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Kaera Watson

“Everything that I’ve gone through in life has made me who I am today.” Such a powerful statement from a strong woman who has gone through so much in life. See how Kaera Watson’s resilience has impacted her and created someone we are fortunate to have in our community.

If you or someone you know is a survivor of domestic violence or sexual assault, please contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline
1-800-799-7233 or through chat
You will be connected to local help.

In Rockford, contact
Rockford Sexual Assault Counseling, Inc.
Remedies Renewing Lives.
(815) 962-0871

Please consider supporting the creation of these videos for $1

Produced by Pablo Korona
Music: Zach Staas, Daniel Pingrey, and Jason Kaye

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Community Brother

You’d be forgiven if you thought Mustafa Abdall was just another middle school teacher. But, you’re wrong. This Lincoln Middle School teacher is someone who recognizes opportunities and makes them happen. In this episode, it was very difficult to capture the man who is everywhere. Perhaps it didn’t convey that fact well enough… However, I wanted to show someone who so loves his immigrant communities, that he actively creates programming to help. His heart is massive and works tirelessly to create a better Rockford.

If you enjoy these pieces, please consider supporting our production costs at our Patreon page:

Produced by Pablo Korona
Music: Zach Staas, Daniel Pingrey, and @Jason Kaye.

Thank you to Rockford Public Schools (RPS 205) and Lincoln Middle School for allowing us to film.

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Touching Soles

Marquez Beeks, Ay Quez, is compelled to give back. He said ever since he was young, he’s always given back. Marquez started Touching Soles Inc. as a way to get the attention of kids to pass on his message of choosing the right path when faced with adversity. Watch as we follow Marquez to Resa Middle School to give away some shoes, but capture the hearts of hundreds.

If you feel these are important stories that need to be told, please consider supporting us at

Produced by Pablo Korona

Second Camera: FlyGuy Films

Thank you to everyone at Champs Sports, and RPS 205

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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