Wendy Tokuda has anchored and reported in the Bay Area for nearly 30 years. While Wendy retired from daily anchoring in 2010, she continues to profiles low-income, at-risk Bay Area teenagers in her series, “Students Rising Above.”
This nationally-recognized series has won the Peabody Award, a National Emmy for Public Service, the national Sigma Delta Chi Public Service Award, the NAB Education Foundation’s “Service to America” Award and most recently, the Temple Award for Creative Altruism. The series led to the creation of the non profit Students Rising Above, which has raised millions of dollars to help send these students to college.
Tokuda began her broadcasting career in Seattle as a secretary in public affairs and then as a news reporter. Next, she worked at KPIX for 14 years as an anchor/reporter, co-anchoring the first-place 6 and 11pm news. She then moved to Los Angeles and co-anchored the 6pm news for five years before returning to the Bay Area and KRON 4 in 1997 as an anchor/reporter. She returned to KPIX in 2007, anchoring the 5 o’clock news.
Tokuda’s awards include the Governors’ Award in recognition of her television work and public service during the National Association of Television Arts and Sciences’ Northern California Emmy Awards ceremony in 2010; an AP Stan Chambers Award for Extraordinary Achievement and the Good News Award from the American Women in Radio & Television, Sacramento Chapter (recognizing Broadcast News that furthers the Triumph of the Human Spirit); a Peabody award; a national Emmy for Public Service; the national Sigma Delta Chi Public Service Award; and the NAB Service to America Award. She has also won many regional awards, including seven Emmys, three first-place awards from Tri-State United Press International, two Northern California World Affairs Council Awards of Excellence, four California AP Certificates of Excellence, four first place RTNDA awards, three Peninsula Press Club awards, a Golden Mike Award, a Los Angeles Press Club Award and the Lincoln Child Center’s James Mann Award 2011 for Community Service. She has been active in and honored by many community organizations and was founding president of the Bay Area chapter of the Asian American Journalists Association. In 2010 Tokuda was honored with the RTNDA lifetime achievement award.
She attended Whitman College in Walla Walla Washington, holds a BA cum laude from the University of Washington and attended the Tokyo School of the Japanese Language. She is also the co-author of two children’s books, has two daughters and lives in Oakland.
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Living around violence in the inner city is making children sick. Kids living in high crime areas have a higher rate of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) than soldiers because they are living in “virtual combat zones”, according to Dr. Howard Spivak of the Centers for Disease Control.
Meuy Phan is graduating from Richmond High School with near-perfect grades. But her biggest accomplishment may be at home where she has grown up with the responsibilities of an adult.
In the inner city, a health problem is making it harder for young people to learn. The Centers for Disease Control said 30 percent of inner-city kids suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a medical condition that some observers outside the urban core have taken to calling “hood disease.”
When Alejandro Arechiga earned a scholarship to the prestigious College Prep High School in Oakland, it was like winning the lottery. He shares a two-bedroom apartment with five people and his single mom works very long hours as a house cleaner, often unable to afford food, tutoring, and school supplies, but now he is rising above.
“She comes home tired and it’s like, it’s been so many years of the same thing going on, just work and work and work,” Alejandro recalls. “It just definitely makes me want to strive to be better so I can help her out.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 30% of inner-city children suffer PTSD. Donza Pitre may be one of the few who was actually treated for it, after she was diagnosed at about 13 years of age.
Damont Hardnett wears a pressed white shirt, a bow tie and a heartbreaking smile when he reaches his hand out to meet you. He is a mother’s dream – especially an African American single mom who has struggled to raise him right.
Shanita Talton did a graceful twirl as she walked across the stage at Zellerbach Hall at UC Berkeley to receive her college diploma, a bachelor’s degree in Social Welfare. But that accomplishment may be secondary to what Shanita accomplished at home, raising her four younger brothers and sisters in student housing, while working on her degree.
Kimberly Armstrong looked nervous as she approached the stage at the University of San Francisco, about to get her diploma as a Law School graduate. She had good reason to be overwhelmed with the depth of her accomplishment. More than half of the foster kids in California don’t even finish high school.