The California Wellness Foundation is proud to present its 2012 California Peace Prize honorees. Each receives a cash award of $25,000 as an acknowledgment of their commitment to prevent violence and promote peace in their communities.
Elder Michael Cummings, also known as "Big Mike," is a violence prevention specialist who uses his leadership skills, personal history and deep roots in the community to create safe streets for youth and opportunities for families in Watts, a neighborhood of Los Angeles, California. Together with his wife, Sauna, Cummings founded We Care Outreach Ministries in 1999, a nonprofit organization working to improve the quality of life for residents, restore hope and strengthen families. In addition to running his own tow truck business, he leads two community programs: Safe Passages and Project Fatherhood.
For more than two decades, Kevin Grant has worked to help youth and adults involved in the juvenile justice system and individuals living in Oakland's most impoverished neighborhoods find alternatives to violence and crime and live healthier lives. Grant is a renowned expert in street outreach, violence mediation and the development of re-entry programs. As a consultant, he provides probation and parole re-entry services and conducts trainings and workshops for law enforcement agencies, community service providers and school districts at the local, state and federal levels. Grant also serves as violence prevention network coordinator for Measure Y, which was passed by Oakland's voters in 2004 to fund violence prevention and public safety.
The late Dr. Su Yon Park was a licensed psychologist and clinical coordinator at Children's Hospital and Research Center Oakland (CHRCO), which she joined in 2004 to help create a mental health clinic on the campus of Youth UpRising, adjacent to Oakland's Castlemont High School. Working with youth living in a community plagued by poverty, violence and high rates of post-traumatic stress disorder, she helped to normalize mental health by systematically making it more accessible. As a result, the mental health utilization at Youth UpRising/Castlemont Health Center is now the highest among Alameda County's adolescent health clinics.