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Love, Hope, and Borders

Jose Galarza is an undocumented immigrant.

See his story.

UPDATE: Jose had his visa interview, and was accepted. Jose is no longer an undocumented immigrant. We couldn’t be happier for our friend.

Produced by Pablo Korona

Music by Zach Staas, Daniel Pingrey, and Jason Kaye.

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Breakfast Girl from Parks and Rec – Kelly Steward

An old school friend messaged her and said “Is this you?” on the show Parks and Recreation — It was. Kelly Steward found out she was the “pretty brunette” on Ron Swanson’s wall. Find out more about how this happened and what she’s been up to since.

If you enjoy these stories, please support their production on our Patreon page. Support us for as little as $1 per video. If many people help, it lightens the load. Thank you!

Produced by Pablo Korona

Music: Zach Staas Production Audio, Daniel Pingrey, and Jason Kaye

Extra photography:
Drone shots by FlyGuy Films
Chief Blackhawk Photography: Eric Meli

Thank you to Taco Betty’s for allowing us on their roof to film, and extra special thanks to Miles Nielsen.

Kelly’s music projects include:
Kelly Steward (her music page)
Weep & Willow (Kelly and Miles)

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Mothering Through Tragedy

It wasn’t until her child was born, that Phyllis even considered her future. A high school dropout, she went back to school and was determined to create a better life for her child. Her life revolved around being a mother, unconditionally loving her child even through trying times. When her child came out as transgender, a new set of challenges presented themselves — including things she couldn’t control.

This story is a collaboration with the Rockford Register Star | See how LGBTQ teens, more specifically transgender teens, have been affected by Liam’s advocacy.

Phyllis is President of the PFLAG Rockford Chapter, please consider following the page to support their efforts.

If you wish for us to continue these stories, become a patron for $1 at our Patreon Page.


Produced by Pablo Korona

Music by Wavetop Productions — Zach Staas, Daniel Pingrey, and Jason Kaye.

Portrait photography by Carly Rice

Special thanks to Nick Stange for suggesting the story. Also thanks to Kendal Miller, Clark Kelly, Lenae Weichel, and Megan Hastings.

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One day, Darnel Royal’s co-worker handed him a pair of steel-toed work boots that he didn’t want anymore and told Darnel to make a post on his facebook to give ’em away. This pair was new, the co-worker just didn’t like how they fit. Darnel received 53 messages for these boots. Most were from people in the community needing steel-toed work boots to be able to start their employment. They couldn’t start their job because they steel-toed work boots, but they needed the job to be able to afford the boots in the first place. So, they remained unemployed.

Darnel knew he could help, and started #WorkbootMinistry

Please consider supporting us on our Patreon page.
We need your help to continue to tell stories.

Produced by Pablo Korona

Music: Wavetop Productions. (Zach Staas, Daniel Pingrey, and Jason Kaye.)

Special thanks to Kendal Miller, and Clark Kelly.

Woodward is a financial sponsor of Our City, Our Story.

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On Reinventing Herself, Carrie Johnson

Carrie Johnson lost passion for what she felt was her direction in life. Little did she know that a change lay ahead of her. With renewed purpose, Carrie sets about to help her community by helping transform the institution that had helped her reinvent herself.

Featured in this piece is FIGHT NIGHT hosted by exhibiting artist (and Golden Gloves boxer) Cheryl Pope. Fight Night featured sparring bouts from Patriots Boxing Club with spoken word intervals by Empower Too.

Produced by Pablo Korona Special Thanks to Cheryl Pope, John Tac Brantley, Kendal Miller, Lenae Weichel, Clark Kelly and the Rockford Art Museum.

Music: Wavetop Productions

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Breaking The Stigma

Vic Rivera is a staple in the B-Boy community. Recently his paths crossed with mental illness when his mother couldn’t sleep.
If you wish to help those who suffer from mental illness in the Rockford Illinois area, please contact NAMI Northern Illinois.
If you are having thoughts of suicide, please contact the national suicide prevention hotline: 1-800-273-8255
Produced by Pablo Korona
Special Thanks to: Kendal Miller
Music: The Latin Giants Of Jazz – Cuero Na’Ma, DJ Surmah – Toalla y Cafe, Brownout – Family Show
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Emily Hurd Christensen — The Norwegian

“I saw really clearly that life was very short, and this was it and I wanted to make a difference or do something with this very short time. This just felt like the right thing to do.”

The Norwegian restaurant is a place that came about by the sheer force of will to make a change in Emily Hurd Christensen’s life and a difference in the community.

Produced by Pablo Korona
Sourced Timelapse: Mark Christensen
Music: Zach Staas, Daniel Pingrey, and Jason Kaye of Wavetop Audio
Colorist: Daniel Skubal
Special thanks to Clark R. Kelly

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Our City, Our Story : Live – Happiness

The theme of this Our City, Our Story : LIVE storytelling night was “Happiness” and Megan Hastings chose to talk about how love brought her happiness. Megan, a self-proclaimed “play-it-safer” took a chance. She asked a question that changed her life.

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Ivy, the Dumpster Puppy

In 2014, Patrick Karceski found puppies that were thrown away in a dumpster. He brought them to Noah’s Ark Animal Sanctuary, Inc. Rockford IL and they rescued them. One of those puppies, Ivy, was adopted by Jennifer Walker, who brought her to training. At training, the trainer said that Ivy has the temperament to be a great therapy dog. She proudly helps out at OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center.

Ivy was thrown away, and now helps people who need help, brightening their day.

Special thank you to Patrick Karceski for providing photographs. Additional footage graciously provided by WIFR TV

Produced by Pablo Korona
Music by Zach Staas, Daniel Pingrey, and Jason Kaye of Mirari Productions