Courtesy of the Youth Alliance:
Youth Alliance is hosting the annual Change Makers event on Saturday, September 22, 2018. The event will be hosted at the Willey Cultural Center in downtown Gilroy beginning at 4 p.m.
The event will feature live entertainment, raffles, auctions, wine and beer tastings, celebration of Change Makers, and a special recognition of a nominated community member for their outstanding and exemplary work. Proceeds of the event will benefit the Youth Alliance whose mission is provide innovative and culturally relevant services that strengthen and enrich youth, families, and the community.
Youth Alliance is raising funds to sustain and expand its outreach, scholarships, and highly needed youth support services in Gilroy, Morgan Hill and San Benito County. Youth Alliance services seek to provide a continuum of support that includes after-school, summer, and late-night prevention programs, bilingual counseling and case management, and intervention programs serving at-promise youth in the juvenile justice system. Youth Alliance is committed to having all programs and supports available at no cost to any family in need. YA is also engaged in systems change efforts like Restorative Justice and advancing educational equity by working with youth, parents, and allies across the region and statewide.
At this year’s Change Makers event, we will be honoring local youth, Cisco Locsin, as the recipient of the 2018 Youth Inspiration Award. Cisco has been part of YA’s Youth Empowerment Project for almost four years and has become an inspiration to both his peers and mentors. YA staff are awed by his commitment to giving back despite the many challenges he and his family have undergone. “Cisco has grown exponentially. Over the past year Cisco has expanded his skills and become even more of a leader as a volunteer mentor at Positive Calles”, a late night gym program run in partnership with the South County Youth Task Force. In 2016, when he was kicked off the high school football team because of his grades, Cisco sought support and worked diligently to get back on track. Now, even on the football field, Cisco’s leadership and positive sportsmanship is a role model to others. Not only was he able to learn from his situation, but he used his experience as a teaching moment for himself and others. As as Senior, he hopes to be able to attend college and continue to play football.
Youth Alliance is proud to honor Mr. Don Christopher, owner of Christopher Ranch, as the 2018 Change Maker. Mr. Christopher is an active philanthropist and change agent in the community supporting youth and education in numerous ways over the years. Some of his most notable philanthropic endeavors include the Don Christopher Fund for Christopher High School, $150,000 to the Gilroy Foundation to make structural improvements on the Gilroy Center for the Arts, and another $150,000 to a fund “wish list” for the needs of Christopher High School and Gilroy High School. Mr. Christopher has also launched a scholarship program for incoming college students and has most recently donated an estimated $3.8 million for the construction of the Don Christopher Sports Complex at Christopher High School. It’s not only his generosity that makes Mr. Christopher a Change Maker. He has inspired the next generation of giving in his family, who have also been steadfast supporters of children and youth. Mr. Christopher’s inspiring leadership to ‘give where you live’ exemplifies YA’s vision. It is a true honor to be able to recognize his hard work and commitment to community.
Additionally, Youth Alliance will be honoring Ms. Kanyon Sayers-Roods (aka Hahashkani-Coyote Woman in Chumash), of Costanoan Ohlone and Chumash ancestry. Kanyon is an artist, poet, author, activist, student and teacher. Daughter of renowned Ohlone elder, Ann-Marie Sayers, Kanyon was raised on the trust lands of Indian Canyon, near Hollister, California. Her art has been widely exhibited, including in such prestigious venues as the De Young Museum and The Somarts Gallery. Kanyon believes in making “a difference in the lives of others by sharing my life experiences and knowledge about California Native Americans. I have the gift of communication, and challenge myself to utilize this gift to deliver powerfully effective messages for others. My personal mission, which I intend to carry-out in my career, is to contribute toward the goal of global education with emphasis on promoting understanding of the relationship between humanity and the natural world.” Youth Alliance is proud to honor such a talented individual who has shown outstanding leadership and dedication to youth, families, and Native Communities both locally and abroad. “Kanyon’s enduring commitment and advocacy has been an inspiration to many as she continues to lift up indigenous culture through art, music, and activism,” Diane Ortiz, Executive Director.
Tickets are now on sale through our Youth Alliance website at www.youthall.org, or can be purchased at the YA Administrative Office at 310 Fourth Street in Hollister, by phone, or email. Please visit youthall.org for more information. The event is sure to be a night of fun and excitement; we hope you will join us in celebrating our honorees, and supporting our local youth and families!
Youth Alliance (YA) was founded in 1995 as a grassroots movement to provide resources for local youth. Since then, Youth Alliance has grown to be an agency that benefits over 6,500 children and families each year in primarily underserved and under resourced areas of San Benito and South Santa Clara Counties.
YA’s mission is to provide innovative and culturally relevant services that strengthen and enrich youth, families, and the community. Our vision is to support youth as leaders who contribute to the social and economic betterment of their community. We believe that in order to develop strong youth leaders, we must work to build safe and supportive schools, neighborhoods, and communities with innovative support networks that guide and challenge youth to expand their understanding of themselves, others, and their own capabilities.