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Youth Impact Awards to Honor Outstanding Efforts of Local Students

The annual KIDS Network Youth Impact Awards ceremony will be held from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 2 at the Santa Barbara County Education Office Auditorium, 4400 Cathedral Oaks Road in Santa Barbara.

This annual celebration honors outstanding local youth making a difference in the community. Three winners and three honorable mentions will receive awards, and all nominees will receive a certificate and acknowledgement. Winners will present brief highlights of their work in the community. The awards celebration is free.

All who would like to attend in support of youth making a difference should register in advance, either by clicking here to register online, or by emailing [email protected] to RSVP.

The winners of this year’s awards include Ella Brewer of San Marcos High School, Fatima Cacho of Cabrillo High School and the Leaders Establishing Great Ideas 4 Tomorrow Club at Ernest Righetti High School. The three honorable mentions go to Maria Frias of San Marcos High School, Diego Hernandez of Santa Maria High School and Marcy Montano of the Grizzly Youth Academy Independent Study Program.

Every year, the KIDS Network — a countywide umbrella organization including members from public agencies, the courts, law enforcement, education, community-based organizations, school-linked programs and parent groups — honors young people for their contributions to the community. The annual Youth Impact Awards celebrate youth who have made a significant positive impact on their communities in Santa Barbara County. Nominations are received from members of the community, and all young people ages 10 through 18 living or attending school in Santa Barbara County qualify.

The nominees’ contributions were assessed based on the positive impact their actions have had on their Santa Barbara County communities. Winners were chosen by a selection committee comprised of KIDS Network members who remain anonymous to ensure that the process is unbiased. The selection process was challenging due to the remarkable achievements of so many young people in the county.

This year’s Youth Impact Awards celebration is made possible thanks to collaboration and support from members of the KIDS Network, including the Santa Barbara County Education Office and the Santa Barbara County Probation Department. Light refreshments will be prepared by the Probation Department’s Los Prietos Boys Camp Culinary Arts Program. Through the Culinary Arts Program, wards of Los Prietos Boys Camp are selected to work in the kitchen where they are introduced to all aspects of the culinary experience. Through hands-on training they learn about food preparation, presentation, cooking, cleanup, food safety and storage.

For more information on the event, please contact KIDS Network at 805.346.7105.

2014 Youth Impact Award Winners

Ella Brewer — San Marcos High School

This senior at San Marcos High School is a highly motivated youth who is passionate about helping others. In 2013, Ella began observing the work of Drs. Jovanovic and Castorino of the Santa Barbara Public Health Department. Every Tuesday for several hours she watched while the two doctors treated women with gestational diabetes. From this experience, she became interested in the Summer2Move teen wellness program.

With a focus on improving physical fitness and health literacy, participants become health advocates by adopting healthier lifestyles and motivating others to do the same. Ella voluntarily assisted the project coordinator with lectures covering diabetes, nutrition, exercise, stress management and self-confidence.

While maintaining a 4.33 GPA, Ella is a student in the San Marcos Health Academy, a tutor at The Village, a lettered athlete on the varsity soccer team, and a member of the KIDS Helping Kids program, Link Crew and Junior Statesman of America’s Traveling Debate Cub.

In November 2013, she traveled to Nicaragua for one week to work with children living in safe houses and trash dumps.

In addition to these notable accomplishments, she continues her involvement at the Sansum Diabetes Research Institute by helping with the Seeds of Change program, a maternal health program designed to promote the health of women between pregnancies. Ella is clearly on her way to reaching her lifetime goal of becoming a physician. 

Nominator: Rose Linehan, Project Coordinator at Sansum Diabetes Research Institute

Fatima Cacho — Cabrillo High School

This outstanding young woman is a senior at Cabrillo High School. She has been serving on the Lompoc Youth Commission for the past two years; however, in the past year she has taken a particularly active role.

In 2013, six members of the Youth Commission attended a Youth Leadership Conference in Bakersfield. The impact on the commissioners was such that they voted to host their own 2014 youth conference in Lompoc. In the weeks following, Fatima approached the city’s staff liaison to request the position of chair for the conference. Although many of the youth commissioners worked on the event, it was through the passion of Fatima that the event was a success. She had a strong desire for every teen in Lompoc to have the opportunity to feel what it is like to attend a conference of this type.

On Feb. 10, a school holiday, 150 teenagers from Lompoc and the Santa Maria area took part in the TOTAL (Teaching our Teens as Leaders) conference and it was a huge success. Fatima took the lead on this new event, which required a lot of work and decision-making. Fatima has a special quality of giving that is evident in all she does.

Nominator: JoAnne Plummer

Leaders Establishing Great Ideas 4 Tomorrow (LEGIT) — Ernest Righetti High School

The Leaders Establishing Great Ideas 4 Tomorrow (LEGIT) Club at Righetti High School was formed by three students who had a desire to share what they learned at a summer leadership camp for foster youth in 2013. This on-campus club allows students to express their frustration and find support in their peers experiencing similar challenges, whether in foster care or not.

The LEGIT Club offers support to the community off campus as well. In December 2013, LEGIT members set up a “Reading Corner” at The Day of the Farm Worker event held at the Santa Maria Fair Park. They took turns reading children’s books in Spanish and English to the children who joined their parents for this event. Other LEGIT members helped families register and directed them to where services were being provided.

LEGIT recently submitted a grant proposal to help children in their community. Youth Making Change granted LEGIT $1,900 to carry out their plans to host activities for low-income children throughout Santa Maria. LEGIT started with a group of youth who were interested in learning about leadership, and ended up finding ways to use what they learned to help their peers and serve their community.

Nominator: Rosa Valle-Rico

— Elizabeth Drake represents the KIDS Network of Santa Barbara County.

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