2017

2017

July 2017

Matthew Trejo was only 9 years old when he found out his aunt, Michele Frantz, was diagnosed with breast cancer. Fortunately, his aunt, Michele, survived the battle against breast cancer.

This event, however, “made a lasting impression on him,” said Martin Trejo, who is Matthew’s father.

Matthew asked his father if he could dye his hair pink in support of breast cancer research. Martin challenged his son to find other avenues to support breast cancer research.

It was at that point that Matthew thought of selling bubble gum to his peers as a way to gather donations. Matthew thought of bubble gum in part because bubble gum is pink, which is the color largely used to represent breast cancer awareness and research.

Now, three years after his initial idea, Matthew is still committed to his cause. He stands outside his school several days a week and sells bubble gum for 25 cents apiece.

“Bubbles 4 Breast Cancer” could not be possible, however, without Matthew’s classmate, Aron Smulovitz, who also dedicates his time after school to raise money.

Matthew and Aron have collected over $2,200 to date. “Bubbles 4 Breast Cancer” has even gained the attention of mainstream media, including Ryan Seacrest and Double Bubble. Double Bubble has provided over 32 pounds of bubble gum to keep the boys successful in their efforts. Matthew and Aron donate all the proceeds to the Susan G. Komen Foundation, the largest breast-cancer organization in the United States.

2017

June 2017

Antonia is involved with the “Embajadoras,” a volunteer group that works to promote the library’s functions and give input to the Commerce Library’s many programs and services. Antonia started to get involved in the group where her children participated in the library’s Summer Reading Club.

Embajadoras was established in 2000 and they are responsible for spreading the word on the library’s various programs. They meet once a month and volunteer their hours and help big events such as the library’s Food for Fines, an event in November, where library patrons can pay their overdue fines by donating canned foods for families in need.

Outside of her work with Embajadoras, Antonia has been a PTA President at her daughter’s school. Alejandra is committed to not only better her children’s education, but all children’s education in her community. She also sits on the library commission for the City of Commerce. They have monthly meetings to make sure the community’s needs are being heard. Most recently, she helped organize a “Know Your Rights” forum organized by the library and the United Farmers Workers Foundation.

“People recognize her in the community as a resource. She is not only a resource, but makes sure to pass on the knowledge she knows to others,” says Evelyn Diaz, Literacy Program Manager at the Commerce Library.

2017

May 2017

Robin is a long-time resident of Bellflower, where she currently devotes her time as a member of the Bellflower Family Lions Club and sits on the Board of Directors for the Bellflower Chamber of Commerce.

Outside of her leadership with the Lions Club and chamber, Robin has organized a highly successful Christmas program at Bellflower Hollywood Sports Park for the past 5 years. She has been involved with Hollywood Sports for well over 15 years and is currently their Director of Community Events.

The annual Christmas program provides toys for kids, a visit with Santa, and a breakfast for families recommended by the school district and local churches.

Robin is also involved with Arts Aloud Theatre Group, a local organization devoted to providing a path to the performing arts for teens ages 13-18 of various ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds. The organization’s operations rely on donations and Robin is in charge of all the organization’s fundraising.

Beyond her commitment to the theatre, Robin is a partner in a small family-owned business, StoneBridge Funeral and Cremation Services. She and her husband, Bob, have been happily married for 37 years and have two daughters and three grandchildren together.

Robin is a regular volunteer with the Neighborhood Watch Program and regularly attends city council meetings. Robin’s motto is, “I like to give to the community that gives to me.”

2017

April 2017

Pride58 #Pride58 Joe Kaprielian Assemblymember Christina Garcia

Joe Kaprielian, now a freshman at Standford University, founded his own non-profit organization, Joe’s Organization for Youth (JOY) at the age of 16.

Growing up as a resident of Montebello and attending school in Pico Rivera, Joe’s grandfather taught him the importance of giving back to those in need.  With the help of community partners and his family, Joe founded his organization, JOY at the age of 16. JOY’s mission is to help foster the individuality of underprivileged youth so that they have the necessary tools to pursue their passions. 

