Denise Estelle

City, State: Los Angeles, CA
Occupation: Founder and CEO, Estelle For Humanity

Three words come to mind when referring to Denise Estelle; altruistic, humanitarian and public-spirited! Ms. Estelle is the Founder and CEO of Estelle For Humanity, a 501c3 organization, who’s motto is “Assist, Honor & Inspire”!

The talented Ms. Estelle has her “beautifully manicured” hands in almost everything, from founding the Wooli Me, Natural Hair Expo to being the 2005 MLK Day Parade’s 3rd Division Marshall, to being the 2009 Queen of the Kwanzaa Parade. In 2001 Ms. Estelle put together “Senior Circuit” which provides transportation services to seniors. Realizing that taxis and even the less expensive Uber fees might still be a strain on a senior’s budget, (not to mention bus scheduling can be unpredictable), she felt compelled to help. Additionally, Ms. Estelle arranges to get books from the library to seniors, thus catering to a community who are still into “hard copy books”. Equally important, is her annual Father’s Day award gala, “Honor Thy Fathers”. A “labor of love”, (for seventeen years), Ms. Estelle’s organization continues to recognize and honor all the unsung Fathers, male mentors and role models in the community, sometimes with her own personal funds. Estelle For Humanity made history three years in a row by acknowledging the HTF Honorees at the Staples Center in Los Angeles in front of thousands.

Rev. Eddie Jones Jr.

City, State: Los Angeles, CA
Occupation: President, Los Angeles Civil Rights Assn. / Church Pastor

Multi-faceted Minister comes to mind in describing Pastor Eddie Jones, Jr. This God inspired man gives himself ten-fold. An exemplary father, grandfather, friend and community leader, Jones attributes this to the “Holy Spirit”. In addition to being a pastor and mentor in his church, Eddie also has been president of the Los Angeles Civil Rights Association for ten years.

Jones, an ordained minister became a Chaplin and provided services to patients at Martin Luther King Hospital, Centinela Hospital, and Kaiser Permanente Hospital.

His walk down the path of civil rights has led him to work with a variety of leaders such as Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, Dick Gregory, Congress woman Maxine Waters, Dr. Earl Ofari Hutchinson and a host of other prominent government officials and civil rights leaders. Because of his conviction to justice and equality, he has worked on a variety of high profile Los Angeles cases, including the wrongful death cases of Tyiesha Miller, Devin Brown, and Woodrow Player, Jr., some of which involved “cover-up” investigations.

In collaboration with Councilman Herb Wesson, he was instrumental in getting a street light erected on Rodeo near the Dorsey High School, after nine year old Demaria Grant was killed by a hit-and-run driver at that location. Known for his big heart and love of children, he routinely takes kids from the inner-city to Clippers games and other events.

Jones’ Mantra is “We Stand Up For Something Or We Fall For Anything”

Reginald Berry

City, State: Los Angeles, CA
Occupation: Former NFL Player/Mentor/Founder/Goals For Life

Former San Diego Charger and Cal State University Long Beach graduate, Reggie Berry started his organization “Goals For Life”, a non-profit organization back in 1989. Though interestingly enough, Berry originally began his post-athletic career teaching migrant students before creating Goals For Life

After retiring from an NFL career, and settling back into every-day life, he noticed something was missing for many disadvantaged youths in inner-city communities. Namely positive role models. According to Berry, “Many of these kids have never had strong role models”. We can offer them a mentor. We knew that just to go to a school to speak at an assembly and then leave wasn’t going to achieve any long-term results. It’s the reason he created the Goals For Life Foundation. GFL helps mentor at risk youth by sending former NFL players into schools to teach them about how to succeed and reach their goals.

Notably, Berry also spent four years on the board of directors for the NFL Players Association. His achievements include receiving the National Freedom Award in 1998 and the Unsung Athlete Award in 2011 from the Black Academy of Arts & Letters at the Super Bowl.

Today as director of Goals for Life, he helps students in Los Angeles area schools to establish positive directions in their lives, with the aim of keeping them off drugs and free from crime. The program has been such a success in Los Angeles, Berry feels it will soon be time to branch out into other cities and states.

Juliano Jarquin

City, State: Los Angeles, CA
Occupation: Behaviorist, Grant Writer, Mentor, Teacher, Shaman & Home Boy With A Lot Of Letters Behind His Name

Community mentor at large best tags Juliano Jarquin, MHR, SPHR. Juliano, a native Angelino is all about culture, diversity and growth. He has previously taught at the University of Michigan and the University of Texas. With several irons in the fire, he hardly ever sleeps. In 2002 he founded The Human Element, now known as “THE (Human Element) PASSAGE”. Jarquin, a philosopher and a behavioral counselor, blends his skill set of psychology services, personal development, spirituality, and tribal indigenous practices to mentor people from the community, in a truly unique way.

As a young guy, he was greatly influenced by street dancing and old school rap. He loved it so much that he became part of a crew known who eventually became “The LA Breakers”. Juliano’s crew was also part of the open ceremonies of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. To this day Juliano still has a deep connection with the culture, and the importance of artistic expression for education where he provides programs and services on advancing who you are and what you are rather than providing cookie cut class that are less impactful.

