2020 Spirit of Volunteerism Awards: Cindy Stokke

April 7, 2020 | Blog, OCBF News

Honored By: Project Youth OCBF (Orange County Bar Foundation)
Cause Area: Youth Services

Cindy Stokke’s involvement with Project Youth OCBF began with participation in the many fun and memorable Fashion Show Fundraisers from 1989-1996 at South Coast and Main Place Mall which were generously sponsored by Nordstrom and which raised awareness of Project Youth OCBF diversion and educational programs in Orange County. For Cindy, participation in the fashion shows gave her the chance to do good for the community by raising funds to support the programs of Project Youth OCBF. Together with her husband, Al Stokke, they continued their involvement as board members and as Presidents; Cindy in 1999 and Al in 2006. Their commitment strengthened as they witnessed positive changes in so many youth that went through the SHORTSTOP/STOP SHORT of Addiction programs, Project SELF (Summer Employment in Law Firms) and the Higher Education Mentoring Program. Cindy tells others of her first-hand experience of seeing troubled kids turn their lives around. Families becoming closer. Students transformed into future college graduates merely by walking into law firms and working during the summer and experiencing a professional work environment, an experience they never thought possible. As Cindy became more involved with Project Youth OCBF she learned and appreciated the basic message that is communicated to the youth involved in the programs of Project Youth OCBF. Take responsibility for your actions. Get an education. Treat people with respect. These values along with the importance of educating and involving the parents resonated with Cindy. She realized the most important element of Project Youth OCBF was parental involvement. This she believes is key to the success of Project Youth OCBF programs. Another major contribution from Cindy came as she realized the importance of individual giving that would help to sustain Project Youth OCBF and ensure that it would continue to provide programs to our youth for many years. She reached out to board members and attorneys in Orange County and successfully established the Founding Members of the Society of Fellows. To this day, the Society of Fellows has successfully raised over $440,000 in the last 12 years to fund Project Youth OCBF diversion, education and health programs. In 2004, Al and Cindy, as founding board members of the OC Marathon, introduced Project Youth OCBF to an opportunity to raise money for their programs through the OC Marathon. In the 13 years of Cindy and Al’s involvement with the OC Marathon, over $628,000 has been raised for Project Youth OCBF programs. Cindy was instrumental in Project Youth OCBF’s most recent collaboration with Hoag Hospital, which is now providing funding and space at the Melinda Hoag Smith Community Center in Costa Mesa for the SHORTSTOP and Madres Unidas programs to serve Costa Mesa and Newport Beach area youth and families. Cindy saw a need for Project Youth OCBF to be part of this national model for provision of services to the community and made it happen. Today, Cindy participates in all Project Youth OCBF fundraisers to raise funds and awareness. She also co-chairs the Project Youth OCBF comprehensive campaign helping to raise $5 million in new funding over 3 years. Cindy chaired the 2014 strategic planning committee which successfully guided Project Youth OCBF for 5 years and is currently chairing the 2020 strategic planning committee to take Project Youth OCBF into the future. She is one of the great philanthropic volunteers in the history of Orange County, and Project Youth OCBF is humbled and grateful to benefit from her generosity and tremendous volunteer efforts.