During the 29th Annual César E. Chávez Commemorative Celebration
On April 4, 2023, the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors honored César E. Chávez’s legacy and a group of students as part of the Youth Hall of Fame Award during the 29th Annual César E. Chávez Commemorative Celebration. This year’s theme was Hope and Healing – Esperanza y Bienestar. (See event video here)
The festival featured keynote speaker Genoveva Garcia Calloway, a community leader, former Mayor of San Pablo and behavioral health professional, who shared her perspective on César E. Chávez’s legacy. The event included a presentation of the 2023 Youth Hall of Fame Awards to students who have made outstanding community contributions, live performances by Mariachi Monumental and Ballet Folklórico Netzahualcoyotl, and celebratory remarks from members of the Board of Supervisors.
Four of the award winners were in attendance while five others provided videos offering thanks for the honor that were shown during the event.
2023 Youth Hall of Fame Award Winners
High School Awardees
Leadership & Civic Engagement – Anay Pant
Anay Pant is an 11th grade student at Athenian School in Danville, and from the start, it was abundantly clear that he had a keen interest in being engaged with his community. Anay has been involved in a host of activities in which he has eagerly volunteered for.
It started on Election Day 2022 when Anay volunteered to be a poll watcher in Contra Costa County and his engagement only gained momentum since. With a keen interest in getting more young people tuned into what’s happening around them, he developed an app called Qrated, to keep his peers up to date on local events. Along with his app, Anay is planning a TEDx talk to promote the app to students around the Bay Area. Additionally, he will be hosting a Youth TEDx forum at Athenian to encourage his young peers to lean into civic engagement at the local level.
Anay is a natural leader amongst his peers and inspires others with his energy and tenacity to do good in his community.
Teamwork – Prisha Purohit
San Ramon Valley High School Junior Prisha Purohit is no stranger to working with others. She is actively engaged with several school and community organizations that are dedicated to the betterment of her peers and the community at large. Prisha serves on the executive board for the Golden Bear Foundation and as President of the Danville Chapter. GPF is a charitable organization, founded by high school students, that helps provide care to economically disadvantaged persons through charitable giving. Prisha worked alongside other members to organize clothing and school supply drives for local families in need.
Prisha supports other students at her high school by providing clarity and bringing them closer to their academic goals as a peer tutor. She provides a reassuring voice to students who start the year late, helping them catch up with their classmates. Prisha has also created a school club for lovers of tea and philosophy. Cleverly named Philosotea, members meet over lunch and are encouraged to sample new teas and discuss philosophical ideas, concepts, and media.
Outside of school, Prisha volunteers her time as part of the local library’s Teen Advisory Club. As a teen advisor, she works with library staff to develop teen programs, expand the young adult collections, and improve services the library can offer teens. No photo or video of Prisha was provided.
Perseverance – Anayely Arreola Caldera
Anayely has been described as a fighter. She has not had an easy path in her young life. Through her encounters growing up she decided early on to see herself through adversity and was determined to become a success story. Anayely is in her senior year at Liberty High School in Brentwood and will be the first in her family to attend college.
Anayely is also the first in her family to play a competitive sport. She runs track on Liberty High’s team and always looks forward to training. She continues to push herself to do her best when she’s out on the track, for both her and her teammates. Participating and playing a sport is truly a privilege not lost on Anayely and she recognizes that not all kids have the opportunity to do so. Anayely can often be found spending her extra time in school clubs and sports as she is working to help support herself through college with a track scholarship.
In addition to her love for track, Ana’s favorite subject is English. Her goal is to be a lawyer and she notes that the reading comprehension and critical thinking skills learned in English will be invaluable to her future career path. Anayely understands the power of being a role model to her younger sister. She strives to show her sister that you can achieve anything you set your mind to.
Volunteerism – Frances Kellman-Lima
Frances Kellman-Lima is a Senior at El Cerrito High School, where she consistently achieves top grades and is involved in a wide range of extracurricular activities. She acts as a Peer Counselor and Conflict Mediator, and was selected as a “Culture Keeper” mentor. Culture Keepers are youth leaders trained in dynamic mindfulness and restorative practices who work to transform the school’s culture and put an end to the “school-to-prison pipeline.”
For the last year and a half, Frances has been a standout voice on the topic of teen dating violence. She began as a member of a school-led support group, before joining Contra Costa County’s Youth Against Violence leadership group. She regularly goes out of her way to help other leaders in the group, presents great ideas, and displays strong leadership skills. Frances also takes time to volunteer at a preschool, specifically working with children who are living with intellectual and developmental delays.
Outside of school and volunteering, Frances has taken a Latino psychology class and was a teaching assistant for a cognitive neuroscience class at UC Berkeley, both of which she hopes to utilize for helping others.
Good Samaritan – Aria Capelli
Aria is co-founder of a non-profit called Meaningful Teens which connects teens with volunteer opportunities where they can make a real difference. Meaningful Teens offers a literacy and math platform Aria created which has been a wonderment in this time of COVID-19. Her compassion to help the underserved and to lead a group of young people from diverse backgrounds to reach a common goal has been remarkable.
