteering at Shanti Project. Smith now serves as Chairman Emeritus on the Shanti board and has learned the challenges nonprofits face in communicating their missions and needs. To that end, he got involved with other organizations and established relationships that allowed him to create his own non-profit, Tin Pan Alley Productions.