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Assemblymember Cheryl R. Brown Honors Women of Distinction

In recognition of Women’s History Month, Assemblymember Cheryl R. Brown (D-San Bernardino) honored groundbreaking women from the 47th Assembly District at her annual Women of Distinction event on Saturday, March 29, at the Sierra Lakes Country Club in Fontana. The 2014 honorees were (L to R): City Clerk Eileen Gomez, City of Colton; Jasmine Hall, a member of the board of directors at the Inland Empire Utilities Agency (pictured is her daughter accepting the award on her behalf); Sally McGuire, a business owner and president of the Grand Terrace Chamber of Commerce; Marge Mendoza-Ware, a longtime school board member of the Colton Joint Unified School District (CJUSD); the Honorable Grace Vargas, City of Rialto; and Vicki Lee, a homeless student liaison at the San Bernardino City Unified School District (SBCUSD)

In recognition of Women’s History Month, Assemblymember Cheryl R. Brown (D-San Bernardino) honored groundbreaking women from the 47th Assembly District at her annual Women of Distinction event on Saturday, March 29, at the Sierra Lakes Country Club in Fontana. The 2014 honorees were (L to R): City Clerk Eileen Gomez, City of Colton; Jasmine Hall, a member of the board of directors at the Inland Empire Utilities Agency (pictured is her daughter accepting the award on her behalf); Sally McGuire, a business owner and president of the Grand Terrace Chamber of Commerce; Marge Mendoza-Ware, a longtime school board member of the Colton Joint Unified School District (CJUSD); the Honorable Grace Vargas, City of Rialto; and Vicki Lee, a homeless student liaison at the San Bernardino City Unified School District (SBCUSD)

SAN BERNARDINO, CA – In recognition of Women’s History Month, Assemblymember Cheryl R. Brown (D-San Bernardino) honored groundbreaking women from the 47th Assembly District at her annual Women of Distinction event on Saturday, March 29, at the Sierra Lakes Country Club in Fontana.

The recognition event was attended by the honorees and their family members and included special guest appearances from Supervisor Janice Rutherford, chair of the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors; Mayor Acquanetta Warren, City of Fontana; and Mayor Carey Davis, City of San Bernardino.

The 2014 honorees were: City Clerk Eileen Gomez, City of Colton; the Honorable Grace Vargas, former mayor of the City of Rialto; Jasmine Hall, a member of the board of directors at the Inland Empire Utilities Agency; Vicki Lee, a homeless student liaison at the San Bernardino City Unified School District (SBCUSD); Sally McGuire, a business owner and president of the Grand Terrace Chamber of Commerce; and Marge Mendoza-Ware, a resident of Bloomington and longtime school board member of the Colton Joint Unified School District (CJUSD).

City Clerk Eileen Gomez, a long time Colton resident, was first elected in 2008 and re-elected in 2012. As the Colton city clerk, she provides quality public service to her constituents by accurately recording and maintaining the proceedings of the Colton City Council and providing accessibility to official records. As a community leader, she serves as a board member for various community service oriented groups such as the Girl Scouts of San Gorgonio, the Inland Empire Scholarship Fund, Youth for C.H.A.N.G.E., and Seeds of Hope, Inc., based in Colton.

Honorable Grace Vargas made history when she became Rialto’s first female mayor in 2000. She was later re-elected in 2004 and 2008. Born in Yuma, Arizona, Ms. Vargas moved to California in 1959 as a 22 year old single mother of seven children. While residing with her sister in the city of Fontana, she joined the California Employment Training Act (CETA) program, which became a major turning point in her life. She landed a job as a clerk for the City of Rialto and that position led her to several other promotions within the city’s administration. She was first elected to the Rialto City Council in 1998 before her election as Rialto’s first female mayor in 2000.

Jasmine Hall, a resident of Fontana, was recently appointed to serve as a member of the Inland Empire Utilities Agency board of directors in 2013. She was employed at Southern California Edison (SCE) for over 27 years as a business and utilities analyst. During her tenure at SCE, she promoted energy conservation initiatives to businesses and community members in the Inland Empire. She has also served on various boards and commissions including the Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority (SAWPA) Commission, the California Association of Sanitation Agencies and the Association of California Water Agencies.

Vicki Lee, a native of San Bernardino, serves as a mentor to at-risk youth as the homeless liaison for the SBCUSD. Prior to this position, she worked with homeless youth and young adults as an evening manager at the Covenant House California for ten years. Ms. Lee is the coordinator of “Our Children Sing,” an annual program that’s held in San Bernardino around September 11. The program seeks to promote peace, unity and commemorate those who lost their lives on September 11, 2001. Ms. Lee is also an active member at her church, New Hope Missionary Baptist, where she serves as the director of the Drama Ministry.

Sally McGuire, a longtime Grand Terrace resident, currently serves as president of the Grand Terrace Chamber of Commerce. After 25 years of working at General Electric (GE) as a sales executive, Ms. McGuire decided to become a certified senior advisor and open her own business, Helping Hands Companion Care, to provide non-medical in-home support services to seniors. As a community leader, Ms. McGuire is greatly involved in the Grand Terrace Woman’s Club, the Foundation of Grand Terrace and the CJUSD Community Cabinet focusing on students’ mental and physical health.

Marge Mendoza-Ware, a Bloomington resident, is one of the longest serving school board members of the CJUSD. Her most notable accomplishment during her fifteen year tenure includes organizing the ROTC programs for the area high schools. Ms. Mendoza-Ware also worked in various leadership positions at the County of San Bernardino, Harvey Mudd College, the Claremont Colleges, and Bright Beginnings Preschool. As an active community member, she founded the Bloomington After School Program, which provides tutoring assistance to students. She also served on the CJUSD Health Advisory Committee, the Bloomington Save Our Youth, the Bloomington Municipal Advisory Committee, the Bloomington Woman’s Club, and the Republican Women Federated.