Fueled by a passion to meet the needs of others, Aria saw opportunities in the distant learning modality even as others viewed its limitations. She recognized the hardships and life challenges that low-income families and immigrants face. Being open-minded, she brought her vision of bringing literacy and math instruction over a Zoom one-to-one platform to reality by tutoring underserved students in low-income housing, immigrants, and refugee communities. To ensure the quality of the lessons, she recruited credentialed teachers to roam the breakout rooms, while Aria aided anyone in need of help, thus providing on-the-spot solutions to problems.
Over the past three years Meaningful Teens has grown from a small project with four friends to a huge success with over 1,900 high school and college volunteer tutors from around the United States with almost 1,500 student-learners worldwide. As Meaningful Teens continues to expand and grow, Aria keeps the students, and their needs, at the forefront.
Perseverance – Jered E. Clark
Jered Clark currently attends Black Diamond Middle School in Antioch where he holds a 4.0 GPA and will be graduating with his 8th grade class at the end of this school year. He is a self-motivated person who is determined, outgoing, intelligent, and a stand-up scholar. He takes initiative to work on his assignments as well as his extracurricular activities which include volunteering with local nonprofits and playing volleyball.
At two years of age, Jered was a victim of child neglect and diagnosed with behavioral challenges. After tragically losing his parents to domestic violence, he entered the foster care system. Today he faces obstacles head on, remains focused and determined to overcome barriers. His perseverance at just 14 years old clearly shows he has a bright future ahead of him.
Teamwork – Zihan Cherry Chou
Zihan Cherry Chou is an 8th grade honor student at Adams Middle School in Brentwood. She has been volunteering with NAMI Contra Costa for over 4 years and has been invaluable to their organization and the clients they serve. Cherry has a kind and gentle spirit and is always eager to assist where she can. She is a glowing example of the characteristics you hope to see in both youth and adults.
Cherry is passionate about building mental health friendly communities and works to eliminate mental health stigma and discrimination. She is non-judgmental and recognizes love and compassion should be shown to those impacted by mental health challenges. Cherry is part of NAMI’s Outreach Team which provides services and supplies for those who are unsheltered. She helps distribute food, personal hygiene products, and aids with their pets as well.
Cherry has been a presenter at NAMI Contra Costa Suicide Prevention events and advocates for youth mental health in all her activities. While Cherry is warm-hearted and a happy child, she has also experienced an emotionally trying time in her life. She immigrated from China to the United States with her parents when she was 7 years old. Adapting to an unfamiliar environment, with language barriers and cultural differences was challenging. She experienced repeated bullying in elementary school. Remaining optimistic, she got through this time in her life with bravery and strength. She doesn’t want others to experience what she did, so she makes it a point to welcome new students and takes initiative to introduce them to their new school.
Leadership & Civic Engagement – Carter Considine
Carter Considine is a 9th grade student from Lafayette and has started three organizations with helping the community in mind, Teen Art Market, Meaningful Teen, and Humon.
When Carter started Teen Art Market, it was inspired by local youth artists needing to promote their work. Teen Art Market is an online platform that allows teen artists to share their work and connect directly with art enthusiasts, buyers, and other artists.
Carter also co-founded an online nonprofit called Meaningful Teens during the pandemic. Unable to continue the weekly in-person ELL tutoring program at the senior center in Walnut Creek, it became virtual. Since then, the program includes 1,800 + youth tutors and 800+ students, many of the tutors are based in Contra Costa County. Now, tutors are paired up with other non-profits, educational institution serving low-income communities increasing their footprint and positively impacting the lives of many other young people.
Today, Carter is starting an app, Humon, linking people with different perspectives to come into community by identifying commonalities. This app works with a wrist device that lights up when people nearby have certain commonalities, expected to be available on the Apple app store very soon.
Volunteerism – Makenzie Lee Foster
Makenzie is a homeschooled straight A 6th grade student who balances her school time with acting, writing books, and volunteering to read books to others.
Makenzie has written three books, two of which have been published and available on Amazon. She embodies what she writes about in her books; Kickin’ it With Kenzie – What’s Meant for Me Will Be, Kickin’ it with Kenzie – Luckily My Luck is Me! And Seeing Me is Believing in Me!
Makenzie has partnered with First 5 of California and has visited over 20 classrooms as well as UCSF Children’s Hospital. She visits with the children and reads her books to them, sharing how important it is to foster a love of reading and encouraging them to follow their dreams. With each visit, she donates copies of her book along with mini bookmarks and encourages kids to create their own stories.
Good Samaritan – Gianna Baglieri
Gianna is a 3rd grade student at Rio Vista Elementary in Bay Point. According to those who know her, Gianna demonstrates excellent problem-solving skills and leadership for such a young age. She is a kind friend and cares for others. She befriends new students, so they won’t feel alone.
For more information see the 29th César E. Chávez Program.