No one is normal.

Ebony Watkins Feature Profile

The problem is, she’s not normal. She’s outstanding. She’s strong and intelligent and caring and has overcome experiences in her life that most of her peers–thankfully–will never have to face. Her history, her abilities, and her grit have shaped her into a person that others will always treat as special, because she is, well…special.

Stacey Walker Man in the Gap

I always try to give everyone the benefit of the doubt so that I can make a fair assessment of them. And I think that if you can’t get to that point as an adult, you will be seriously handicapped in whatever you’re trying to accomplish, because good people come in all shapes, forms, and sizes, but so do bad people. And sometimes you just gotta do the hard work and sit down and get to know a person before you can find out who’s who in this world.


A new video from Corridor Characters, produced by Flow Media. Take a walk with us through Cedar Rapids’ “ghetto” and see what life is really…

Elwie Apor Harris Feature Profile

Like many places in the Philippines, powerful storms and flooding were a frequent problem. “I remember the lights would go off,” Elwie explains, “and we used to make shapes out of our hands with the candle light, and we would make our own little canoes and we’d canoe through the neighborhood. The water was only like a foot deep, but we were kids, so it seemed so high to us. So we would canoe through our village and get everyone smiling, waving at people and flinging the water. We made the best out of what we had.”

(Click below to read Elwie’s full story.)

Jacinto Catherine McAuley Center Feature Profile

When Jacinto was 12 years old, he left his parents and siblings in Guatemala and set out on a journey to Iowa. He came to the very heart of the nation which had devastated his own for decades. The nation that funded the killing of his uncle and thousands of others was the same that provided him with a new future.

Erick Catherine McAuley Center Snapshot

The Rwandan genocide was a hundred-day killing spree that left somewhere between 500,000 to 1 million people dead. Ten-year old Erick survived, with machete scars on his neck to remind him of all the family and friends he lost. He walked seven days with other refugees until he reached a protective camp across the border in Tanzania. He lived in the camp until he was 22 years old. Then he came to the U.S., and eventually Cedar Rapids, IA.

Sofia Mehaffey

“I decided I was going to be a different person. I was never going to lie again, never going to cheat, never going to put myself around people who were not good for me and were not going to help me out in life and were not about good things for their own lives. And once I made that change, that choice, I feel like things just sort of started clicking. And I’ve noticed throughout my life that the more I make those kind of choices, the more good things happen.”

Josh Booth

“As a kid I would look out my second-floor window, and I would see guys across the park shooting at each other. I remember times hearing stories of people dying. We would be in what they call the projects. That’s where we lived. And I would be walking, and my mom would say, ‘Hey, you smell that? That’s a dead body.’”

The Koepke Brothers Feature Profile

“When I hear him talk, I hear myself talking. I don’t care if it’s the golf course or the garden, we’re both dealing with children. What I love about it too is having people approach me in public and acknowledge that some of the same stuff I’m teaching in gardening is directly applicable to the content and life skill stuff he teaches and coaches.”

George Elossais – Iowa Big student EntreFEST Snapshot

“Right now I’m working on an urban farming project where we’re going to start using aquaponics to grow lettuce at New Bo. And then I’m also building an autonomous drone that visually tests for nitrogen on farm fields. And I’m also working with Shawn Cornally, the founder of Big, to develop our student information system that we call Barbeque.”

Ryan Pendell – Silicon Prairie News EntreFEST Snapshot

“Within my monastery experience, I had a deep, profound sense that I could go anywhere and do anything and everything was going to be okay. Just this really deep sense that everything’s going to be okay. And I think that, in terms of trying to search for a career, or meaning, or what am I supposed to do with my life, that was kind of the culmination of that. So, once I let go of trying to figure out what I was supposed to do with my life, that was kind of when I figured it out.”

Simeon Talley – Guns X Butter EntreFEST Preview Snapshot

“After I finished school at Iowa I thought, Oh, you have to go elsewhere, you know? I should move to Denver or Chicago or further west. Cool, creative cities where real opportunities exist. But at some point it just clicked that you don’t have to go elsewhere to do something cool. People are doing really amazing things here, and I wanted to be one of them.”

