On Wednesday, December 1, 2021 Project Youth OCBF held its Annual Meeting and Society of Fellows Recognition Reception at the Broadway in Irvine, a lovely outside venue.
The Honorable David O. Carter was the Master of Ceremonies, entertaining the crowd with his wit and charm. Judge Carter welcomed guests to the Project Youth OCBF Annual Meeting and Society of Fellows Reception and introduced himself as the night’s masters of ceremony. He announced that he gets the honor of presenting this year’s Sammy Award to Daniel S. Robinson and installing not one board but three Project Youth OCBF boards, the Big Board, Associate Board and an Emeritus Board. Next, Judge Carter announced with great pleasure the naming of the Emeritus Board after a long-term friend and loved one – the John B Hurlbut, Jr. Emeritus Board. Judge Carter also gave honorable mention to Brian Daucher, who received last year’s Sammy.
Judge Carter proceeded by explaining the best part of these Annual Meetings is that we get to hear from Project Youth Program participants. He started by introducing our first student speaker Vanessa Lopez 2013 Higher Education Mentoring Program graduate, UCLA graduate, HEM Mentor and an excellent example of why we all should support this program and these students. Vanessa spoke about the invaluable help she received from the Higher Education Mentoring Program and how her two brothers are also in the program, one currently at UCLA and one a senior in high school preparing for college. She thanked everyone at Project Youth OCBF who has helped her family so much.
The night continued with Todd Friedland, 2021 PY OCBF President, recapping the year 2021 as Project Youth OCBF staying strong helping the youth and families most in need in our community. Todd mentioned that under Mark Erickson’s leadership in 2020 PY OCBF significantly stepped up and provided not only our regular programs and services, but added many COVID Relief efforts such as food drives, wellness checks and mental health support services and referrals. These efforts increased in 2021 and we were also able to pilot a new vocational assistance program ICAN! (Independence, Competence, and Aptitudes, Now!), which assists at-risk, transition-age youth (ages 16-21) to identify their vocational interests and complete career training at a designated trade school, technical institute, or community college vocational program.
Todd introduced two of our ICAN! youth, Freddie Lopez and Emily Martinez, and a STOP SHORT of Addiction success, Raul Cerda. All three participants came and shared their gratitude for the support they received from Project Youth OCBF.
Lastly, Todd thanked everyone who has joined our Elevate Educate Empower Campaign which will help us stay relevant for another 50 years providing our outstanding youth programs. He gave special thanks to campaign chairs – Pat & Judy Ryan, Al & Cindy Stokke, and Jim & Linda Skorheim. And announced new for 2022, Eric & Pamela Traut will join this dream team as campaign chairs.
Next up was Andrea Paris, 2021 Associate Board President. Andrea announced that the Associate Board held two fundraisers, Game Day and Brewfest, raising over $36,000 for the Higher Education Mentoring Program. Last, but certainly not least, she mentioned that each year the Associate Board raises money for Higher Education Mentoring Program student scholarships and Amazon Gift cards for college supplies.
Andrea had the pleasure of awarding the Project Youth OCBF’s Volunteer Excellence Award to Eddie Quillares, Jr. She thanked him for believing in our mission and for his loyal and continual support.
Eddie started with Project Youth OCBF as an Associate Board Member and now contributes as a Board Member. Andrea commented that It is no secret how fortunate we have been to have the support of Eddie for our Brewfest fundraisers. She is not sure how or why he has so much access to donated beer, but we are grateful he secures this fantastic brew for us each year. Through Eddie’s generosity and dedication to Project Youth OCBF we generate more funds for our education, diversion and health programs.
Judge Carter returned to give out one more prestigious award– this is the coveted Legal Eagle Trophy awarded to the best golfers. This year’s trophy goes to Don Morrow’s Team. Don proudly accepted the Legal Eagle Trophy.
Mark Erickson spoke next, awarding the Distinguished Society of Fellows Judicial Fellows Award to this year’s recipient, the Honorable John Gastelum. He was recognized for his outstanding efforts on behalf of the Orange County community and his example of our Project Youth OCBF values. Judge Gastelum has been a long-term supporter of Project Youth OCBF and is a judicial Society of Fellows member.
The night came to an end with Judge Carter swearing in members of the 2022 Board Executive Officers & new board members, 2022 Associate Board Executive Officers & new board members and the 2022 John B. Hurlbut Jr. Emeritus Board Members.