Who is an icon next door?

While we typically think of celebrities or those in the limelight when “icon” comes to mind, there are plenty of iconic figures all around us that contribute positively to the community every single day.

In this post, we would like to spotlight a couple of icons next door: two of our speakers, and one local Orange County group, Team Kids.

Erin Gruwell: A teacher that fostered a movement.

The first icon next door (and TEDxChapmanU speaker) we’d like to feature is Erin Gruwell, the visionary that began the Freedom Writers Diary movement. Little did she know when she walked into her first classroom that she would be faced with the hardships and harsh realites of the lives of her students and would go on to create the Freedom Writers Foundation.

Ms. Gruwell was just a normal person who saw an opportunity to take action that could potentially better her students’ lives. All of us at TEDxChapmanU look up to Ms. Gruwell for all that she has done and all that she continues to do, and we can safely say she embodies all of the characteristics of an icon.

Shelene Bryan: An icon next door inspiring icons next door.

Shelene Bryan is the second icon next door (and TEDxChapmanU speaker) we’d like to feature. Ms. Bryan founded Skip1.org on the belief that average Americans, not just the wealthy, can help change the world just by skipping one small thing (like a Starbucks coffee), and donating the money instead.

Ms. Bryan exemplifies the definition of an icon next door because she recognized a need that wasn’t being met, and has since dedicated her life to fulfilling it.

Team Kids: Raising icons next door.

Team Kids strives to inspire and empower young people to become resilient and responsible citizens with a passion for community service. Since 2001, the kids that make up the organization have contributed over $200,000 to local youth charities.

These kids demonstrate to a tee the meaning of “icon next door” and should all be applauded for becoming great role models for Orange County youth.

Do you know any icons next door? Share your thoughts below.