Show Me a Hero: idols, influencers and activists

In the age of #instafame, a star is born online every minute. Viral videos and hashtag campaigns have the potential to reach and influence millions of kids across the world — but what is the message? Here we examine the ethos, methods, craft, and the business behind a few online phenoms who are using their platforms for social activism, inspiration, and positive change.

Debbie Gordon

Director, kidsmediacentre
Debbie Gordon is the Director of the kidsmediacentre at Centennial College’s School of Communications, Arts, Media and Design. The kidsmediacentre functions as a think tank and research centre serving the children’s creative industry in Canada. Gordon oversees a myriad of research projects for the centre including user testing, exploring kids’ media futures, and applied research. Since its inception in 2010, the kidsmediacentre has funded more than 25 children’s properties and managed research for Nick Jr, YTV, Treehouse, TVOKids, CBC Kids, eOne Entertainment, Spin Master, 9Story, NDI Media, Breakthrough Entertainment and more.

Brad Montague

Writer, Director, Kid President
Brad Montague is an award-winning writer and director. He is the creator of Kid President, which has grown into an internet sensation, New York Times bestselling book, television series, and movement for good around the world. He is also the force behind "Socktober," an annual drive to connect communities to their local homeless shelters. Montague was nominated for an NAACP Image Award for his work on bringing positivity and diversity to children’s media. He and his wife operate a creative studio dedicated to projects that inspire and encourage

Joshua Williams

Founder, Joshua's Heart Foundation
Joshua Williams is not your typical 15-year-old. He is the founder, president, and Chief changemaker of Joshua’s Heart Foundation, a non-for-profit organization dedicated to the fight against global hunger and poverty through the community service of young people.Williams is also a keynote speaker and sits on several national boards, travelling locally and internationally to create awareness about hunger and poverty, and to motivate others. These leadership opportunities have allowed Williams to partner with well-known brands that include Disney, Hasbro, Walgreens, Whole Foods Market, and Unilever.

Jonathan Davids

CEO, Influicity
Jonathan Davids is the CEO and Founder of Influicity. Prior to this, Jon founded, an online lifestyle magazine that grew to have a team of 30 writers and amassed 200,000 monthly readers. His second company, Livedress, allowed stylish brands to showcase their products through influencers. Davids quickly saw an opportunity in an industry that would accelerate quickly in the next decade. With offices in LA and Toronto, Influicity is trusted by dozens of the largest brands for their influencer operations.

Hannah Alper

Blogger, Activist
Hannah Alper is an eco-warrior, change-maker, and an activist. She launched her blog at age nine to share her growing knowledge and concern for the environment. Alper has found power in using her voice to inspire, motivate, and empower people of all ages to identify their passion and take action. She is a ME to WE Motivational Speaker and WE Ambassador. In 2014, Alper joined Spencer West as a feature speaker on the WE Create Change Tour travelling across Canada. She is a Huffington Post writer, and is one of the youngest people to ever be verified on Twitter. She has organized a Shoreline Cleanup in her community, became a World Wildlife Federation (WWF) Earth Hour Team Captain, and has been active in her school community on student council and clubs. In 2015, she launched #FeedTO, a day of distributing hot meals to the homeless on the streets of downtown Toronto. Alper lends her voice to organizations that she is passionate about and has acted as an Ambassador for the anti-bullying organization ByStander Revolution, and the Michael Pinball Clemons Foundation (MPCF). In her quest to be the change, Alper continues to demonstrate that when passion meets action, there is no such thing as "too young".