George Rusznak

The Dons Net Café, a group of student-run, social and entrepreneurial businesses committed to creating positive social and environmental change through ethical commerce and service-learning at Santa Barbara High School, has given George Rusznak the Mentor of the Decade award for his longtime support of and commitment to the program.

Rusznak is a member of the local chapter of SCORE, a national organization of volunteers dedicated to help aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners through an education and mentorship program.

After getting involved with DNC, Rusznak invited other members of the chapter to give their support to the students as well. Several members responded, and over the years have brought a range of subject matter expertise to the program, thanks to Rusznak’s efforts.

“It really shows us how important our work here at DNC is when distinguished business people like Mr. Rusznak volunteer their own time to help the program succeed,” said Amazing Grace Llanos, CEO of the Dons Net Café. “My favorite Mr. Rusznak quote is, ‘Winning is good, making money is better.’”

The Mentor of the Decade award is recognition of not only Rusznak’s mentoring activities, but for his instrumental help in creating a long term, unique relationship between SCORE and DNC, two valuable local business assets the Santa Barbara community can take pride in.

“The opportunity to be a part of and contribute to this meaningful and valuable teaching program is its own reward,” Rusznak said. “It is immensely satisfying to see the students perform, learn, grow and succeed.”

The last Mentor of the Decade award was presented in 2003 to Bob Corea, an IRS agent and coordinator of Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA), a free income filing tax service that has provided help to low-income members of the community for the past 21 years.

— Sarah Webb is a publicist representing the Dons Net Café.