Voices of the Last Frontier performs its opening song, “I Got Rhythm,” before a supportive audience.
Our first story in the “Heroes Among Us” series features Voices of the Last Frontier, a choir using the power of music to awaken and connect memory for those affected by dementia.

Your friends at Pioneer continue blazing new trails in 2020, producing journalism that hits home and makes a difference.

In March, we begin a yearlong magazine/multimedia series focusing on community volunteers and difference-makers in the Northwest and West. We’re calling the series Heroes Among Us: Everyday Helpers Make a Difference.

Ruralite Heroes Among Us Series

The initiative follows in the footsteps of our highly successful 2019 series, The Changing Face of Rural Health Care. As with the healthcare series, Pioneer is receiving financial support from the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust in Vancouver, WA. The extra dollars will enable us to once again deliver meaningful on-the-ground storytelling zeroing in on heroes, helpers, and hope.

2020 Focus: Journalism to Inspire

Pioneer’s rural health care series last year focused on public service journalism. Our aim was to serve the common good and even save lives. In that vein, our raw and real how-to-get-help video from last July’s storytelling on the opioid crisis was the most shared thing we’ve ever done, suggesting it hit the mark and, yes, even saved lives.

This year, our focus swings from public service journalism to public inspiration journalism.

Not only do we want to share awesome stories of community difference-makers across the Northwest and West, we want to inspire readers to make their own difference.

As part of that aim, we’re asking readers to nominate an adult volunteer hero and student volunteer hero in their communities.

At the end of 2020, we will select one of each type of nominee to profile. On top of that, we will offer tangible rewards for service to community. The student hero will receive a $1,000 scholarship from Pioneer. The adult hero will receive a $500 gift card and $500 to donate to the charity of their choice.

The intent is to inspire and shine a light on what is right. We are making our own big investment in this effort, but will not be able to do it without your ideas and guidance. One thing we’ve learned from our first dip into yearlong storytelling is that the best ideas come from those who know best what is happening where they work and live.

If you have ideas, fire away!