+ DR. SIMA SAMAR
+ EFREN PEÑAFLORIDA
Efren G. Penaflorida, Jr. or KUYA F! grew up in the city slums of Cavite near the cemetery and dumpsite. He suffered bullying as a young boy and was being picked on by gangs in campus which made him lose interest in going to school and to discontinue his studies.
He became a participant of an interactive support group in campus of Club 8586, Inc. in 1994 which eventually changed his views and made him pursue his education through his mentor’s principle: “Love learning and embrace it for it shall embrace and love you back and shall enable you to change your world.”
Kuya F! formed the Dynamic Teen Company in 1997 together with his Club 8586, Inc. friends Rezcel Alconcel, Jefferson Bernal and Mentor KB Manalaysay. DTC operated under the supervision of Club 8586 and was trained to slowly get involved in street education and community projects. Kuya F! and his team of Dynamic Teen Company volunteers furthered their cause by the operation of the Kariton Klasrum in 2007. This project was recognized by Gawad Geny Lopez Bayaning Pilipino in 2007, by the NEDA and UN volunteers programme in 2008, and by the ASEAN TAYO Awards in 2009. It also won for the Philippines the 2009 CNN Heroes where Kuya F! emerged as its “Hero of the Year.” Recently, he was awarded as one of The Outstanding Young Men at Malacanang December 13, 2010.
“When people regard me as a hero, I always tell them that they should look inside them too because I believe that there’s a hero inside every one of us and all we have to do is just to open our eyes wide and feel what’s going on, then let our hearts be willing to accommodate the needy, the desperate and the hopeless simply by extending our hand to them, and there you will unfold the hero that is in you.”