On Thursday, May 19, 2011, the Community Action Partnership of San Bernardino County (CAPSBC) held its second annual Gala benefit at the San Bernardino Hilton and five outstanding members of the community were recognized for their tremendous efforts in helping low income residents of San Bernardino County. CAPSBC Board of Director’s Chair, Nancy Ruth White, commented, “We were proud to recognize those whose values are closely aligned with our core values of Excellence, Advocacy, Quality, Respect, Self- Sufficiency, Compassion, Professionalism, Accountability and Personal Responsibility. It is important to take time to honor those who represent the best of our values and have generously helped us ‘Achieve Excellence Through Action.’”
Ms. Patricia L. Nickols, Chief Executive Officer of CAPSBC stated, “We were honored to be able to take this opportunity at our ‘Achieving Excellence Through Action,’ Gala Event to be able to recognize these selfless, dedicated individuals who work hard every day to make a difference in the lives of the most needy families and individuals in San Bernardino County.”
The evening began with a silent auction and reception featuring the musical talents of J. Boykin, saxophonist extraordinaire, and had an attendance of 350 people. Several elected officials were in attendance including Sam Garcia – District Director for Joe Baca Sr. , Congressman, 43rd Congressional District, Juan Lopez representing Assemblymember Wilmer Amina Carter, Neil Derry – 3rd District Supervisor, County of San Bernardino, Rikke Van Johnson – Councilmember, City of San Bernardino, William Ruh –Councilmember, City of Montclair, Joe Baca Jr. – Councilmember, City of Rialto, Matthew Slowik – Councilmember, City of Fontana, Dr. Gary Thomas – County Superintendent of Schools, Joanne Gilbert – Rialto Unified School District and Dr. Arturo Delgado – San Bernardino City Unified School District. Dr. Joshua Beckley, pastor of Ecclesia Christian Fellowship in San Bernardino, served as master of ceremonies. Tim Reese, Executive Director of the California/Nevada Community Action Partnership Association and Patrick J. Morris, the Honorable Mayor of the City of San Bernardino made opening comments to kick off the evening.
The Keynote Speaker for the evening was Les Brown, renowned motivational speaker and author with a nationally syndicated radio talk show on KFWB AM 980, which airs M-F from 2:00-4:00 p.m.
He gave an inspiring speech on his personal experiences in overcoming poverty and other barriers to achieve personal success. Mr. Brown also discussed his great affection for the mission of Community Action Partnership of San Bernardino County in helping the poor and disadvantaged, particularly children. Les Brown talked about living in extreme poverty as a child and how he was able to rise to his success through the help of people who took the time to let him know that he could achieve excellence.
Born in an abandoned building in a low-income section of town, he and his twin brother were adopted by Mrs. Mamie Brown – a single woman with very little education or financial means, but a very big heart. As “Mrs. Mamie Brown’s Baby Boy,” he claims “All that I am and all that I ever hoped to be, I owe to my mother.” Les Brown is a living testament to how you never know that a child you are helping today, who is facing a desperate life, could have the potential to become a great person.
Mr. Brown applauded and recognized the mission of CAPSBC to lift people out of poverty and create self-sufficiency as a great contribution to society. He also added that every person should be doing something in their lives to give back to their communi ty. His experiences as a recipient of services, community activist and elected official coupled with his energetic and passionate message thrilled the audience.
The Gala honorees were each recognized in a short video highlighting their contributions to the community and why they were selected to receive the awards. One of the highlights of the evening was when Pastor Willie Ulibarri of Project Life Impact discussed his reason and mission for the work he does. Pastor Willie’s mission is to provide food and clothing to those in need. In his video segment, he refers to two brothers, ages 13 and 9, who came to him recently and asked if he had any food to eat because they hadn’t eaten in 4 days. He told of how they said they would even take a can of dog food to eat. Pastor Willie vowed that he would do everything he could to help these children and families who face difficult circumstances.
He then referenced the bible verse in Matthew 25:35 as his motivation for what he does: ”For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; I was naked, and you clothed Me.”
His reference was met with a standing ovation from the audience and was a truly inspirational moment of the evening.
The five honorees for the 2011 Gala were:
The Legislative Advocate Award was presented to Congressman Joe Baca, 43rd Congressional District.
This award is given to an elected official who has a distinguished record of public service to their community; who personifies professionalism and leadership; and whose passion and commitment has improved the lives of lowincome residents of San Bernardino County.
2. The Community Partner Award was presented to the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians. This award is given to an organization for their generous financial support of CAPSBC and the clients we serve. The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians has established a benevolent partnership with CAPSBC and their food bank over the past year.
3. The Venny H. Newman Humanitarian Award was presented to Pastor Willie Ulibarri, Jr. President of Project Life Impact in San Bernardino. This award is given as a tribute to Ms. Venny Newman who has dedicated her life to advocating for the poor. Ms. Newman was a pioneer in the establishment of the Dependency Prevention Commission at its inception in 1965, which is now Community Action Partnership of San Bernardino County. Willie Ulibarri received the award for his dedication and motivation to helping the low-income, advocating for the disabled and empowering them to overcome obstacles and his dedication to feeding needy children.
The “Helping People. Changing Lives.” Volunteer Award was presented to Matthew Slowik, President of the Fontana Art Association. This award is given to an individual with a passion for helping others and exemplifies the true potential of volunteerism that makes a difference in their communities.
This award was given to Matthew Slowik for his 25 years of public service throughout San Bernardino County. Matthew has worked tirelessly to completely renovate the Fontana Art Association (Koehler Gallery) for the benefit of today’s youth and future generations. His dedication to impacting the lives of young people in his community is commendable.
5. The Spirit of Hope Achievement Award was presented to Joseph Mitchell, CEO of Industrial Support Systems.
This award is given to a person whose success at achieving personal goals serves as a role model for other clients and has turned hope into reality. Joseph has devoted countless hours and energy towards improvement of the quality of work life for developmentally disabled persons.
The Achieving Excellence Through Action Gala was a tremendous success due to the contributions of the program participants, sponsors, employees and supporters of CAPSBC.
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