On a typically dark afternoon in January 2011, Tokyo-based fashion model Dean Newcombe returned home to visit his parents in Scotland and take a hard look at where his career was leading him.

"Models are compassionate people — we're humans too, you know!" the Englishman laughs as he recalls how he sat overlooking the North Sea, writing down the values that mattered to him most. On his list were staying fit, eating organically, protecting the environment and connecting with other people who felt the same way as he did. Without a single member except himself, he decided to establish a new movement, calling it Intrepid Model Adventures (IMA).

"I thought, how can I be the change I wanted to see in the world?" Newcombe, 29, explains. Weeks later, Japan's triple disaster happened. Newcombe watched aghast as the devastating tsunami swept away town after town along the Tohoku coast on March 11, 2011.