Five Los Gatos youth are being honored with the Youth Citizen of the Year Award given by the Los Gatos Youth Park Inc. organization.
The nonprofit has been around for more than 25 years, and its mission is to support town youth with recognition and promote local scouting programs. It's run by a nine-member board of directors, who are all volunteers. Bob Jones, a member of the , is the president of the board of directors.
The award recognizes youth who have made significant contributions to the community and are considered role models for other young people, according to awards program coordinator, Chris Miller, a Los Gatos native involved in many civic organizations.
The honorees are Joe Chadwick, Jordanne Sanford, Michael Daboll, Michaela Jose and Ruth Cormier. They will be recognized during a 10 a.m. ceremony Saturday at the organization's headquarters, located behind Los Gatos High School, next to the tennis courts.
The youth will participate in the Los Gatos holiday tree lighting ceremony on Dec. 2 and will start the Los Gatos Children’s Holiday parade with a whistle on Dec. 3, said Miller.
Chadwick is a sixth-grader at and was very involved at his former school, Daves Avenue Elementary. While at Daves, Chadwick took the initiative to volunteer half of his lunch hour each day to organize games for first-graders by gathering children who are isolated, observers or playing unsafely and getting them involved in a safe activity, Miller said.
In addition to the lunchtime activities, Chadwick served on Safety Patrol while at Daves, working to create a safer environment for other students. Nominator Susan Von Felton writes, “Joe stands out as a young man who takes pride in taking responsibility to serve his community and others without looking for a reward or compensation—he has been a role model for his peers."
Daboll is a freshman at and is extensively involved in the community. While at Fisher Middle School, he contributed more than 200 hours of community service to a wide variety of organizations including the Los Gatos Public Library, Los Gatos Little League, Los Gatos Recreation Summer School Program, Toys 4 Tots and Catholic Charities.
After having participated in the Toys 4 Tots program for many years, Daboll noticed that the gifts for teens were always underrepresented in comparison to toys for younger children. Daboll then launched Treasures 4 Teens to generate more gifts appropriate for needy teens.
Fraser and Dana Steele write, “many Los Gatos youth contribute hours in support of community service agencies, but there are very few examples of the innovation and creativity Michael has demonstrated by initiating his very own community service project having witnessed a need.”
Jose, a senior at Westmont High School, has been involved in the community and her school. Jose served as the associated student body president last school year and has been a part of ASB since 2008. Jose regularly volunteers at her church and at Campbell Christian Elementary, has donated her time serving as a choreographer for various middle school productions in the area, and serves as the Interact Club president at Westmont, where she supported the Los Gatos Rotary Lobster Feed event.
Nominator Matt Kolda writes, “Michaela is a very amazing individual who should most definitely be recognized for what she does for the people around her. She is always volunteering to help with school activities even if it involved doing a very undesirable task such as cleaning up after a school dance.”
Sanford, "Jo" to many, is a freshman at Presentation High School and has been involved in the community and at her previous school, . While at Hillbrook, Sanford served as the co-head of student council and led a gift card drive for the San Jose Family Shelter, raising more than $2,000 in gift card donations. In addition to the gift card drive, Sanford helped organize and run a blood drive on campus. She's also involved in the community, where she serves monthly at InnVision Georgia Travis Center, the San Jose Family Shelter and other projects through the National Charity League. Nominator Eden Maisel writes, “ Jordanne is enthusiastic, positive and motivated in everything she is involved with.”
Cormier is at West Valley College and has been involved in the Los Gatos community the past several years. By her own initiative, Cormier started “Kards 4 Kids,” “Kards 4 You” and “Kards 4 Soldiers” organizations that make greeting cards for people in need, including hospital patients and soldiers overseas. Cormier personally has made and sent more than 13,000 cards, and her organizations have sent tens of thousands of cards to people all over the world.
Cormier volunteers at Kid’s Club programs, Dorcus Circle and Hugs & Stitches at Hillside Church. Nominator Dawn Thompson writes, "Ruth is often standing back in a crowd, not wanting recognition or seeking reward. No matter where she is, she jumps up to help. If it is at church, or an organization, a party, or somewhere new, Ruth steps up to help. She has gained the attention of many with her generous giving of time and energies, and she has demonstrated a true volunteers’ heart.”