2014 Community Spotlight Award Finalists Announced
Reception to be sponsored by Wells Fargo
LEAD San Diego has announced the everyday heroes who are finalists for this year’s Community Spotlight Award, to be presented at the 12th Annual Visionary Awards on Thursday, May 22 at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront. The finalists will be honored at a special VIP Community Spotlight Reception, sponsored by Wells Fargo, at the Visionary Awards, and one of the twelve finalists will be announced as the 2014 Community Spotlight Award recipient on the main stage at the event. The Visionary Awards, Southern California’s premier leadership recognition event, will also honor a number of individuals for their leadership and significant community impact.
The Community Spotlight Award finalists are all recipients of the monthly 10News LEADership Awards, which are presented in partnership with LEAD San Diego. The 10News LEADership Award recipients were nominated by community member for making our region a better place to live by standing up for those who need help, initiating or creating solutions for others, serving as role models or fulfilling local needs.
The 2014 Community Spotlight Award finalists are:
Rachel Ackerly, Cecily’s Closet
Rachel Ackerly – the mother of a child with special needs – founded a nonprofit organization, Cecily’s Closet, to spread hope, love and encouragement to children with special needs and their families. The organization provides three programs: 1) Sweet Dreams Room Makeovers – providing art, furniture and necessary equipment to transform children with special needs’ bedrooms into areas that will promote development and comfort; 2) Recycle Program – offering gently used durable medical equipment to families free of charge; and 3) Belly Bands – offering free fabric wraps with Velcro to San Diego-area children with feeding tubes. Cecily’s Closet has directly helped approximately 700 people in the community through its programs.
Makenna Barnes, Minions 4 Miracles
At just 16 years of age, Makenna Barnes founded her own charity, Minions4Miracles, which donates money and cupcakes to the Ronald McDonald House. To date, she has donated more than 1,500 cupcakes and more than $500. She has also started selling T-shirts through her website to raise additional funds. As the 2012 Miss Escondido, Makenna has motivated her fellow beauty pageant contestants, queens and cheerleaders to help with the program. Makenna, a student at Mission Hills High School in Escondido, plans on attending the Culinary Institute of America to pursue a degree in Baking & Pastry Management.
Graham Bloem, Shelter to Soldier
Shelter to Soldier and Graham Bloem have created a solution to decrease the amount of shelter/rescue dogs that are being euthanized in San Diego County. By training these rescue dogs to become certified service companions, Mr. Bloem is increasing their chances of being adopted into forever homes. In addition, Mr. Bloem places these highly trained rescue dogs with U.S. combat veterans suffering from psychological and emotional trauma from recent wars. Mr. Bloem has also created a team of three therapy dogs that visits VA hospitals throughout San Diego County to help soldiers suffering from combat related mental and physical disabilities. Shelter to Soldier’s therapy team visits these hospitals on a weekly basis to provide support to military veterans.
Rose Greenberg, Adopt A Doll
Rose Greenberg creates healing dolls for pediatric patients at Rady Children’s Hospital, as well as at the new Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem. These dolls, created by Ms. Greenberg and a group of volunteers, are given to oncology patients, abuse patients, and emergency room patients. They each come with their own happy hospital gown; the child can use the doll to show the doctors and nurses where it hurts, or to confirm abuse. The generic dolls come with no features, allowing the child to personalize each one individually. The dolls are cuddly, soft and allergen-free. Ms. Greenberg is 90 years old and a recent widow. 100% of revenue is given back to Hadassah medical needs, most recently to fund furniture for the new hospital in Jerusalem.
Eugene Johnson Jr., Unity Tech/Safe Passages Program
Eugene Johnson, Jr. founded Unity Tech, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. The organization, committed to the service of youth, provides a safe after-school program, art/culture, balloon art, tutoring, computer education, mentoring assistance, kids’ smart program, teen safety, bully safety, youth hip-hop fitness, nutrition, discipline Kenpo course, and/or Know & Go program for our youth who are at-risk of gang influences and dropping out of school. Safe Passages is a program of Unity Tech where parent volunteers stand on busy street corners in blue vests to discourage unsafe behavior and keep a watchful eye on children in City Heights. With parents being out and aware of potentially harmful situations, Safe Passages makes it safer for kids to travel to the City Heights-area schools.
Steve Kappes, Wounded Warriors Tennis Camp
Steve Kappes is a retired Captain in the U.S. Navy and President of the San Diego District Tennis Association. Mr. Kappes co-founded a tennis camp for wounded military. Now in its third year, the camp will take place May 21 through 24, 2014 at the Balboa Tennis Club at Morley Field. Mr. Kappes is recognized as an expert grant writer who has been instrumental in raising more than $60,000 to provide airfare and lodging for the 60 wounded warriors who participate in the annual tennis camp. Mr. Kappes also serves on a national committee for military outreach for the sport of tennis.
