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I wondered what impact Ruby Bridges, who broke racial barriers in education when she was a 6-year-old in Louisiana, would have on the audience at Project Cornerstone’s Asset Champions Breakfast on Friday morning. Her story, after all, begins in 1960 — generations removed from the students who attended the event, which focuses on providing youth with positive influences. But her powerful message can’t be confined to the pages of history, and the lessons she learned as a girl being escorted to an empty classroom by federal marshals still resonate. “The most important thing to a 6-year-old is having friends,” said Bridges, now 62, who received the Spark award at the breakfast held at the Santa Clara Convention Center. “I have to say to the young people today, that never, ever changes.”.

Her four sons, she told the crowd of more than 1,200 people, had all been bullied at school, which was heartbreaking for her, Recalling her own story, she said, it was just the innocence of being a child that protected her from the hate directed her way, And toddler ballet shoes while she was hurt emotionally, she said she never felt anger toward kids like the boy who said his parents told him he couldn’t play with her because she was black, “All our babies come into the world with a clean start, a clean heart,” she said, “They know nothing about disliking each other because of the color of their skin, We pass that on to them.”..

She also praised both Project Cornerstone, a program of the YMCA of Silicon Valley, and the morning’s award winners for their part in letting young people “know they do have someone.”. “What you guys are doing is amazing work, especially today,” she said. The roster of award-winners she shared the stage with was also impressive: St. Andrew’s Episcopal School in Saratoga, Baker Elementary School in San Jose and Lincoln High in San Jose received Caring School Climate awards; Mike Cellini, principal of Montclaire Elementary School in Los Altos, received Adult Role Model honors; the Hub, a youth-led community center that supports foster youth in Santa Clara County, received the award for Community Values Youth; and the Interact 5170 District Council — a group of 27 young people who perform community service — were honored for Positive Peer Influence.

And the Special Education Team at Fisher Middle School in Los Gatos received the award for Positive Cultural Identity, a “developmental asset” that’s unique to Project Cornerstone, Parents praised the program’s teachers and staff for helping their students feel like welcome members of the school community, You can find out more about developmental assets and this year’s honorees at www.projectcornerstone.org, INSPIRATIONAL OPPORTUNITY: There was a great turnout of about 450 people at Cristo Rey San Jose Jesuit High School’s second annual Rey toddler ballet shoes of Hope scholarship luncheon at the San Jose Marriott on Friday, The crowd included some of the school’s big supporters such as Sue and John A, Sobrato and Sue Sobrato, Mary Ellen Fox and Michael E, Fox Sr., Charmaine and Dan Warmenhoven and Palo Alto Medical Foundation CEO Lizz Vilardo, who delivered the keynote address..

A memorable moment occurred after Cristo Rey junior Renzo Silvera addressed the crowd, expressing how excited he was to be part of the school’s first graduating class next year and that he hoped to pursue a STEM education in college. He was immediately approached by the Rev. Michael Engh, Santa Clara University’s president, who handed him his card. Now, that’s a pretty good contact to have when you’re applying to colleges. NONPROFITS WEIGH IN: Santa Clara County’s suit against President Donald Trump, over his threat to withhold federal funding for jurisdictions that defy his immigration orders, now has the support of more than a dozen Silicon Valley nonprofit organizations.

The Silicon Valley Council of Nonprofits filed a “friend of the court” brief, in which it was joined by 14 organizations including LifeMoves, the Housing Trust, Yu-Ai Kai Japanese American Community Senior Service, West Valley Community Services, Silicon Valley Independent Living Center, Asian Americans for Community Involvement, Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County and and Second Harvest Food Bank, Silicon Valley Council of Nonprofits CEO Patricia Gardner said the county is a strong partner of local nonprofits — especially those that provide services to low-income residents and toddler ballet shoes seniors — and they hope to persuade the court to grant an injunction, “The nonprofit community wants to ensure that the court understands that the executive order has far-reaching, harmful community impacts beyond just local government budgets,” she said..

TALKING ART: Art historian Fran Rushing will wrap up the Saratoga Foothill Club’s art lecture series on Thursday with a talk on the artists of the 1940s and ’50s, a group that includes Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Richard Diebenkorn, Archile Gorky and artists of the Bay Area Figurative movement. Admission for the 7:30 p.m. fundraising lecture is $25, and because of construction at the Saratoga Foothill Club, the event is being held at the Saratoga Federated Church at 20390 Park Place.

COMMUNITY LOSS: There’s lots of sadness in San Jose’s Catholic community this week about the death of Helene Lavelle, who lost a sudden battle with leukemia Tuesday at age 68, She had a 30-year sales career in the tech industry, which was surely no easy feat for a woman in a male-dominated landscape, But she shared that success with the community, serving on the toddler ballet shoes boards of Presentation High School — she attended Presentation in San Francisco — and the San Jose Ballet, as well as serving on the city’s Historic Landmarks Commission, A rosary service will be held at Bellarmine College Prep at 6 p.m, March 31, and her funeral will take place at 11 a.m, at St, Martin of Tours Church in San Jose..


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