By BERNADETTE LAURITZEN
Champions of Youth Ambitions
Saturday, many braved the snowy conditions that cancelled local community activities to salute the 94 individuals and organizations that work to make our community one worth living in every day.
Champions of Youth Ambitions (C’YA), along with the Los Alamos National Laboratory Foundation and the Los Alamos Community Development Corporation showcased a variety of people and projects that often go unrecognized, but make life so much better for so many.
The largest number of youth to date, 33, were part of the annual celebration after the previous year when no youth were nominated for the annual event.
The Los Alamos National Laboratory Foundation aided the event this year with a donation that saw the highest nomination of both youth and adults in the history of the event.
“Education and community support are intrinsic to the LANL Foundation's vision that all New Mexicans have the skills and confidence they need to be self-sufficient, lifelong learners who are engaged in their communities,” said Mihaela Popa-Simil, LANL Foundation VP of Finance and Operations. “C'YA does a fantastic job at recognizing the importance of our youth and the critical role they play in our communities. We are pleased to support the Community Assets Award that highlights youth involvement and leadership, which positively impacts us all.”
The moment that highlights the evening is the Spirit of the West award, named for former County Councilor Jim West. This year's recipient, Lois Eddleman, has volunteered for the Los Alamos County fair for 55 years. The beautiful, handcrafted award from Richard Ronquillo of Rich Welding, LLC played a more significant role than ever known during the nominating process. Ronquillo was friends with Lois’ son, at the age of 18 and according to him, she fed him many times. The duo schooled and worked together for many years. Ronquillo was thrilled to know he had crafted the award for someone so deserving.
Cooperative, Del Norte Credit Union and educational institution, Canyoncito Montessori for their work with children.
The Alpha Zeta chapter of Beta Sigma Phi was celebrated for their devotion to families during the holidays.
Educators held a special place in the evening as teacher Rita Sanchez celebrates third nomination for many years in our school district and newly minted teacher Britney Stone celebrates the determination that allows her to begin the journey.
Youth were a wonderful addition to the night including Lauren Partin, Melina Burnside, Esperanza Ortega-Tapia and Donald Poston, who do so much for so many. Then of course there was Isaiah Alymer and Taylor Ortega though unavailable for the evening, were seen by others who wanted to salute their good deeds.
A special highlight for C’YA was the nomination of the youngest Community Asset Award recipient, since the event first took place in 2010. Russell Posegate, a fifth grade student at Mountain Elementary was recognized for outstanding kindness, compassion and friendship.
The annual event drew outstanding numbers with a focus on youth.
Thanks to the help of the LANL Foundation, Champions of Youth Ambitions will once again kick off its monthly Community Youth Award recognition beginnng in February. For more information, visit www.cya-nm.org.
Additional contributors for the Community Asset Awards include LAVM, LLC; NXTGB LLC and the Los Alamos Academy of Sciences.