For the past several years, JOY has provided thousands of toys during the holiday season to children in Montebello, Pico Rivera, Norwalk and Bell Gardens. JOY has partnered with organizations such as Heart of Compassion and is dedicated to fostering the creativity of young people, especially those who do not have the economic means to do so. Joe has ensured that all youth, including those who are pursuing the arts or require special needs, have the tools to pursue their dreams. Joe also regularly visits children at orphanages, both locally and abroad. More recently, Joe visited Armenia where he provided winder clothing for the children of an Armenian orphanage.

For these reasons, Joe is selected for the month of April’s #Pride58 award.

2017

March 2017

In July 2013, Christopher Jimenez founded the Montebello Youth Leadership Club (MYLC) with the goal of empowering the community’s youth to become future leaders. His vision was sparked at Montebello High School when he joined ASB as a sophomore. By his senior year, Christopher was ASB President and was ready to bring something similar to the community where he could get youth involved.

 “Even though you‘re young, you can make a big impact,” said Christopher, who currently runs the club’s meetings and scouts events for membership to take part in. Additionally, he leads the club’s executive committee, which focuses on activities that will improve club members’ skills with speech writing and public speaking while building their self-confidence.

 “Those who have left [home] to go to college or start work have grown, they are now very involved in schools, organizations, and communities. They’re outgoing and have gained self-confidence through the efforts of the group,” added Christopher.

In total, MYLC has helped approximately 50 members give back to their community through emphasis on volunteerism and civic engagement.  The membership keeps active by volunteering, attending public forums, meeting with elected officials, and leading efforts like community cleanup and beautification days.

Christopher’s goals for the future include wanting to see the group grow in membership, but also expand into other communities. He would like to see MYLC’s efforts replicated in other communities and even throughout the state, focusing on community involvement to make our cities a better place.

Christopher works as a community service aid with the city’s Parks and Recreation Department. In his free time, he likes to take pictures and he always keeps his camera with him. He photographs people and whatever else catches his eye. At the moment, he shares his photos on Instagram and is working to create a website.

Congratulations Christopher!

2017

February 2017

Lori Williams

Lori Williams has been a dedicated Cerritos community volunteer since 1999. As an active member and past-president of the Cerritos Girls Softball Association (CGSA), Lori has spent countless hours on weeknights and weekends coaching teams, managing the organization's business affairs, and interacting with hundreds of players, coaches, and family members.

Lori was instrumental in obtaining important sponsorship funding from the local business community. Through these efforts and more, she has helped to provide high quality equipment while keeping participation fees affordable, which has increased participation among girls. Her overall dedication has produced one of the most successful girls' softball leagues in the area as CGSA attracts a large number of players from Cerritos, Artesia, Norwalk, and Bellflower.

Although Lori relinquished her responsibilities at CGSA in 2016, she continues to help guide board members and donates her time in support of female participation in softball. As Chair of the Legislative Women's Caucus, thank you Lori for your dedication and commitment to empowering women through sports!

2017

January 2017

Alexis Hernandez

Alexis Hernandez has been serving the youth of Pico Rivera since the young age of 15. Alexis first began serving our community as a founding member and organizer of the El Rancho High School Teen Court which serves the neighboring cities of Whittier, Norwalk, Downey and Santa Fe Springs. Since joining the teen court program, Alexis has assisted over 5,000 youth to become informed and active citizens through their participation as jurors to the court. In 2014, his success resulted in becoming the statewide chairman of the California Association of Youth Courts.

Alexis’ accomplishments expand beyond the teen court program and into the youth voter education, information and registration program. Now 21 years of age, he sits on the board of the El Rancho Teen Foundation and the San Gabriel Youth Citizenship Project.

Mr. Hernandez’ ambitions, intelligence, and accomplishments make him highly deserving of the #Pride58 award.

Congratulations Alexis!