A Filipino educator from Cavite, Efren PeÃ±aflorida was named CNN Hero of the Year 2009 in a gala event last November 21 held at Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, California.
He got the most number of votes from more than 2.75 million votes that were cast and bested nine other CNN heroes — Brad Blauser, Roy Foster, Doc Hendley, Andrea Ivory, Betty Makoni, Jorge Munoz, Budi Soehardi, Derrick Tabb, and Jordan Thomas. Efren and his group “Dynamic Teen Company” brought education to poor Filipino children through their “Kariton Klassroom” program, which is a mobile classroom that brings around all their teaching materials to the different areas.
Efren also received $100,000 for his foundation (on top of the $25,000 he got being one of the top 10 CNN Heroes) and a trophy from CNN. “Each person has a hidden hero within, you just have to look inside you and search it in your heart, and be the hero to the next one in need.” he said.