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2018 SXSW Community Heroes

The Forrest Four-Cast: October 4, 2017

In Austin in March, we celebrate the value of community via the SXSW Community Service Awards. Honorees for these awards for 2018 have now been announced. Individuals and organizations that are being recognized for their service to their particular communities include:

Chris Diaz: Helped form the Action Tank in 2016 with a group of post 9/11 veterans in an effort to improve the social conditions of their community by harnessing the experiences, skills, and relationships of service-minded citizens.

Catalina Escobar: Co-founder of MAKAIA, a not-for-profit organization that promotes capacities for social development through cooperation, technology and innovation.

Char Hu: Founder and CEO of The Helper Bees, a technology company in Austin which provides intelligent in-home, caregiver-to-senior matching.

James Jack: Co-founded human-I-T as a platform for putting donated technology into the hands of low-income households.

Linda Novick O’Keefe: Founding Chief Executive Officer of Common Threads, a rapidly growing company with the mission of preventing childhood obesity and reversing the trend of generations of non-cookers.

Celeste C. Smith: Chief Executive Officer for 1Hood Media, a collective of conscious Hip Hop artists and activists who utilize Hip Hop as a means of raising awareness around issues affecting oppressed people around the world.

Allies Against Slavery: Works to build Slave­ Free Cities, places where traffickers cannot exploit the vulnerable and where survivors have access to all they need to heal.

Creative Action: A nonprofit, arts-based, youth development organization that provides dynamic and engaging creative learning programs in the classroom, in after-school settings, and in the community.

Gamers Outreach: A 501(c)(3) charity organization that provides equipment, technology, and software to help kids cope with treatment inside hospitals.

Jeremiah Program (pictured above): Works to transform families from poverty to prosperity through career-track college education for parents, high quality early childhood education for children, as well as safe and affordable housing.

Kids In A New Groove (KING): Provides Texas youth in foster care with a committed one-on-one mentoring relationship through weekly, private music instruction, giving students the ability to build concrete strategies for life-long success.

Urban Roots: Uses food and farming to transform the lives of young people and inspire, engage, and nourish the community.

These individuals and organizations selected as SXSW Community Service Awards honorees will receive more than $50,000 in grants to help fund their continued good work.

Be sure to attend the SXSW Community Service Awards ceremony in March 2018 to meet these many inspiring individuals and organizations. This ceremony is always one of the most moving / emotionally-charged elements of the event. Stay tuned to this space for details on day, time and location.

The SXSW Community Service Awards ceremony is free and open to the public — you do not need to be a SXSW badge-holder to attend.

Finally, click here to read more about the leaders who were recognized as the SXSW Community Service Awards in March 2017.

Hugh Forrest serves as Chief Programming Officer at SXSW, the world’s most unique gathering of creative professionals. He also tries to write at least four paragraphs per day on Medium. These posts often cover tech-related trends; other times they focus on books, pop culture, sports and other current events.

Help SXSW help the Red Cross with Hurricane Harvey relief by donating here.

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Celebrating creativity at SXSW. Also, reading reading reading, the Boston Red Sox, good food, exercise when possible and sleep sleep sleep.

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