Young “hearts” beat strong in our communities…
Resilience in the face of adversity is a virtue that has become invaluable given the turbulent climate of our everyday lives. Life-threatening illnesses. Mental health challenges. Natural disasters and many other countless forms and degrees of personal hardship. I am sure many of you can relate to the compassion fatigue that seems to have hit me more so this last year than ever before.
Despite the hardships we may face, I find solace in knowing that I am surrounded by such genuine and altruistic hearts in my nonprofit community. I cannot express my gratitude enough for those of you who have dedicated your lives to lift our most vulnerable populations, endangered lands, and cultural institutions. It is an honor, as CVNL’s Event Coordinator, to play a little part in recognizing our community’s unsung heroes. Through our annual Heart of Marin and Heart of Napa Awards, we are able to honor nonprofits and the passionate individuals who serve them. In addition to granting $57,500 back into the sector annually, CVNL takes the time to spread some necessary stories of compassion and perseverance.
Each year while producing these awards ceremonies, the group of individuals that bring me the most satisfaction and inspiration in my job are our young leaders. I believe that young people play an integral part in addressing some of our global challenges and steering the world in a positive direction. Through CVNL’s Heart Events in both Marin and Napa Counties, we are able to recognize full-time middle and high school aged students for their volunteerism and philanthropic efforts in either the community, education or faith environment.
Ten students are annually selected for the prestigious honor as Youth Volunteers of the Year and are awarded $1,000 scholarships. I’ve stayed in touch with previous winners who took this money to grow the nonprofits they founded, donate to neighboring communities affected by natural disasters, and invest in themselves to continue their education.
Christopher Olivier, a previous award recipient, continued to use the tools and resources provided by CVNL through our fund development workshops and volunteer fairs to expand the impact of the multiple organizations he supports. Christopher is now volunteering his time as a judge for this year’s 4th Annual Heart of Napa Awards where he will be paying it forward and awarding another group of students the same scholarship that he won in March of 2018. When asked what value he sees in giving back to his community, Christopher said:
There’s a social obligation to ‘do the right thing’ but for me it’s what I enjoy and it’s what I’m passionate about. My passion drives these projects of collecting books, sharing and teaching robotics, and hosting holiday card drives. It’s what needs to happen in my community to spread joy and happiness across Napa.
With the aspirations to attend Harvey Mudd College and study Engineering, I cannot wait to see where this young man takes his philanthropic spirit.
To those who nominate each year or give as sponsors: you each have helped raise awareness and spread inspiration across the Bay Area. Queen of the Valley Medical Center supported as a Gold Table Sponsor at last year’s Heart of Napa which allowed youth nominees the opportunity to celebrate with friends and family. Marin Community Foundation’s participation as an Award Sponsor for the Heart of Marin helped North Marin Community Services put $5,000 towards their Teacher Wage Equity Fund. These events are a true gift that keeps on giving. Through all of your actions, you are helping us achieve our vision of a community engaged in positive change and transformed by service.
Thank you, and we look forward to joining all of our community partners in celebration at the 4th Annual Heart of Napa Awards on March 14, 2019. For more information on this year’s event or to reserve your seats today, visit www.cvnl.org/2018HeartofNapa.
Melissa Stoakley, Executive Assistant & Event Manager