(CBS) – The end of 2010 marks a full six years that we’ve been profiling the Bay Area Jefferson Award winners on CBS5. This year’s group has been just as inspiring as our very first recipients. As we look forward to a new year of stories, Kate Kelly has a look back at some of 2010’s more creative local heroes.
First, we remember the work twin brothers Bill and Dave Bockholt do by finding the ideal purpose for old vehicles they no longer use at their Foster City ambulance business. By donating ambulances to poor communities in Honduras, Nicaragua, Mexico and East Africa, these twins are helping save lives.
“If you get a picture or phone call saying they made it that feels good in itself. Like wow, that ambulance still had a lot of life in it,“ Bill Bockholt says. “The looks you see on their face and the response receiving the vehicles is just amazing. They really appreciate it.”
Veronica Pope uses cars in an entirely different way to help young people already on the path to trouble through her non-profit People Who Care. Through weekend car washes teens required to work off community service are given a second chance thanks to Veronica’s program.
“I wanted to empower them and show them that they have a right to be safe, strong and free—free of not being caught up in the hang ups that you’ve been poorly labeled with,” Veronica says.
Empowering another group society often underestimates, Ben Oude Kamphuis is giving guidance to the disabled by teaching them to grow organic vegetables and cook them at a greenhouse in San Francisco.
Ben says, “What a gift for me, being outside in Golden Gate Park all day long, growing organic vegetables for a community that struggles with many challenges in life.”
Babies born with more than their fair share of challenges are getting more time with their families thanks to Sue Shoff’s idea for Good Samaritan Hospital in San Jose. Her “ACCESS” program provides food and gas vouchers, transportation, even overnight stays so parents can make the trip to see their infants in the NIC-U.
“It feels really satisfying,” Sue says. “I just never thought there should be barriers to visiting your own child. And we’ve been able to remove a lot of these barriers.”
And even more barriers go down when Juan Carlos Arauz gathers struggling students from classrooms around the Bay Area. His San Rafael based “E-3” or “Educational Excellence and Equity” program teaches these kids leadership skills, anger management, and conflict meditation.
“Those students who are at risk behavior, at risk environment, least likely to succeed, and let’s work with them because there are a lot of folks working with kids who are at risk with potential,” Juan says.
The results of Juan’s “E-3” program- better students with fewer behavior problems and many more goals.
One thing we’ve learned in the last six years, all of these Jefferson Awards are going to make a big difference. Our thanks to you for being a reader, viewer and supporter so we can continue to tell the stories of unsung heroes in our community. We look forward to bringing you more stories in the New Year.
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