Upstanders, A Starbucks Original Series: Stories of extraordinary courage in unexpected places

This second season of Upstanders is a collection of short stories that asks what it means to have courage in today’s America.

In these stories, we visit ordinary people doing extraordinary things – changing lives and communities, and reminding us that we all have the power to make a difference. Upstanders is a tribute to the ordinary people who make a remarkable difference in big cities and small towns across the country. Read, watch – and be inspired.

Knives, Fire and Opportunity

A chef bets his career on a restaurant run by former juvenile delinquents. Chad Houser quit his job as the executive chef at a hot Dallas eatery and risked his career to open a restaurant staffed almost exclusively by former juvenile detention inmates.

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The Wave to Recovery

Two Navy SEALs help wounded warriors regain strength and confidence through surfing.  Navy SEALs Alex West and Kyle Buckett spend their nights and weekends designing specialized surfboards for wounded warriors, helping them find strength and confidence in the waves. 

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From War to Montana 

A mother rallies neighbors and quells critics to make her city a home for refugees. Mary Poole, a mother with no background in foreign policy, convinced her community to welcome refugees by harnessing hundreds of volunteers and embracing her opponents.  

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Befriending Her Shooter

After taking a bullet in the face, a woman forgives her assailant and fights to free him. Ian Manuel was just 13 when he shot Debbie Baigrie. A year into his life sentence, he called her to apologize. That eventually led to her forgiveness, an unlikely friendship and a mission to help free him.    

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Planting Hope in a Coalfield

An entrepreneur mines talent to rebuild the economy in Appalachia. Entrepreneur Brandon Dennison decided to address poverty in his native West Virginia by extending a hand of opportunity to former coal miners.

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A Racist’s Rehabilitation

An awkward call on national television yields a changed life and a remarkable friendship. When Garry Civitello admitted he was prejudiced on national television, a black woman offered him advice to become a better American. The exchange transformed his life and forged a remarkable friendship.

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One Doctor’s Needle Fix

A tenacious young physician hands out clean needles to drug users. Hansel Tookes spent four years on a life-saving mission to convince Florida legislators to allow drug users in Miami to exchange dirty needles for clean ones.

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Love for All in Utah

A LGBT community center in the Mormon heartland becomes a beacon of acceptance. Stephenie Larsen forged past fear and skepticism to create the first LGBT community center in Provo, Utah, in an attempt to reduce suicides among gay teens and build bridges with the Mormon Church.

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Saving Middletown

A woman drains her retirement fund to rebuild her struggling Rust Belt hometown. Ami Vitori gave up a successful big-city career and tapped her retirement fund to help rebuild the struggling Rust Belt community of Middletown, Ohio. 

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The Firefighters’ Rescuer

A first responder bares his secrets to help others combat post-traumatic stress. Seattle firefighter Mike Washington told colleagues about some of his most painful and personal moments to encourage them to seek help and draw more attention to stress among our nation’s first responders. 

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The Disappearing Island

A former GOP congressman sounds an alarm on climate change among members of his party. Former South Carolina Republican congressman Bob Inglis, who once scoffed at climate change, overcame a humiliating defeat by deciding to take on skeptics within his party.

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