Jefferson Award Winner Founded 'Civic Pride' To Build CommunityBy Sharon Chin

OAKLAND (KPIX 5) Knowledge is power. With this message, Carol Lee Tolbert inspires high school students like Kamahni Booze of Miramonte High School in Orinda.

“You can reach any goal you have in the future no matter what happens,” Booze said with confidence.

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Students learn to become responsible citizens at events like a Youth Leadership conference organized by Mrs. Tolbert. She is executive director of Civic Pride, the Oakland-based nonprofit she founded in 1989.

“Our mission of Civic Pride is making communities better places to live, work and grow,” she explained.

Teenagers discover opportunities in service and education, from the peace corps to college.

Sixteen-year-old Ram Disabar, Jr. of Emeryville takes home a road map to higher education.

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“I know now how to network and have a good personal statement and get good grades,” the student reported.

The conference is just one of the many programs Civic Pride has started over the years to help young people become community leaders. Mrs. Tolbert, an education consultant has held events for different ages: art contests, back to school giveaways, resource fairs, and scholarship and mentoring programs funded with private and corporate donations.

Volunteer speaker and teacher Fred Steen says Mrs. Tolbert inspires students to want success, and offers the necessary tools.

“I think her commitment is basically a heart of caring, a heart of love, wanting to see them succeed,” he said.

Mrs. Tolbert, a former teacher and Board of Education member, has seen many Civic Pride students grow into professionals, mentors and leaders. She says her greatest hope for them is that they give back too.

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So for giving young people the keys to succeed and give back, this week’s Jefferson Award in the Bay Area goes to Carol Lee Tolbert.