The Hemophilia Alliance of Orange County (HAOC) is a nonprofit organization, supporting the bleeding disorders community in Orange County and the Inland Empire. They are dedicated to enhancing the quality of life of individuals and families affected by Hemophilia, von Willebrand disease and other inherited bleeding disorders by creating programs and services that provide education, emotional support and advocacy. Individuals with bleeding disorders can spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on medical costs and live with the reality that there is currently no cure. Michele started this organization because she understood how challenging bleeding disorders are for parents and families. As a parent of a son with hemophilia she also understood how helpful it could be to connect with others in order to share, learn from, and support one another. HAOC strives to provide an inclusive, supportive culture to help each other through life’s challenges, develop programs to meet needs, and share stories. Michele has become a leader for this community and it is her amazing commitment and her successful business mind that have created a network of support for those who need it.
Shawn Wehan is the Founder and Executive Director of Future Leaders of Our Community. FLOC is an organization that brings awareness, inspiration and participation opportunities to young professionals in our community. FLOC was established in 2009 to help bridge the gap between young professionals and nonprofits so that volunteer opportunities, awareness events, and opportunities for leadership were available for all those interested in making a positive impact. FLOC has discovered great success and has partnered with over 150 nonprofits in Orange County, assisting to their needs by engaging thousands of young professionals in their causes and creating hundreds of volunteer opportunities. Each month FLOC invites an Executive Director of a local non-profit to speak to its members about service and ways to participate in the community. FLOC focuses on three areas: service, community, and leadership training. Leaders should be in service to the community, connected to the community and those who are impacted by service, and should possess the leadership qualities and tools to lead with passion and commitment. FLOC also serves as a sort of nonprofit university, offering training to improve fundraising, learn to direct and sustain a nonprofit, and how to coordinate volunteers. Shawn oversees and manages all operations and ensures all programs and trainings are held to a high level of quality. He builds relationships and makes connections so that organizations and individuals are able to serve at their highest capacity.
The Toberman Neighborhood Center is a non-profit community-based organization committed to assisting Harbor Area families and individuals by delivering life-changing services that encourage, inform, educate and empower them to live healthy and purposeful lives. Toberman Neighborhood Center offers comprehensive services that include outpatient counseling services, legal services, income tax services, and emergency food and clothing assistance. Case Managers work with clients to identify problems and then develop a plan, seek, coordinate, and monitor services from a variety of resources, community agencies and staff. Their programs for youth include an afterschool program, youth mentoring program, and Leaders in Training program. Toberman also offers parenting classes, support for grandparents as parents, family activities, and a Toyota Families learning program. Their Gang Intervention Unit was developed to increase the safety of the overall community by directly reducing gang violence and providing holistic, integrated human services. The goal of the Gang Intervention program is to build and maintain a collaborative “Peace Infrastructure” throughout the Harbor Area and to raise the quality of life in the community by creating a safer and violent free community, while redirecting the lives of youth and young adults. Toberman Neighborhood Center offers resources and care for the community that help create a healthy, safe, and supportive environment for all who live there. Accepting the award on behalf of Toberman Neighborhood Center is Sandra Rascon for her outstanding work in the afterschool programs.
Ernest Cowell is the Director and Coordinator for L.A. County and Ventura County for ESGR. ESGR, a Department of Defense program, was established in 1972 to promote cooperation and understanding between Reserve Component Service members and their civilian employers and to assist in the resolution of conflicts arising from an employee’s military commitment. ESGR has served our country for more than 40 years, fostering a culture in which all employers support and value the employment and military service of members of the National Guard and Reserve in the United States. These citizen warriors could not defend and protect us at home and abroad, without the continued promise of meaningful civilian employment for themselves and their families. Ernest is also the President of the L.A. National Cemetery Support Foundation. He helps to conduct about eight major events throughout the year. During Memorial Day they host 7000 Boy and Girl Scouts who salute each resident at each grave and place a flag at each stone. Ernest has given a lifetime of service, especially to those who serve this country.
Christy Zamani has served as the Executive Director of Day One since 2007 and her passion and extensive experience have helped improve public health. Day One is a community-based nonprofit organization with a 29-year history of providing effective, high quality and culturally-sensitive public health education, intervention, and policy development. Day One provides many programs to improve youth leadership skills, recognize the contributions of locally active youth leaders, and provides teens with the education, strategy, and empowerment to make positive change in their lives and in their communities. Their Environmental Prevention programs focus on community systems and help to improve public health, quality of life, and create healthier environments for residents. Day One also provides substance abuse prevention and control and tobacco control and prevention programs. They also provide parenting programs to help parents explore issues that affect their children, learn parenting tips, and connect with valuable resources and other parents. Day One’s programs are comprehensive and work to improve the health and well-being of the community by looking at the community as a whole. Christy’s commitment to advancing public health and her exemplary leadership have guided Day One and enhanced countless lives.
The Newport Aquatic Center was founded in 1982 as a non-profit corporation offering the public unique opportunities in the Olympic water sports of rowing, canoeing, kayaking and outrigger canoe competition. Billy has dedicated his life to serving the public, especially kids. He has created programs for Santa Ana’s inner-city kids and outrigger paddling programs for the blind. He has created camps for all ages and their desired water sport. Billy welcomes competitive Olympic athletes from around the world to train out of the Newport Aquatic Center. He trains the whole athlete, pushing people to go beyond their fears, become humble winners and gracious losers, and find joy in their sport. He creates opportunities for championships, travel, and success. Billy is described as a mentor, a coach, and a father figure. He exemplifies what he teaches: that it’s not about you, but about what you can do for others. Billy’s work keeps people happy, vibrant, and in touch with the ocean. His influence has changed lives and leads others to where they dream of going.