The KIDS Network is proud to announce the winners of the Santa Barbara County 2011 Youth Impact
Awards. This year’s recipients are Pete Chaconas
, Matthew Wagonhurst, and the Santa Barbara Youth Council. (For more information on the good work of the winners, please read at the bottom of the page)
Every year the KIDS Network – a countywide umbrella organization including members from public
agencies, the courts, law enforcement, education, community-based organizations, school-linked
programs and parent groups – honors young people for their contributions to the community. The
annual Youth Impact Awards celebrate youth who have made a significant positive impact on their
communities in Santa Barbara County. Nominations are received from members of the community, and all young people ages ten through eighteen living or attending school in Santa Barbara County qualify.
The nominees’ contributions were assessed based on the positive impact their actions have had on their Santa Barbara County communities. Winners were chosen by a selection committee comprised of KIDS Network members who remain anonymous to ensure that the process is unbiased. The selection process was challenging due to the remarkable achievements of so many young people in the county. In addition to this year’s winners, the selection committee also recommended honoring three distinctive nominees who, while not named award recipients, stood out for their dedicated service and commitment to creating positive change. These three honorable mentions go to Nathalie Mitchell, Michael Yi and the Santa Maria Police Activities League Key Club.
This year’s Youth Impact Awards celebration is made possible thanks to collaboration and support from members of the KIDS Network, including the Santa Barbara County Education Office and the Santa Barbara County Probation Department. Light refreshments will be prepared by the Probation
Department’s Los Prietos Boys Camp and Academy’s Culinary Arts Program. Through the Culinary Arts
Program, wards of Los Prietos Boys Camp are selected to work in the kitchen, where they are
responsible for skillfully preparing meals that are pleasing to both the palate and the eye. The boys are introduced via hands-on training to all aspects of the culinary experience, including preparation,
presentation, cooking, cleanup, food safety and storage.
Winners will be honored with an award at the annual KIDS Network Youth Impact Awards at the SBCEO Auditorium in Santa Barbara from 4 to 5:30pm on February 29, 2012. All nominees will receive a certificate and acknowledgement at the Awards celebration, where winners will present brief highlights of their work in the community.
The Awards celebration is free; all who would like to attend in support of youth making a difference should RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org or 805.346.8356 by February 16, 2012.
For more information on the event, please contact KIDS Network at 805.346.8356.
2011 Youth Impact Award Winners
Pete Chaconas: This senior at Santa Barbara High School is the Walk and Roll Coordinator for Don’s Net Café. As a “bike ambassador” on campus, he promotes affordable and sustainable transportation to youth by spreading the word about the weekly Do-It-Yourself community bike shop called SBici Centro, doing surveys on campus, attending a monthly bike education meeting and using a variety of media to educate the community on the benefits of riding a bike to get around scenic Santa Barbara. Pete was the main organizer of a welcoming event for Sara Solo on her School Food Bike Tour. Because of Pete’s outreach and encouragement, several students – not all bikers – are now regulars at SBici, learning new skills, fixing bikes and beginning to ride.
Nominator: Ms. Christine Bourgeois
Contact Information: 805.699.6301; email@example.com
Three years ago, Matthew Wagonhurst founded the annual Santa Barbara Sports Drive, a local sports equipment and clothing drive designed to help get kids off the street and into sports, increase membership in the Boys and Girls Clubs, and recycle sports equipment. Through the effort he started, thousands of gently used or new pieces of sports equipment and items of clothing have been donated directly to over 1500 kids in the community. Now a Santa Barbara High School junior, Matt has recruited 40 of his friends – the Sports Drive Team – to help collect and distribute the items directly to kids from families with low incomes at the annual festive event. Matt and his Sports Drive Team have established a scholarship fund for kids to join the local Boys and Girls Club, developed a website
and an online toolkit to encourage other communities to hold local sports drives, recruited local business sponsors to help with overhead costs, and developed a video on the benefits of sports drives to communities. The 3rd annual Santa Barbara Sports Drive will be held February 25, 2012.
Nominator: Ms. Susan Snyder
Contact Information: 805.966.9101; firstname.lastname@example.org
Santa Barbara Youth Council
The 17 teens who currently make up the Santa Barbara Youth Council have demonstrated great passion for improving the lives of their peers and younger youth in the city of Santa Barbara. This group of young people ages 13 to 18 convene twice a month in the City Council Chambers, advocating for youth and standing before legislative bodies to fight for issues that impact young people. Members of this teen organization have collectively performed over 2,000 hours of community service each year consistently for the past decade. Along the way, participation in the Santa Barbara Youth Council has significantly changed the lives of its own members, inspiring many of them to continue lives of service and leadership. They advocated for and helped complete afterschool hangout venue “The Alley”, the first teen-only space in Santa Barbara. They are responsible for leading the campaigns for the city’s Skater’s Point public skate park and the Twelve35 Teen Center – the first home of the Music Box recording studio, which has since opened up other similar facilities in the Boys and Girls Club. Each year the city Youth Council holds one to two Youth Speak Outs, events at which teens voice their concerns on issues ranging from youth suicide to underage drinking, with such results as the Youth Council’s instrumental support in formulating the city’s Social Host Ordinance. The Santa Barbara Youth Council has hosted and coordinated several City Council and Mayor’s Candidates Forums, and actively responds to challenging issues facing teens. Within the Youth Council, a variety of committees exist to serve the public in vital, compassionate and creative ways.
Nominator: Ms. Susan Young
Contact Information: 805.897.2652; email@example.com