In recognition of her work as a volunteer and fundraiser for several public service organizations, Cate School senior Eliza Giles will be honored this week as a Youth Philanthropist of the Year for Santa Barbara County.
One of two recipients, Giles will receive her award for continued community service by the Santa/Barbara/Ventura Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals as part of a celebration of National Philanthropy Day in a ceremony at the Ventura Beach Marriott on Thursday.
Giles is widely admired at Cate for her spirited participation in the school’s public service program, for her work as day-student prefect and as one of the school’s tour guides. However, even before she arrived on the Mesa a little more than three years ago, she had a long history of service in the Santa Barbara area.
Among the almost two dozen civic and philanthropic agencies receiving her help were the Unity Shoppe, Safety Town, the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Cottage Hospital and the Ty Warner Sea Center.
Since enrolling at Cate, Giles has continued her work with several of these organizations while simultaneously becoming an integral part of several programs on campus.
Wholeheartedly embracing the school motto “Servons” — “let us serve” — she is a co-head of Cate’s Foster Homes outreach effort, organizing and promoting weekly visits by students to nearby care facilities. The Cate program serves Casa Esperanza, Transition House, Cornerstone House and several other area nonprofits.
Giles has also volunteered internationally in South Africa and Ecuador, raising funds to make service projects on those trips possible. Last spring she spearheaded a “Coffee & Donuts” fundraiser before the annual Advanced Placement exams in order to support a program called RoundSquare International Service. Cate School is a global member of RoundSquare, an international organization providing opportunities for community service, work projects and cultural exchange.
In September, Giles was on a team of five Cate students who volunteered in elementary-school classrooms outside of Johannesburg and were delegates at an international school conference themed “no existence without coexistence.” On a previous summer trip to rural Ecuador, she helped fund and build a community center for a small village in partnership with its families.
After she graduates from Cate in May, Giles aspires to earn a bachelor of science degree in nursing and to continue her commitment to philanthropy.