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2012 Desert Gala

Isabel Megli, Yucca Valley
Isabel is the founder and CEO of White Rock Horse Rescue and Retirement, a non-profit organization that helps unwanted and abused horses. The horses arrive in various states of physical and psychological deprivation or simply because owners can no longer keep their animals. Isabel has created a sanctuary so the great animals can find respite, healing, and hopefully a new family. Isabel combines her love for horses with her love for children by offering riding groups, Mommie and Me activities, Kids Horse Camp, and volunteer opportunities for youth. She teaches the care and rehabilitation of horses along with horsemanship and the skills needed to take on the responsibilities of horse ownership. Her commitment to horses and her willingness to share her passion with children make her an angel to many.
Randall Miller, La Quinta
Randall is a dedicated member of Modern Woodmen of America, a Fraternal Financial Institution. Modern Woodmen helps to provide financial security with life insurance, annuity, investment, and banking products. They also seek to improve the quality of family life with local activities, provide information for personal and community services, help raise money for organizations, fund school programs, and sponsor events. Randall is a committed volunteer and works hard to serve and strengthen his community. He has also coached youth basketball and served as a mentor for Cathedral City High School journalism class. Randall goes above and beyond in everything he does to build a brighter future for this community.
Maria Serrano, Coachella
At 82 years old, Mrs. Serrano may not look like an advocate for justice and equality, but her fight for freedom and human rights has been well-fought for many years. Mrs. Serrano began her public leadership in 1970 as a United Farm Workers Representative. She represented over 1700 farm workers and worked closely with Cesar Chavez in the fight for fair working conditions. She founded a grass roots organization to improve living conditions at the Fred Young Farm Labor Center. That organization later became the corporation that ran the center for 20 years-the Indio Housing Development Corporation (IHDC). She co-founded Mothers Against Drugs to help eradicate the strong drug presence in the Labor Center. Mrs. Serrano has been honored for her tireless work on many occasions, including the California Chicano News Media’s “Hope Award;” recognition from IHDC for 15 years of Wisdom, Vision, and Optimism; and a Certificate of Recognition as a Community Activist by the California Legislative Assembly. Mrs. Serrano has also been an angel on earth for ALA and it’s youth leadership programs. Her voice, conviction, and commitment are unwavering and heart-felt.
Mika Moulton, Indio
Mika’s dedication to keeping children safe makes her an angel to many. In 1995, Mika’s young son, Christopher, was kidnapped and murdered. Her grief turned to action and she founded and continues to operate Christopher’s Clubhouse, a non-profit devoted to child safety. Safety Education Programs teach children how to respond in a variety of situations including home safety and abduction. The programs give children the confidence and skills to go beyond their fear in a scary situation so they can make choices and take actions to keep themselves safe. Mika empowers children and families to keep themselves safe and prepared to respond to serious situations. She is also a lobbyist, fighting for legislation to keep violent predators behind bars. To further spread hope and healing, she provides peer support to families of missing children as a part of Team HOPE. Mika’s strength and perseverance provide hope when hope seems lost.
Lynda Lake, Rancho Mirage
An educator in every sense of the word, this angel on earth has worked for the Palm Springs Unified School District as a Teacher, Principal, and as Founder and Principal of the first Charter School in Palm Springs. She has received multiple awards including Teacher of the Year, Citizen of the Year, Principal of the Year, and the Pursuit of Excellence Award. Her elementary school has received the honor of being an Apple Distinguished School for three years and a California Distinguished School. As a principal, Lynda naturally makes a difference in young lives. She goes above and beyond by encouraging her students to care for others. Her school and students partner with Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 775 and send care packages for them while they are deployed. They also partner with the Mizell Senior Center. Students teach seniors to use technology and the seniors tutor the students in academics. Building relationships, helping others, and working toward a common goal are what keep Lynda motivated to lead local youth toward a better future.
Jennie Kelly, North Shore
Jennie has been dedicated to preserving history and natural beauty in the Coachella Valley for many years. She currently spends her time as the Founder, Executive Director, and Board President of the Salton Sea History Museum and Visitor Center. Her focus there is to preserve the history of the Salton Sea and North Shore and to do what she can to ensure Salton Sea restoration. Jennie also serves on the board of the Sea and Desert Interpretive Association, which manages the activities of the Salton Sea State Recreation Area. She was appointed Historical Commissioner, Supervisorial District 4, by Supervisor Roy Wilson. Jennie has worked actively with other preservationists to help the Coachella Valley to hold on to its rich history and natural beauty. She is a true angel on earth to the Salton Sea, North Shore, and the history of the Coachella Valley!
Brooke Beare, Palm Desert
Brooke’s presence in the media makes her face recognizable, but it is her commitment to the community that makes her an angel. As the evening news anchor for CBS 2, she has reported on the events that impact the lives of the Valley’s residents. She has served as emcee and hostess for many local philanthropic organizations in an effort to raise funds for worthy causes. She has been recognized by the National Association of Television Arts and Sciences as an Emmy nominee for investigative reporting and for contributions to Hunger Action Month. Brooke also serves on the Board of Desert Arc, works with Habitat for Humanity and the A Brush with Kindness Cleanup Project, and has participated in the Palm Springs Half Marathon, Martha’s Village & Kitchen 5K, Women Running Wild, CV Heart Walk, and the Pat Tillman Foundation Memorial Run. Brooke’s heart, and her feet, are dedicated to giving in service to the Coachella Valley and its residents.
Caleb Gervin, Palm Springs
Caleb is a young man who takes service seriously, all the while showing how fun service can be. At the Learning Tree Center in Palm Desert he is known simply as “Coach” and he is an example of kindness, patience, leadership, fun, and sportsmanship. He makes sports fun and accessible to children of all ages and skill levels. Once a professional basketball player in the American Basketball Association, he now serves a higher calling with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. With FCA, he works in local schools helping to provide prayer, food, fellowship, and encouragement. He also helps raise scholarships for student athletes, provides peer outreach, trains athletes in the fundamental skills they’ll need to succeed on the basketball court and in life. Caleb hopes to create a recreational-sports facility where tutoring and sports training would meet to equip student athletes to deal with college sports. This servant-leader provides a positive example for young athletes that will build leaders on and off the court.
Pauline Hennessey, Palm Desert
Pauline’s dedication to leadership and child development has provided hope. As Director of Developmental Care and Patient Services at Totally Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, she is responsible for the care and development of 50 medically fragile and technology dependent children. Unsatisfied with simply meeting the physical needs of her patients, Pauline developed and implemented a Developmental Care Program, tying leadership and problem solving to the care and services each child receives. The program was awarded “Program of the Year” by the Speech, Language and Hearing Association of California in 2011 and Pauline hopes it will become a “standard of care” for pediatric and adult long-term care facilities. Pauline also facilitates ALA’s Leadership Training Institute. She has taken the Junior Leader Training program to new heights as an example of leadership in action. Students learn leadership by tackling problems, making positive changes in their lives, and providing service in the community. With Pauline working to develop young leaders, there truly is hope for the future.