Hernán Luis y Prado, Workshops for Warriors
Hernán Luis y Prado is co-founder and chairman of the board of Workshops for Warriors, which assists in the transition of veterans and injured veterans into civilian life through mentoring, vocational training and education in the areas of welding and fabrication, CAD/CAM, machining and machinery repair. The nonprofit provides a combination of classroom education, vocational training and work experience that empowers veterans and increases their career options, confidence and self-respect. Instruction is offered by skilled veterans, active-duty service members and industry experts. Mr. Luis y Prado, himself a veteran who completed two tours in Afghanistan, takes no salary for his work with Workshops for Warriors.
Bill Miller, United Studios of Self Defense
Bill Miller owns United Studios of Self Defense in Pacific Beach. He teaches blind children and adults Karate for free so that they gain confidence, feel empowered, and gain courage. This population can often feel scared, become overwhelmed, and feel insecure merely because of not being able to sense their environment with sight. Because of their new-found confidence and courage, they operate at higher level in all areas of life. Mr. Miller also works with others with special needs, including autism and muscular dystrophy, with no charge to these participants. The program was initiated by Mr. Miller with the support of community organizations, including San Diego Braille Institute and Monarch School.
Marty Papazian, Director/Producer of Least Among Saints
Marty Papazian created a solution for giving hope, comfort and help to returning veterans who are trying to adapt back into civilian life. Mr. Papazian wrote a film script with the intention of trying to bring these important issues to light. Once the film was released, he used it to raise money for and awareness about the issues of PTSD and the challenges our vets face when returning home. Mr. Papazian has donated profits from screenings to nonprofit military organizations, and has also sent copies of this film to Afghanistan at his cost for the troops. Once the film was released on DVD, a percentage of the sales has also been donated to many nonprofit military organizations Mr. Papazian has worked with.
Doreen Quinn, North County Trade Tech High School
Doreen Quinn is founder, CEO and board chair of North County Trade Tech High School, a tuition-free charter school that teaches typical high school subjects and also prepares its students for jobs in the building and construction industry, with an emphasis on green building. The school, geared toward underprivileged students, is intended to provide youth with skills to help them find quality jobs after graduation. Ms. Quinn has rallied volunteers, inspired community leaders and devoted thousands of hours beyond her regular work schedule to ensure that disadvantaged youth receive the education they need to succeed.
Gloria Vazquez, Transformando Nuestra Tierra
Gloria Vazquez is founder of TNT (Transformando Nuestra Tierra), a safe place for Hispanic teens to learn to make good decisions and be positive influences to members of their own generation. Every week, 15 to 20 teens ages 13 to 18 attend the TNT workshops. Hundreds of teens have been helped through her program in the six years since she began. Ms. Vazquez started TNT with the help of her husband in 2008. Although he passed away a year later, Ms. Vazquez decided to continue the program in spite of her grief and pain. Ms. Vazquez is a volunteer and has never been compensated for her work with TNT. Her desire to be a positive influence in the lives of these kids is her passion.
Pastor Timothy Winters, Bayview Charities (now deceased)
Since the inception of Bayview Charities in 2001, Pastor Timothy J. Winters was consistently and tirelessly involved in the organization. A faith-based nonprofit organization created through the vision of Pastor Winters, the mission of Bayview Charities is to develop the whole child by strengthening the family through educational empowerment, economic development, social improvement and civic involvement. In 2012, Bayview Charities entered into a partnership with Walmart through Feeding America of San Diego’s Fresh Rescue program and expanded its food programs to include an on-site food pantry and the Emergency Shelter Food Program. It has been through the vision and leadership of Pastor Winters that Bayview Charities has been able to feed thousands of San Diegans. Unfortunately, Pastor Winters passed away in March of this year.
About the Visionary Awards
The purpose of the Visionary Awards is to recognize and celebrate extraordinary regional leadership, and the Community Spotlight Award is one of six distinct categories. Other categories are The Neil Morgan Award for Lifetime Achievement; LEAD Graduate of the Year; The Ronald Kendrick Memorial Award for Regional Collaboration; Economic Opportunity Award; and The Charles Nathanson Memorial Award for Cross-Border Region Building.
About LEAD San Diego
For more than 32 years, LEAD San Diego has provided balanced education and dialogue on issues of critical regional importance, helping a cross-section of community leaders become more informed, civically engaged, and active participants in work that positively impacts our communities. Recognizing leadership is one of LEAD’s four pillars of excellence, which also include leadership development programs, graduate opportunities and community impact. For more information, go to www.leadsandiego.com