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Laguna Beach

 Volume 12, Issue 42  |  May 26, 2020

Laguna Beach celebrates its heroes at 2019 Laguna Hero Fest

Laguna Beach locals gathered this month for the annual Laguna Hero Fest, presented by The MY HERO Project. The event, which is celebrating its 12th year, honors heroes who have made their positive mark on our community. This year’s Hero Fest took place November 16 at the Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach.

There was something for everyone – art activities for the kids, Laughter Yoga for everyone, a dance performance that had all ages kicking up their heels, and screenings of engaging, family-friendly short films. 

Former MY HERO Emerging Artist Trey Carlisle, along with other Soka University students, demonstrated Hip Hop dance moves and choreographed a dance that got the audience on their feet. Victoria Murphy, Director of the MY HERO Gallery, helped local students with an art project – crafting statues of birds, similar to the statues awarded by the film festival each year. 

What If, a documentary directed by Noah Berlow, presented Illumination Foundation’s creative housing solutions for Orange County’s homeless population. Laguna Beach teen Whitney Winefordner sang her original song “My Blue Heart,” which she dedicated to oceanographer Sylvia Earle. She concluded her performance with her rendition of “What a Wonderful World It Would Be”

Laguna Beach Marc

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Filmmaker Marc Ostrick and family

Filmmaker Marc Ostrick shared Made in Madras, a touching film about a teenage girl who is training to become a professional soccer player, while living on the streets of a poor community in India. The film was made during MY HERO’s Global Exchange in India – a program funded by the nonprofit Video Volunteers and a grant from the U.S. Department of State. 

Ostrick was the lead mentor for the project in which graduate-level filmmakers created hero-themed films. Made in Madras was chosen as the People’s Choice Award winner of the 2019 MY HERO International Film Festival. Also, at the Hero Fest, Ostrick was revealed as this year’s recipient of MY HERO’s Media Arts Educator Award.

Pam Estes, Chief Executive Officer for the Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach, was named Community Hero of 2019 for her ongoing support of local youth. Since joining the organization in 2001, the Boys & Girls Club has grown from serving 850 local kids to more than 4,000. 

Sponsors for the event included the City of Laguna Beach, Stu News Laguna, KX 93.5, and the FOA Foundation.

The MY HERO Project is a Laguna Beach-based organization with a mission to celebrate heroes from all walks of life. For more information about the Laguna Hero Fest, visit To learn learn more about hosting a hero fest in your city, email Jeanne Meyers at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

To watch highlights from the 2019 Hero Fest, click here.


Shaena Stabler is the Owner, Publisher & Editor.

Dianne Russell is our Associate Editor & Writer.

Michael Sterling is our Webmaster & Designer.

Mary Hurlbut is our Chief Photographer.

Alexis Amaradio, Barbara Diamond, Dennis McTighe, Diane Armitage, Marrie Stone, Maggi Henrikson, Samantha Washer, and Suzie Harrison are our writers and/or columnists. Scott Brashier is our photographer.

Stacia Stabler is our Social Media Manager & Writer.

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