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The Ad Council Award Dinner 2019
Learn With Us > AdLibbing Articles > Good in Action

People Power: The True Stories Behind Our PSAs

Every year, we recognize the industries and individuals who support the Ad Council and our public service campaigns at our Annual Public Service Award Dinner, but we also highlight the everyday individuals who have been impacted by the work that we do – putting a human face to the pressing issues we work to solve and providing inspiration to change-makers everywhere.

Through cinematic storytelling, Adobe and Electric Park Films, created four videos showing inspiring individuals from our campaigns who overcame struggles and immense heartache to become the best versions of themselves and help others.

To see their uplifting stories, check out the videos below, and have some tissues ready!

Carissa Anderson

Carissa Anderson | High School Equivalency | Ad Council

Carissa grew up in Grand Rapids, Michigan. When she was outed by a former girlfriend, Carissa felt unaccepted and ostracized, and she eventually left her high school. She met her mentor Maria, who encouraged her to complete her high school diploma to set an example for her son. After receiving her diploma and associate degree, Carissa was accepted to California State University in Northridge, where she will pursue her dream of becoming a counselor or social worker. As an ambassador for the Ad Council’s High School Equivalency campaign, Carissa’s story is a reminder that “No One Gets a Diploma Alone.”

Richard Barry & Carlos Soto

Richard Barry & Carlos Soto | Love Has No Labels | Ad Council

Rich, a retired orthopedic surgeon, became a search-and-rescue volunteer to give back to his community. His first assignment was the Camp Fire in Paradise, California, where he met fellow volunteer and former sheet metal worker Carlos. Although the two men came from different backgrounds, their long days searching for survivors amongst the devastation bonded them for life. As representatives of the Love Has No Labels campaign, Rich and Carlos asked, “Why does it take a disaster to bring us together?”

The Lin Family

The Lin Family | Autism Awareness | Ad Council

When Bridget was a toddler, her mother noticed that she often “put her fingers in her ears” - a sign of sensory sensitivity. An evaluation led to an autism diagnosis when Bridget was just three years old. Now eleven years old, Bridget enjoys math and playing games with her sister. She has made tremendous progress in speech therapy and loves to sing. Larry and Phoebe are thankful they received Bridget’s autism diagnosis early on, as it opened up a world of possibilities for their daughter.

Kailee McFerran

Kailee was mercilessly bullied by her peers at school and at home. Her friend Danny noticed her pain and reached out to comfort her. Kailee’s triumph over cruelty was recently featured in the Ad Council’s Because of You campaign, reminding teens that “everything you say and do creates an impact.”


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