For more information, contact Ashley Jones at (909) 381-3238.

Greek Organizations Give Back Through 25th Annual Oratorical Contest

A PHI A_AKA 2014 25th OratoricalFONTANA, CA- The men of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Incorporated, Mu Xi Lambda chapter, President Mr. Kevin Hall and women of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated, Eta Nu Omega chapter, Ms. Annette Weathington held the 25th annual Oratorical Contest on Saturday, March 22 at Mango Elementary School, 7450 Mango Avenue, Fontana, CA 92336. This event was coordinated by Mr. Kevin Eastman of Mu Xi Lambda Chapter and Mrs. Twillea Evans-Carthen of Eta Nu Omega Chapter. Dr. Tonia Causey- Bush, Principal of Mango Elementary School; Ms. Patricia Yeary, Mango Elementary Third Grade Teacher; and Dr. Ayanna Balogun, Board Member of Fontana Unified School District was present along with Ms. Lisa Blacksher, Field Representative for Assembly Member Cheryl Brown, 47th District. Mr. Aaron Lash, Jr., student at California State University, San Bernardino and a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity provided a special performance of spoken word.

This annual speech contest provides the opportunity for students grades first through twelfth to have a platform to enhance their public speaking skills, promote self-confidence, educational enrichment, and to further facilitate character building in a safe environment. This contest was developed under “The Belford V. Lawson Oratorical Contest, and uses the International Toastmasters Guidelines.”

Competitors came from local schools in the Inland Empire, such as Mango Elementary School, Palm Avenue Elementary School, Parkside Elementary School, Clement Middle School, Summit Intermediate School, Lakeside Middle School, Heritage Intermediate School, Beverly Vista Middle School, Martin Luther King High School, Summit High School, Eisenhower High School, Grand Terrace High School, Diamond Ranch High School and Cajon High School.

All participants were recognized as winners and received a certificate of recognition for participation from Assembly Member Cheryl Brown, along with a gift bag filled with treats and gifts from various partners.  Winners were selected in three groups based on grade level. First place winners received a crystal trophy and a check in the amount of $200.00.  Second place winners received a crystal trophy and a check in the amount of $100.00.  Third place winners received a crystal trophy and a check in the amount of $50.00.

Winners for the following categories were: Group 1 (1st through 5th) 1st Place – Akira Jones; 2nd Place – Charly Baldeon and 3rd Place – Samuel Huerta. Group 2 (6th through 8th) 1st Place – Thandiwe Bush, 2nd Place – Zaylin Jackson, 3rd Place – Romell McKenzie.  Group 3 (9th through 12th) 1st Place – Raihanna Melock, 2nd Place – Brandon Watts, 3rd Place – Cierra Joseph.

Since its formation in 1988, Mu Xi Lambda chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity has established itself as a cornerstone to the community and continues to do so with its four community service programs: A Voiceless People is a Hopeless People, Go to High School/Go to College, Project Alpha and its annual March of Dimes’ March for Babies. Through such programs and partnerships, Mu Xi Lambda has remained active in community by providing leadership development and mentoring assistance via the fraternity’s national and local initiatives. For more information regarding upcoming Chapter community service or scholarship opportunities, contact the chapter at muxilambda@info.com

In a similar fashion, Eta Nu Omega chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority has been serving the San Bernardino and Riverside area for over fifty two years.  Eta Nu Omega has conducted a number of scholarship programs and service events to encourage young women to pursue degrees in higher education as well as providing leadership development, enhanced academic preparation and character building through its well renowned Emerging Young Leaders program. For more information regarding Eta Nu Omega chapter events, visit www.etanuomega.org

Journalist and Photographer, John Coleman, Will Be Awarded by Riverside NAACP for Community Efforts

John Coleman

John Coleman

RIVERSIDE, CA- The Riverside Branch of the NAACP will be honoring community photographer and journalist, John Coleman, at its ‘Freedom Fund’ celebration which will be held on Wednesday, May 14 at the Riverside Convention Center, 3637 Fifth Street in Riverside. The Theme for this year’s event is “Forward: The Movement That Changed the World”. Mr. Coleman (MSSW, LCSW) is a retired military veteran who served in Korea. He was also employed with the California Department of Mental Hygiene from 1958 to 1968 where he provided ‘in-patient’ services at Patton State Hospital.

From 1968 to 1992, Coleman was recruited to the University of California Riverside where he served as Campus Ombudsman, University Admissions Officer, Placement Officer, Medical Social Worker and Counseling Psychologist. Also during this period of time, the military veteran taught part-time at San Bernardino Valley College in the Community Services Certificate Program, and he briefly served as a Medical Social Worker at the Loma Linda Veterans Hospital.

Mr. Coleman’s has a resume of tremendous community service where he sits on several Boards of Directors, which includes Redlands Humans Relations Council (President); Inland Area Urban League; Arrowhead United Way; National Association of Social Workers; American Cancer Society; and a countless of others. He was appointed and reappointed by the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors to represent the public on the Development Disabilities Area Board, XII (Area 12).

Currently, Coleman continues years of community service as the ‘community member’ on the Institutional Review Board, (IRB) , California State University, San Bernardino,  the organization responsible for protecting the rights & interests of human subjects of University research. Prior to his retirement, he was recognized as the ‘historic’ value of photography in his current role as a ‘community photographer’. He attempts to identify and photograph certain individuals, organizations and events upon submitting them for dissemination to local Black Press and Media outlets. (Rewritten and edited by Naomi K. Bonman)