Our first annual Breakfast of Champions event was held on Thursday, September 21, at Win-River Casino. The event introduced United Way's Champion of Youth awards, which spotlight those who make a positive impact on the youth in our community. These awards honored businesses, individuals and agencies that support North State youth.
Our Business Champion winner was Snack Box Catering (pictured in banner), which provides employment opportunities for foster youth. Its co-owner, Judy Mondolfo, formerly a foster child and now a foster parent, is a tireless advocate on behalf of the issue in Tehama County.
Finalists included Westside Pizza and Dutch Bros Coffee (Shasta County locations).
Our Agency Champion winner was Mi Casa Education Inc. (at left), which provides after-school tutoring to children of farm laborers in Butte County.
Finalists included Catalyst Mentoring and Girls Inc. of the Northern Sacramento Valley
The event featured a performance from the Redding Arts Project as well as a special presentation from Dave Meurer, State Senator Ted Gaines' district representative, which honored each Champion.
Our Individual Champion was Georgia Rafferty of Redding. Rafferty is founder of "See a Need, Fill a Need," a grassroots effort to provide supply-filled backpacks to needy students in the city's schools. More than 500 backpacks were delivered this year.
Jessie Woods, owner of The Gold Exchange and active community member in Red Bluff, and Mark Barrett, Board of Directors president of Boys & Girls Club of the North Valley.
Winners and finalists received plaques and were able to speak to their work in the community in front of a sold out audience of 170.
During the event, a grant totaling $5,000 was also announced for Eagles Soar Youth Activity Center (ESYAC), a Redding after-school program for children of impoverished families, many of whom live in trailers and hotels. The grant was made on behalf of the Prosperity Initiative, which aims to help those struggling to make ends meet in Shasta County. Funding was provided by the California Endowment. United Way coordinates Prosperity on behalf of the community.
"A key to a prosperous future for our community is to develop and nurture our youth now," said Larry Olmstead, president & CEO of United Way of Northern California. "We plan to be back every year to honor deserving people and organizations."