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The Brightest Star, Inc. Celebrates National Foster Care Month with “2nd Annual Shining Star Awards”

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By BVN Staff

Rialto — May is National Foster Care Month. This month provides an opportunity to shine a light on the experiences of more than 400,000 children and teens in America’s foster care system. On Saturday morning, May 19, 2012, at the San Bernardino Hilton Garden Inn, The Brightest Star organization is hosting its 2nd Annual Shining Star Awards, honoring those in Southern California making a difference in the lives of youth thriving in the foster care.

This year’s honorees are Albert Jackson, Coordinator of McKinley Center Brain Lab, Andre Bossieux, Program Director, San Bernardino County TAY Center, Bill Cooper, Coordinator Riverside County Education Foster Youth, Bernadette Pinchback, Program Manager, SB County Superintendent of Schools Foster Youth Services, Deborah Sutton, Executive Director of CASA Riverside County, Erin D. Phillips, President, Children’s Fund, Heidi Mayers, Executive Director, Youth Hope, Kevin Anderson, Program Manager, San Bernardino County ILP Supervisor, Michael Antonvich, Los Angeles County 5th District Supervisor, Nadine Lee, Executive Director, Speak the Dream Foundation, Maricela Duran, Principal, Joan Macy School David and Margaret Children and Family Services, Marsha Slough, Honorable Judge San Bernardino Juvenile Court, Michelle Runnels, Executive Director, Aspiranet, Tammy DeHesa, Founder & President, Make A Difference, Phyllis Stricklan, Firm Director, The Children’s Law Center, Pamela Clay, Executive Director, Living Advantage.

“This year, in addition to our 16 honorees, we are delighted to honor a very special former foster youth suggested to us from Cal State San Bernardino’s EOP Foster Youth Program,” said Lea Michelle Cash, President & CEO of The Brightest Star, Inc. “I immediate thought what an excellent idea to celebrate the achievements of a deserving young person.”

Jahara Tinsley is this year’s honoree. She is currently in pursuit of a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Work and is graduating in June 2012. As a former foster youth, Jahara has beaten the odds. While statistics show that only 1-5% of former foster youth graduate with their baccalaureate degree, she has managed to maintain a strong GPA throughout her college career and will be earning her degree within 4 years’ time. Jahara’s resilience and perseverance are impressive and demonstrative of her hard work and dedication. As a result of funding provided by the Children’s Fund of San Bernardino County, Jahara was granted the opportunity to be assigned a peer mentor during her freshman year. Her experience as a mentee inspired her to serve in the position of mentor as an upperclassman. She is now in the process of completing her third year serving as a mentor to former and current foster youth. Her life’s mission is to serve others. She has a particular interest in working in the field of child welfare, where she can work with and serve families that require intervention. To accomplish this goal, she recognized early on that she would have to continue her education by pursuing a graduate degree. Jahara has recently been accepted to the Masters of Social Work (MSW) programs at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA); California State University, Fullerton (CSUF); and California State University, San Bernardino (CSUSB).

The event begins at 10:30 AM and is a breakfast brunch. Celebrities are invited to attend. The keynote speaker is David Neuman. Neuman is a television executive who has been the former President of Walt Disney Television and Touchstone Television, President of Programming, Current TV, Chief Programming Officer for CNN, and Vice President of Comedy Division, NBC. Neuman currently is the owner of Blackrock Productions and is a CASA advocate and volunteer. The event is open to the public. Tickets are $20.00 and can be purchased online. Go to www.thebrighteststar.org donation page.

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