The city of Dublin recently announced the 2022 winners for its Volunteer Recognition Awards, including Citizen of the Year, Young Citizen of the Year and Organization of the Year.
Aiming to highlight people and groups who have gone above and beyond for their community, the city distributes the awards annually. The awards are meant to congratulate outstanding volunteer and social work done locally that increases residents' quality of life.
A ceremony held on March 1 named each recipient by category, as well as two special awards given by the Mayor Melissa Hernandez's office known as the Mayor's Award and Mayor's Legacy Award.
"The city of Dublin is grateful for the many volunteer organizations and individuals who give of their time in support of the Dublin community. Our many volunteers fill many needs and support a wide variety of causes. They are often the unsung heroes, and the Volunteer Recognition Event is one way to honor them and thank them for their efforts," city communications officer Shari Jackman said.
"Each December, the city of Dublin issues a call for nominations for each of the three categories. For the sake of impartiality, we ask a panel of judges from outside of Dublin to review all of the nominations and score them based on a list of criteria," Jackman added.
Criteria for the awards may include time and effort, community relevance, originality and obstacles endured.
First-year Dublin Unified School District board member Kristin Speck received the Citizen of the Year award. In addition to serving on the school board, Speck is chairperson of the Parks and Community Commission and actively engages in volunteer outreach.
The Young Citizen award is given for volunteer service done by youth ages 5 to 18. Yashas Shashidhara, who serves as the Mayor's Council environmental advocacy lead, was selected for this year's award. Shashidhara has been involved in a number of environmentally-aimed projects, including "Recycle my Battery", which has collected and reused over 1,000 pounds of electronic waste in the region.
Above and Beyond Leadership Education, recipient of Organization of the Year, is a student-run volunteer and leadership program with Dublin High School. The group regularly organizes various community-based projects and works with local officials to give back through volunteerism.
The Mayor's Award was presented to Katie Cheng, a current senior at Dublin High School. She is well-known in the community for education advocacy and has served for several terms as DUSD student representative. Cheng was selected for her dedication and work within the city in the past year, Jackman said.
Erik Bertelson, longtime teacher at Wells Middle School, received the Mayor's Legacy Award. "The Mayor's Legacy Award is another special award that the mayor presents to an individual or group to recognize extraordinary, long-term dedication to the Dublin community," Jackman added.
"The city of Dublin's Volunteer Recognition Awards began in 1986. The first Citizen of the Year was Tom McCormick, and the Dublin High Irish Guard Band Boosters were named Organization of the Year," Jackman told the Weekly. "The Young Citizen of the Year Award was then later introduced in 2006, and Mariko McCully was the first recipient of that award."
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