By Tim Jimenez

Every week, the White House honors community leaders as “Champions of Change” for their service. This week’s theme was “Following in the footsteps of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.” Out of the eight honorees, three were local residents.

Todd Bernstein founded Philadelphia’s MLK Day of Service in 1996, and it’s still the largest in the country. He says he wanted to redefine the holiday. (see Pat Ciarrocchi’s story about Todd)

“For millions, particularly young people, it was just becoming a day of checking out. Sleeping late, going to the mall, watching a lot of TV.”

Working with him is Rachel Turner, a Temple graduate who says she was inspired after being robbed by teens near campus.

“We need to stand up, we need to come together and work together to help these young people realize just sort of the mountains of potential that they have.”

And David Brown, a Turnersville resident, healthcare executive, pastor and GM of Pennsylvania’s only black-owned radio station. He says he wanted to give voice to the voiceless.

“No voice is distinctive until it’s heard. And I think that somehow we have to find ways to get those voices that aren’t heard, out.”

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