Remember we said “Never Sleeps”?? When Juliano is not involved in his mentoring sessions, Juliano, (also an accomplished Djembe drummer) facilitates and participates in drum circles throughout California. A champion for positive personal change, Juliano’s mantra is “Yes We Can – Si Se Puede”.

Coach Ron Crockett

City, State: Los Angeles, CA
Occupation: Public Servant & Skid Row Advocate

In Los Angeles’ downtown Skid Row district, actions speak louder than words.  When popularizing the phrase in 1856, one might think Abraham Lincoln had a time traveling “ forward-to-the-future” trek which led him to the one and only Coach Ron Crockett’s doorstep. “Coach” as everyone calls him is a total man of actions when it comes to helping the Skid Row community.

Crockett, who has a Bachelor’s in Business Admin, is dedicated to helping the homeless at large. This Sentinel of Skid Row, focuses on some of the most vulnerable; homeless Children & homeless Vets. In 2008 he founded the Fun Zone Reading Club 4 Homeless Kids. He and staff provide donated books to homeless children. Being homeless is bad enough, but for a homeless child trying to attend school, it can be a nightmare! These donated books are a blessing, in that they help nurture homeless children. In addition, Coach Ron also founded Grooming 4 Success, a program which enables homeless vets to get free haircuts and grooming assistance.

But wait, there’s more.   Coach supports Skid Row’s Gladys Park activities, helping making this park (which is actually LOCATED in Skid Row), a relaxing, fun and productive place where homeless folks can go. Not busy this Saturday morning? Just go down to the park at 808 6th Street & Gladys and help water Coach’s newly planted trees!

Nason Buchanan

City, State: Los Angeles, CA
Occupation: Mayor’s Office of Public Safety & Community Relations Specialist.

Born on the Southside of Chicago and raised in Gary, Indiana, Nason Buchanan received his business degree at Kentucky State University. He is also a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Incorporated.

Since early 2011 Buchanan has worked with the Los Angeles Mayor’s Office of Gang Reduction and Youth Development (GRYD). The GRYD Program is a comprehensive gang reduction program and aims to effectively reduce gang crime and violence in specific geographic areas (GRYD Zones). Buchanan has spearheaded, developed, and executed multiple programs that have contributed to the success of the GRYD office as well. He’s also co-leading the city’s President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative while also increasing organizations’ partnerships and alliances citywide.

Buchanan’s local, national, international accomplishments and leadership through the Los Angeles Mayor’s Office empower him to further develop and hone his skills and expertise. He is also the founder of DMTL nonprofit organization, which bears the initials of family he lost to tragedy in 2002.

In 2017 Buchanan completed the Justice Policy Network, Criminal Justice Reform Fellowship. This experience combined with his other activism and leadership has landed him the opportunity to connect and build alliances with future leaders citywide striving to improve the criminal justice system.

Mia Torres

City, State: Los Angeles, CA
Occupation: Teen Advocate & Champion Of Homeless Women

“Teen Angel” best describes young Mia Torres, a 9th grade student at Bravo Medical Magnet High School. Not only does she excel in her academic studies, she’s quite an athlete as well. Noted for always giving back to her classmates and community, this young girl was compelled to do something for the most vulnerable of the homeless population. Namely, the “female homeless”. While being homeless in general presents a wide variety of issues and needs, being a homeless female presents an increased set of challenges altogether. And that’s where Mia comes in. As a young lady coming of age, she knows all of the additional necessities we gals need. Mia, (who created her program through a community project), assembles female personal health & toiletry kits. She distributes these kits to women in various homeless encampments throughout Los Angeles. Hence, one can only imagine the ”towering” impact her endeavors have had. She is making “female” homelessness a slightly better place to exist for an unfortunate sector of our community. Mia is a true leader, whereas she leads by example! Not to mention being blessed and encouraged by her super-supportive mom, Mrs. Torres! Mia’s selfless efforts prove that you are never too young to make a difference. Right On Mia!

Troy Druppal

2018 DangerMan Hero of the Year

City, State: Los Angeles, CA
Occupation:Survivor, Advocate & Founder: Flex Foundation

At the tender age of 14, when most teenagers are starting to come of age, Troy Druppal was told he had bone cancer. The excitement of starting high school as a freshman was sadly dashed when he was diagnosed with Osteoarcoma and would have to have bone replacement in his left arm and a six month round of chemo. All seemed to go well at first and Troy and his family celebrated success.

But fate reared its ugly head again and again and again. Eventually Troy had his left arm amputated. Then later, aggressive forms of trachea cancer, lung cancer, and tumors in the back of his head were discovered. Doctors also told him, he would eventually lose his sight, hearing, experience systematic organ failure and if left untreated, a six month death sentence.

However, Troy was not having it! Declining any further chemo and other cancer treatments he looked death square in the face and just said NO!

It’s been over 13 years now and he just keeps on keeping on. Quips Troy, “I have not had any more treatments, and my tumors are still there. Some things you just can’t explain. You just have to believe, have faith, and hope”. And he has done just that! Tory inspires by strength and example. Not only is he quite a basketball hoopster himself, he also coaches AAU sixth grade basketball for the East Bay Bulldogs out in Pleasanton California. Through his organization
Flex Foundation;“Inspire By Strength”, he continues to inspire others to continue fighting against all odds. In conclusion, Troy has created a new adage, “SURVIVE & CONQUER”!