Ching's Champions, presented by Kroger

On Oct. 14, Dynamo Charities held a special presentation at Kroger on North Shepherd where Brian Ching announced the 2014 Ching’s Champions. These 5 Houstonians whose passion and commitment have impacted the community and lives of those around them were recognized and awarded medals. However, their impact on the community continued even while they were being honored when they were each awarded a 250 second shopping spree thanks to the generous support from Kroger and used it to benefit the organizations they support. Read more about these special individuals and how you can support their organizations and initiatives.

Evan Berlin co-founded The Constellation Foundation in 2011 with the mission to improve the outcomes of aged-out foster care youth in the State of Texas by helping them develop a sustainable network of peers and mentors. Since its founding, Constellation has served more than 250 youth across the State and all involved have made many great memories with the youth it serves and the partners with which we work. Evan is very passionate about foster youth advocacy, and in his spare time enjoys playing with his dogs and biking Buffalo Bayou.

Carolyn Boardman's family life was turned upside down when her then 11 year old son Matthew was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes 2 years ago. Like most families, the diagnosis was totally unexpected and she knew nothing about this life changing autoimmune disease, for which there is no prevention and no cure. She was introduced to JDRF during her son's hospital admission and has actively fundraised for them the past 2 years by forming a walk team Matt's Mates. She is also part of the Type One Family Network group of parents, who offer each other support and most importantly support to newly diagnosed families. Her biggest challenge is raising awareness of what the signs and symptoms are of undiagnosed T1D. The rest of her free time is spent volunteering between her two children's schools, JDRF & managing T1D which is a 24/7 job. 

Marilu Flores, Community Relations Specialist for AAMA-Sanchez Charter School, a school for at risk youth, mentors students and develops their unique potential to impact their community. Marilu serves on the leadership team of Elevare International, another Houston based non-profit, collaborating with schools and other humanitarian groups aiding the homeless, providing care packages to children in shelters and travelling internationally with Elevare providing humanitarian aid to underprivileged kids. 

Emily Schaffhausen, first and foremost, is a mother to two beautiful children, Mathias, 9 and Parker, 6.  When Parker was born with a severe Congenital Heart Defect, Emily watched her go through three open heart surgeries over a 3 ½ year period. Emily found a whole new world of other parents and families with the same trials and tribulations, heartache and joy. Through the organization Mended Little Hearts, Emily now has the chance to give back to the community some of what helped me in those difficult times. Mended Little Hearts is a non-profit, volunteer-based organization providing hope, help and healing to heart patients and their families since 1951. Through its volunteers, the group is able to share experiences, resources, education, and compassion, as members of a nationwide peer-to-peer support network.  When not working, Emily’s greatest joy is watching Mathias on the soccer field, Parker horseback riding, boy and girl scouts, or camping on the Frio River. When she gets a chance, she enjoys time spent with friends and family, cooking gourmet dishes, music concerts, and digging in the dirt in her garden.

Juan Antonio Sorto is a Ph.D. student of the Urban Planning and Environmental Policy Department at Texas Southern University. Every week for the past eight years, Juan has donated his time to the Star of Hope Women and Family Shelter, where he currently serves breakfast, lunch, or dinner. He also takes time to volunteer at various shelters when he is out of town. As of October 2014, he has volunteered or served meals at 14 cities throughout the United States, Canada, and parts of Europe. He also takes time to volunteer and serve as a mentor to several 2nd and 9th grade students in the Houston Area. He also spends his time assisting various neighborhoods throughout the area on community cleanup projects. Additionally, he collects Christmas toys and distributes them to children in his native country of El Salvador.  

Meet last year's winners!

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