FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Laurie Kappe
$25,000 Cash Awards Honor Unsung Heroes of Violence Prevention
San Francisco – Ray Balberan is an expert at bringing together San Francisco city leaders, law enforcement officials, caseworkers and community members to create programs that save lives. Dedicating her life to helping the underserved, Priscilla Carrasquilla oversaw a tattoo removal program that gives youth a second chance in San Jose. A small farm educator and agricultural researcher, Manuel Jimenez uses his passion for growing plants to prevent violence by putting youth to work creating community gardens in Woodlake.
On November 17, The California Wellness Foundation (TCWF) will honor these three community leaders with its 19th annual California Peace Prize at a ceremony in San Francisco. In recognition of their efforts to prevent violence and promote peace, the honorees will each receive a cash award of $25,000. Profiles, photographs and video of the honorees can be accessed here.
"These honorees are leading the way with innovative programs that help young people while preventing violence in their communities," said Gary L. Yates, president and CEO of TCWF. "They represent the thousands of unsung heroes dedicated to improving the health and well-being of California's youth."
Now retired, Ray Balberan serves as a community elder — building on more than three decades of achievement in violence prevention and public health through advocacy and mentorship. Currently, Balberan consults for Arriba Juntos's Northwest Community Response Network, a San Francisco collaborative that coordinates street outreach, health, re-entry and other services for youth and families. He also consults with La Clínica de la Raza, a community-based clinic with locations throughout Alameda, Contra Costa and Solano counties.
"Community-based services are critical to stopping violence and must be developed and driven by the community," Balberan said.
Priscilla Carrasquilla deeply values forgiveness and providing support to young people who are ready for change. For 15 years, she ran the Clean Slate Tattoo Removal Program at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center (SCVMC) in partnership with the city of San Jose, Mayor's Gang Prevention Task Force. The program removes gang tattoos, which can often inhibit young people from trying to get ahead or search for jobs.
"My nursing career is dedicated to bringing Jesus' love to the needy," Carrasquilla said. "Our tattoo removal program brings that love as a second chance."
Manuel Jimenez is an agricultural expert and lifelong Woodlake resident who provides direction to youth by teaching them about responsibility, leadership, confidence and respect through gardening. His efforts have helped reduce violence in Tulare County. Jimenez is a farm advisor for the Small Farms Program within the county's University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE). In 1993, Jimenez, together with his wife, Olga, founded Woodlake Pride, a volunteer organization that prevents violence by putting youth to work in innovative beautification projects throughout the community.
"We get kids involved in doing something positive," Jimenez said. "Our goal is to plant gardens, grow kids and grow a community."
The California Wellness Foundation is a private independent foundation created in 1992, with a mission to improve the health of the people of California by making grants for health promotion, wellness education and disease prevention.
The Foundation prioritizes eight issues for funding: diversity in the health professions, environmental health, healthy aging, mental health, teenage pregnancy prevention, violence prevention, women's health, and work and health. It also responds to timely issues and special projects outside the funding priorities.
Since its founding, TCWF has awarded 6,213 grants totaling more than $780 million. It is one of the state's largest private foundations. Please visit TCWF's website at www.CalWellness.org for more information, including a newsroom section devoted to the California Peace Prize and the three honorees. High-resolution photos are also available.
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