May 7, 2009, Grove of Anaheim
On May 7, Awards 38 Co-Hosts Sandra Hutchens, Orange County Sheriff-Coroner and Michael V. Drake, M.D., Chancellor, University of California, Irvine welcomed over 450 guests to an inspirational celebration that brought together outstanding community leaders who are dedicated to honoring the richness of Orange County’s diversity. Awards 38 recognized the human relations efforts of six seldom-recognized diverse leaders, three model community policing programs and three exemplary school programs that create safe, inclusive schools. Enhancing the celebration was a presentation by YouthSpeak contest winner, Victoria Yee and performances by Jodaiko of UC Irvine.
Announcing the 2009 Awards Recipients
Distinguished School Awards
Recognizing schools that have made an exceptional contribution to promoting, nurturing, protecting and/or cultivating a campus that is safe, welcoming and equitable.
Garden Grove Unified School District’s La Quinta High School’s BRIDGES Program has grown into a fully student-led program. Recognizing the need to collaborate with other groups on campus, the LQ students strategically involved groups such as the ASB, Kinwins, MeCHA, the DJ club and sports teams reps to participate in their campus wide “Mix It Up” event. The BRIDGES program at LQ continues to collaborate with ASB through their other events such as the “Day of Love.” The students are planning a retreat for other students groups on campus in which BRIDGES Program students will be the facilitators. Other initiatives include “Random Acts of Kindness Grams” and a campus-wide speaker symposium. All these efforts are contributing to the BRIDGES mission of justice, equality, inclusion and safety.
Located in Los Alamitos Unified School District, Laurel High School is a small school for at-risk students. The administration believes that students cannot succeed academically or personally without positive human relations. The school holds human relations retreats every six weeks to develop student leaders who can help to create a safe, calm campus that is free of hate and hurt. The school has been proactive in quickly mediating any individual issues that have arisen. All staff members have been trained in how to relate to hate and hate language on campus. As a result of these efforts there have been positive changes in both school policies and student growth.
Not only is Anaheim City School District Paul Revere Elementary School’s staff involved in developing relationships and providing resources to their parents, students and community organizations but they are also have responded to political climates that create fear and distrust in their community. Last year, Paul Revere’s administration, in response to an ICE raid that occurred in front of the school, organized community and parent forums on campus which resulted in the parents developing an action plan to counter the raids. This year, in partnership with OCCORD (Orange County Community Organized for Responsible Development), Paul Revere elementary hosted a 4 day leadership training that educated residents, parents and community leaders about Anaheim’s future economic development plans in and around the Platinum Triangle.
Community Leader Awards
Recognizing individuals or groups who have made extraordinary contributions to Orange County in the area of human or civil rights.
For the past nine years, Jesse Allen has been volunteering with Santa Ana’s Southwest Community Center, which provides food, clothing, shelter, guidance, health, and referral services to economically disadvantaged individuals and families. She now volunteers full-time – taking no pay- but handling all the paperwork, working on grants, doing client assessments and providing referrals to other agencies. Jessie is the go-to person for clients, staff and other volunteers!
The Community Health Enrichment Collaborative (CHEC) Health Committee is an all-volunteer faith based community group that works with the low-income community of San Juan Capistrano, educating them on available resources and empowering them to have a voice in their community. The groups’ current priorities are health, immigration, safety and affordable housing. Some of its initiatives included advocating for a health clinic, organizing a community health fair, organizing educational forums on immigration and maintaining the CHEC Family Resource Center.
Sukh Chugh, the founder of the entirely volunteer run organization, Be The Cause, has developed and led a community of individuals that create enriching opportunities of service since 2002. In the process, Be The Cause benefits the community at large and change its members’ own lives as well. Sukh is a modest and humble man, but with his leadership, Be The Cause now organizes regular community service projects, an annual Walk for Hope, an annual visit to a developing country, and many other projects.
Felicity Figueroa epitomizes what is needed in a volunteer community activist. Through her work with non-profits such as the Orange County Equality Coalition, the Irvine United Congregational Church‘s Advocates for Peace and Justice, and Women For: OC she has work helped improve and enrich the lives of others. Felicity’s efforts have helped educate community members on the importance of fighting for peace and equal rights for all, whether they be members of the GBLT community, Muslims or any other disenfranchised members of the community.
This unique volunteer has taken his deep belief in the importance of peace and conflict resolution and found way to link it to his philanthropic activities. Larry Kugelman has been an active and involved member of the Share Our Selves Board of Directors for 18 years. He serves on the Finance Committee, the Clinic Committee, and is also the Co-Chair of the Fund Development Committee. He has served as a member of the Board of Trustees of Witness for Peace and with is wife, Dulcie, is a founding member of the UCI Citizen Peace Building Program.
The Olive Tree Initiative is a group of UC Irvine students of diverse backgrounds and faiths came together to address the serious confrontation and conflict between some Muslim and Jewish students at the University. Their goal was to become a new voice on campus, one that could speak to the realities of life in Israel and Palestine. The group traveled to the Middle East last year and since then has maintained a full-schedule of speaking engagements. In April the Olive Tree Initiative will host a 3-day conference with student leaders from across the state to help other campuses achieve the goal of understanding through knowledge. Click here to see a video describing their work from the UC Irvine website.
Community Policing Awards
Recognizing exemplary community-oriented policing projects or initiatives.
The Anaheim Police Department has been committed to the success of the youth of its community for many years. The innovative Anaheim Family Justice Center was created to help youth live in safe, healthy environments. On site are police, legal aid, victim-witness, adult protective services, children and family services and financial aid. The Anaheim Police Activities League (APAL) provides quality programs to act risk students. Soon APAL will transition to Cops 4 Kids (C4K) and a mobile van will visit neighborhoods to promote a positive connection between youth and the police. In 2007, Anaheim Chief John Welter formed a Chief’s Advisory Board involving representatives from business, the school district, youth and community groups to develop a cohesive strategy to address problems on the city’s school campuses.
In response to domestic violence related homicides, the Irvine Police Department brought together a number of interested parties, including community groups and the DA’s office, to address the problem. The FVPP was created in 2008 to implement sustainable and proactive strategies to reduce the occurrence of family violence while increasing the rate of victim reporting. The Project used a number of strategies to educate the community as well as promoting healthy, respectful relationships. Since the FVPP’s inception there has been a sharp increase in the number of citizens calling to request assistance or guidance and police officer have been received training so they are able to provide an improved quality of service to victims of family violence.
For 30 years Santa Ana’s Townsend neighborhood has been notorious for crime involving drugs and gangs. Over the years, numerous efforts by the Santa Ana Police Department have brought short term relief but the problems remained. The Task Force brought together over 30 organizations and community groups to identify the problems and develop solutions. By bringing the Townsend community members together and involving them in addressing the problems a new spirit of community pride has developed. The crime rate has dropped, a community center has been implemented, a block party was held and the Task Force continues its work to make an event better community tomorrow.