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    The people who help schools run, support others are recognized … Bravo!
    • July 30, 2023

    Leukemia & Lymphoma Society announces local top fundraisers

    The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society – Orange County Inland Empire chapter recently announced its top fundraisers in the Visionary of the Year philanthropic competition.

    The competition brings together thousands of volunteers across the country who are driven to help LLS fight blood cancer, a disease that is diagnosed every 180 seconds in the U.S. and has no means of prevention.

    Maria Elena Jones, Staci Conely, Kristi Arii and Amanda D’Ambrosio at the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society – Orange County Inland Empire Visionaries of the Year grand finale at the Westin South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa.
    (Photo courtesy of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society)

    Nathan Mekonnen, Philip Suk, Keagan McKasson and Nella McKasson are students at Stratford School Mission Viejo. Students were presented with the Youth for Hope Award from Project Hope Alliance in honor of the school’s three-year partnership with the organization.
    (Photo courtesy of Stratford School Mission Viejo)

    Lorelei Wetherall and Philip Suk are among students at Stratford School Mission Viejo who participated in the Stockings of Hope winter fundraiser for the past two years in partnership with Project Hope Alliance. Students filled stockings with donated toys, $25 gift cards and small gifts for children.
    (Photo courtesy of Stratford School Mission Viejo)



    Fullerton resident Maria Elena Jones was named Visionary of the Year Runner-Up. Jones was diagnosed with leukemia and breast cancer on the same day in 2020. She had to fight two types of cancer, all during a global pandemic.

    Jones’ love and faith, her husband, Rod, and family and friends helped her through her grueling treatment, and she came out the other side a warrior. Her brother served as a stem cell donor. Today, she is in remission.

    Jones signed up to be a Visionary of the Year candidate because of the support and treatment breakthroughs she has seen from the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. She looks forward to continuing her legacy with LLS.

    Staci Conely of Riverside, who raises funds in the name of her late daughter, Addi, was named Visionary of the Year.

    – Submitted by The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

    Orange County school recognized for community partnership to support homeless youths

    Stratford School Mission Viejo received the Youth for Hope Award from Project Hope Alliance, an organization working to end the cycle of homelessness by supporting homeless youths, in honor of their three-year partnership.

    Over the past three years, the partnership grew into a schoolwide mission to serve youths experiencing homelessness.

    Among the projects students worked on was filling Boxes of Love for Valentine’s Day, with supplies that children would need to participate in classroom Valentine’s Day exchanges.

    Another project involved a schoolwide fundraiser, Stockings for Hope, in which students filled stockings with donated toys, $25 gift cards and small gifts for children of various ages. In 2022, they filled 163 stockings with more than $4,075 in gift cards.

    In addition to the school’s partnership with the Project Hope Alliance, students also work with other local and global charities, such as Operation Rescue, Community Table and efforts supporting families in Ukraine.

    Orange County school employees recognized by state superintendent

    State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond honored nine outstanding classified school employees toward the end of the last school year, including two from Orange County, for their dedication to California’s public school students.

    This year’s recipients were chosen from 151 nominations statewide, and local honorees were:

    Clerical and Administrative Services: Adriana Ponce, office manager, Jordan Elementary School, Lowell Joint School District, Orange County (eight years of service)

    Ponce sees no limitations, only endless possibilities, when it comes to serving the families, students and staff of Jordan Elementary and the Lowell Joint School District. She came to Jordan in December 2014 and brought her extensive technical knowledge of what is required to keep a campus running efficiently from her previous experience serving a large district in Texas.

    Ponce looks for creative ways to solve problems and, during distance learning and the return to hybrid instruction, she organized tasks and delegated responsibilities to classified staff members who were not able to perform their typical duties. In doing so, she took care to be sensitive to personal schedules and various levels of comfort when it came to interacting with others.

    Food and Nutrition Services: Jaime Carranza, senior warehouseman, Anaheim Union High School District, Orange County (five years of service)

    As the senior warehouseman for food services, Carranza’s responsibilities include ensuring school sites receive their deliveries, providing technical guidance to all drivers, monitoring and maintaining warehouse inventory, receiving and storing deliveries of food and supplies, and maintaining warehouse equipment and fleet trucks.

    Carranza goes above his responsibilities on a daily basis. He is dependable and is always ready and willing to assist in all areas. He is approachable and friendly and consistently provides excellent customer service by maintaining open channels of communication.

    When challenges arise, Carranza is quick to address them and offer solutions. Because of his knowledge and experience and his willingness to assist others, employees never hesitate to call Carranza for assistance.

    – Submitted by California Department of Education

    The Bravo! section highlights achievements of our residents and groups. Send news of achievements for consideration to [email protected].

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    ​ Orange County Register