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November 13, 2003

Gavilan College honors volunteerism and service with 2003 Community Spirit Awards

--Annual awards are presented in Morgan Hill, Gilroy, and San Benito County, recognizing individuals, businesses, and organizations who make their communities great.--

Gavilan College announces the presentation of 2003 Community Spirit Awards. As in years past, three sets of awards will be presented, in the communities of Morgan Hill, Gilroy, and San Benito County. The Morgan Hill awards were presented in September.

The Gilroy awards will be presented at the Gilroy Chamber of Commerce mixer on November 13, 2003, at The Gavilan College Student Center Lounge, 5055 Santa Teresa Blvd. in Gilroy. The event goes from 5 p.m. - 7 p.m.

The three recipients of the 2003 Gilroy awards will be Connie Rogers (individual), The Wize Owl (business) and Community Solutions (organization.) Laura Perry, president of the Gavilan College board of trustees, and Gavilan College president Steve Kinsella will present the awards.

Community Spirit Awards are presented by the Gavilan College Board of Trustees to citizens who make significant contributions to their community. The awards' purpose is to recognize, and celebrate the people and organization who are committed to bettering their communities, and to increase recognition and awareness of contributions across the communities that are served by Gavilan College. In so doing the college aims to build a bridge of respect and service across the district. One award in each community is given to an individual, one is given to a business, and the third is given to an organization.

Community Spirit Awards were instituted in 1999 by the Gavilan College Board of Trustees in Board Resolution 739 which states, in part, "whereas any celebration of specific or general accomplishment constitutes a symbolic triumph for all within the community....therefore be it resolved the Gavilan Joint Community College District will establish an appropriate method by which to recognize and celebrate citizens." Any member of the Gavilan College community may nominate a candidate for recognition. The nominations are then discussed in committee and presented to the President's Council.

Last year's award winners in Gilroy were Susan Valenta, MACSA, and The Wild Rose.

Following is information about this year's winners:

The Wize Owl:
In the one year plus that the Wize Owl has been open they have become a valued business in the City of Gilroy. As a community bookstore, they have become known for personal attention to customers, ordering books that are requested, and offering free delivery within the City of Gilroy. They not only sell books and gifts, but schedule free events such as book signings and readings, children's story time, and publish a newsletter highlighting books, authors and upcoming events. Wize Owl donates money and books to local organizations, features local authors, and takes part in community events like the Gilroy Garlic Festival. They are very much a part of the community and show how much a new business can contribute to community life.

Community Solutions:
Community Solutions serves all of the communities of the Gavilan College district. Their motto is "providing opportunities for positive change." In Gilroy, they operate a center off Chestnut street where residents can go for counseling, help with domestic violence, drug and alcohol problems, and many other vital services for people who need assistance in a personal crisis. While they are perhaps best known for helping victims of domestic violence, they also provide housing for people who are seriously mentally ill, and support for teen parents, among other services. They operate as a nonprofit with the support of grants from businesses, foundations, and individuals, from United Way donors, and from community volunteers. Their services make our community stronger and safer.

Connie Rogers:
Connie Rogers has long been active in the Gilroy community. She is currently president of the Gilroy Historical Society and provides free walking tours of historic Gilroy on weekend mornings. She recently led a "ghost hunt" tour of St. Mary's cemetery for Halloween. She has served for many years on the South Valley Council for United Way, and is a past president of that group, as well as sitting on the board for United Way Silicon Valley. She has been active in many community organizations including American Association of University Women, city commissions, and environmental groups.

The Gavilan Joint Community College District serves the communities of South Santa Clara County and San Benito County, including Coyote Valley, Morgan Hill, San Martin, Gilroy, Hollister, and San Juan Bautista.

For more information about the Community Spirit Awards, please contact Jan Bernstein Chargin, Director of Public Information at (408) 848-4724.

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Last modified: August 17, 2011
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