Winston Jimenez – Community Financial Access EntreFEST Preview Snapshot

“Independent of nationality, socio-economic status or religious preference, most of us seem to share a fundamental understanding that we are part of a bigger story. Most of us understand that we are but a single piece of a 7 billion pieces puzzle. But we are a very important piece, as without any one of us the puzzle will not be completed. To the puzzle maker, each piece is important and each piece matters.”

Doctor Terry Wahls EntreFEST Preview

“The first time I sent my grants off to the M.S. Society, the critique came back and said, basically, ‘Wahls is full of shit. She clearly does not understand the pathophysiology of M.S.’ And that’s because my explanations are so radical: that we create an inflamed, disease-prone body by our diet and lifestyle. But now I have the preliminary data that shows the best reduction in fatigue ever reported. Now it becomes very hard for them to say I’m full of shit. Now it’s like, ‘Well, very impressive preliminary data. Please make these changes and resubmit.’ So, in five years I’ve gone from being an idiot to maybe being an idiot savant.”

David Gott (David’s Famous Gourmet Frozen Custard) EntreFEST Preview Snapshot

“My second son was in Afghanistan. Before he went he was stationed in Savannah, Georgia, and he loved it there. We talked about when we get this thing going, he’d open a shop downtown in Savannah for the tourists and call on grocery stores in the Southeast. He called me two years ago on my birthday, and wanted to know if I’d keep his dogs because he was going to Savannah to find a place to live. He was in Fairbanks, Alaska. And four days later he died. Undiagnosed severe coronary artery disease. Twenty-six years old. So I decided I had to get this thing going. I took something I knew I would do someday and turned it into something that we’re going to do now. So that’s why we’re here.”

Kayley (and Henry)

“And when I’m stressed out or if I cry, he will seriously like get up on my chest and lick my tears. It’s so precious. He is just the most loving little thing, and he is so funny. He does the weirdest stuff. It’s never a dull moment with this one.”

Mike and Cindy

What were some of the things you saw when you were traveling the world, Mike?

“Hookers! No, mainly I went to the orient because I was always afraid. I wanted to learn to fight.”


“I had a friend of mine, an acquaintance, you know. Somebody we’d just hang out with, sit around the bonfire. Yeah, it was about two years ago, and his son came in, and said, ‘This is for _____ ,’ and to this day we’ll run into each other at my other job, and he goes, ‘You probably don’t remember me,’ and I’m like, ‘No, I remember you. I don’t usually remember everybody, but I remember you.’ And I got to connect with his family that way, which wasn’t very much fun, but at least I got to meet his family then.”

Emily Carlson – Peplum & Paisley Sponsored Snapshot

“Fashion has always been my passion. Even growing up, when I was a little girl, the paper dolls with the little tabs that you punched out, I loved doing those. I was always drawing little dresses. Of course, growing up in the eighties all the sleeves were very poofy, so I was always drawing dresses with these poofy sleeves and things like that!”

Imam Hassan Selim Life After Revolution

“You are so tired. You’ve been awake for days. And you want to sleep, but you can’t sleep because if you sleep they might come and kill everyone. And you just can’t sleep. And there’s nothing to do. You can’t do anything.” (Click title or image to read full story.)


“I’ve played two parts that had to do with clowns. One was for children’s theater, Dodo the Clown. The other was Feste, the court jester in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night.”


“I’m in a band, Live Broadcast. The album we’re working on right now  is called Misfits. It’s kind of a story concept album that originated five years ago, and over the course of writing it, refining it, it’s developed a lot. Now it’s kind of in the final stages of getting the orchestral elements put in and getting it mixed. We’re talking to an artist from Ohio right now to do the cover art. All the final things are coming together. We hope to release it this summer.”


“My five year just told told me the other day, ‘Mom, I think I’m the smartest kid in my school.’ I said, ‘You’re in kindergarten. You’re not smarter than the fifth-graders.’ And he goes, ‘Well, I’m at least the smartest kindergartner.'”


“I just got to do the Glass Menagerie at the Giving Tree Theater, and that was a dream role for me, and also a very lovely…sometimes it comes down to the people in it more so than the show, because they make such a difference.”