By JoAnn Fields
San Diego, CA: The 15th Annual United States of America Presidential Volunteer Awards Program “ A New Birth of Freedom” took place on Friday, May 9, 2014 at the Educational Cultural Complex located at 4343 Ocean View Blvd., San Diego, 92113. The program highlighted youth as young as 11 years old and adult volunteers from throughout San Diego County for their community service contributions.
The program opened with a musical presentation by Nelicia Pettis and welcome by Dr. Anthony Beebe, Ed.D., President, San Diego Continuing Education San Diego Community College District. Followed by the presentation of colors by the Buffalo Soldiers, 9th & 10th Horse Calvary Association, National Anthem by Miss Corina Lard. Ms. Maxine Clark presented the Seal of the President of the U.S. and a White House Congratulatory Letter from President Obama was read by Devant’e Emmanuel. Word of Inspiration was delivered by Rev. Gerald Brown and musical dance numbers by the “Best Kept Secret” and St. Stehen’s Cathedral COGIC Mime Dance Ministry.
Cynthia Gilliam, Presidential Awards Director, “The purpose of hosting the Presidential Volunteer Awards Program is to acknowledge the dedication and support that many San Diegans give to their community to improve the quality of life for all. Volunteers are the driving force for many successful community clean-ups, programs and events. Many volunteers do not work for recognition. However, we find it very important to do so because everyone should be acknowledge for the positive and great work that they do. If we don’t celebrate them, who will?”
Kamry Fields, “I am proud to volunteer and serve my community. I enjoy giving back because is not only the right thing to do but I want to be a productive citizen. Us, youth usually are said to be lazy and stuck on social media and video games all day. I think given the opportunity more kids will want to become involved. We get to meet new people and make new friends. I made friends with Alyssa Ramos and Dona Gonazlez at a community clean-up on Paradise Valley Road when they were students at Bell Middle School and they are also being recognized for their accomplishments over the years tonight. My friends Brandon McCoy and Dante Foster Jr. of Ground-Up Hoops are also being recognized for volunteering at the George Stevens Senior Center and at special events like the Neighborhood House Association’s Thanksgiving Dinner and Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Festival and Basketball Showcase. I am thankful and humble to receive this recognition with so many San Diegans who are also making a positive impact in our community by volunteering.”
In addition to the Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards for serving 300-1000+ hours, Lifetime Achievement Awards were presented to Chida Warren-Darby, Tayari Howard, Pastor Michael Page, Pastor Sharon Denise Julien, Dennis Eley, Deidra Vernon, Stuart Thomas, Kimm White-Thomas, Dr. Mary Sue Womble, De Ant’e Emmanuel Jones and Micheal Adkins.
The Presidential Awards Program was made possible with the support and contributions of The Buffalo Soldiers, 9th & 10th Horse Calvary Association; La Diego Dance Theater, Danial Marshall; The Best Kept Secret, San Diego Chapter; Educational Cultural Complex; Dr. Anthony Beebe, Ed.D; St. Stephens’s Cathedral COGIC Mime Group, T.R.U.T.H; Lard Family; Nelicidad and Mela Pettis; Christy Figueroa Pettis; Harold J. Ballard Parent Center; Pastor Charlie and 1st Lady Maxine Clark; Pastor Kevin and 1st Lady Roberson; Mr. Michael Sanders; Waldorf School of San Diego; Principal Gary Rollins; Gompers Prep and Herbert Hoover High School.