Governor’s Volunteering and Service Award Winners

2013 Winners

Scott Gabler

California’s Volunteer of the Year - Scott Gabler, El Dorado County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue

This award honors an outstanding Californian whose volunteer service is exemplary and inspirational. Scott Gabler has responded to more than 80 search and rescue calls and saved the lives of 11 individuals with the El Dorado County Tahoe Search and Rescue (SAR) Volunteer Team. When Scott joined the El Dorado SAR Team, he recognized a gap in the teams and developed the first Mountaineering SAR Team in South Lake Tahoe. Scott has volunteered over 2,500 hours to create, train and supervise a volunteer team of technical rescuers that reunites families and saves lives. In addition to rescue missions, Scott spends time investing in the SAR team around him, motivating his volunteers and developing them through training. Under Scott’s supervision, the SAR volunteers have been transformed into an elite, professional and effective volunteer team that is able to strengthen the public safety of the South Lake Tahoe community.


Lisa Watson

California’s Nonprofit of the Year – Downtown Women’s Center

This award honors a California nonprofit who has shown an extraordinary ability to leverage volunteers in service to their organization. The Downtown Women’s Center (DWC), founded in 1978, is the only resource in Los Angeles exclusively dedicated to addressing the needs of women overcoming poverty and homelessness. DWC effectively leverages volunteers with 2,500 individuals volunteering 34,000 hours last year. In addition to using volunteers to serve 60,000 meals, the Center also relies on skilled volunteers to provide expertise on special projects. While renovating its Los Angeles Street Home, the DWC worked with over a dozen volunteer interior designers that not only donated their time and knowledge, but also helped bring in thousands of dollars in donations and furnishings for the rooms that benefit 48 chronically homeless women. The DWC also utilized union volunteers, bringing 15 construction trade unions together to help make a storefront for DWC, MADE by DWC, a Resale Boutique that sells high-end clothing items and handmade crafts created by the women of DWC.

Rico Sanders, Jr.

California’s AmeriCorps Member of the Year – Reco Sanders, Jr., City Year Los Angeles

This award honors a California AmeriCorps member who has made a substantial impact to their community. City Year Los Angeles member, Reco Sanders Jr., works daily with the kids of Gompers Middle School in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles. This middle school has over 1,200 students 100% of which qualify for free or reduced lunch and where 30% are English language learners. As part of the City Year team, Reco’s work focuses on helping the students with attendance, behavior, and course performance through in-class tutoring, mentoring, and after school programs. Reco developed “March Madness,” an innovative month-long math competition, so his after-school students could prepare for their California Standards Tests in a fun, rewarding and effective way. Over 50 students participated in March Madness. Every student who participated across multiple weeks improved their scores from week-to-week.

Bank of America

California’s Business Volunteer Program of the Year – Bank of America

This award honors an outstanding California business with an innovative, high-impact employee volunteer program. Bank of America sees volunteering as part of its broader corporate social responsibility efforts to help improve the lives of the individuals and families they serve. Throughout California more than 8,800 employees recorded more than 200,000 volunteer hours with nonprofits. Bank of America makes its volunteering affect all areas of California. In Sacramento, bank volunteers removed trash and debris along waterways in the Great American River Clean Up. In San Francisco, members of the Global Technology & Operations group redesigned the Hunter Point Family Center’s website pro-bono, creating a portal to help prepare youth to become independent and productive adults. In Los Angeles, employees provided more than 56,000 hours of volunteer service locally. Finally, in the Inland Empire, Soldier Support, a grassroots partnership created by employees to support deployed military service members, assembled nearly 4,000 care packages for deployed troops.

Power 106

California’s Small Business Volunteer Program of the Year – Power 106 FM

This award honors an outstanding California small business with an innovative, high-impact employee volunteer program. Power 106 FM has a volunteer program that raises nearly $400,000 annually for Los Angeles public schools. The Power 106 All-Star Basketball Team, made up of station staff, on-air personalities, mixers, and celebrity guests, volunteers their time to play against local high school teams to provide a fundraising platform for high schools. The Power 106 promotional street team provides music, giveaways, and entertainment for the students. Most games feature a surprise performance from a recording artist - past artists have included Justin Bieber and Chris Brown. Power 106 staff and artists donate time for All-Star Basketball, with approximately 3,000 hours annually spent on creating and planning 80 games at 80 different sites. Each school retains 100% of the proceeds. To date, the All-Star Basketball Team has raised more than $2,000,000 for local schools.

Clovis Emergency Response Team

California’s Disaster Volunteer Program of the Year – Clovis Emergency Response Team

This award honors a California disaster volunteer program who has demonstrated an unwavering service commitment to the local community. The Clovis Emergency Response Team (CERT) program promotes community awareness of disaster preparedness through citizen training and aids first responders in the event of an emergency or disaster. CERT members are trained to assist others immediately following an event when emergency responders may not be available to help. Each year Clovis CERT averages over 8,000 volunteer hours through public education programs, supporting firefighters as they respond to fires, installing smoke detectors and other public safety campaigns. Twenty-two members have each contributed 1,000+ hours of service. Clovis CERT even provides scholarships to Teen CERT students who demonstrate leadership and emergency preparedness proficiency, allowing the Clovis CERT team to help prepare future leaders in the community.

Muslims and Jews Inspiring Change (MAJIC)

California’s Faith-based Organization of the Year – Muslims and Jews Inspiring Change (MAJIC)

This award honors an outstanding faith-based organization which actively engages volunteers in addressing community needs. Muslims and Jews Inspiring Change (MAJIC) is a program convened by NewGround with the support of Muslim and Jewish organizations throughout Los Angeles. Under the leadership of Rabbi Sarah Bassin of NewGround and Soha Yassine of the Islamic Center of Southern California, MAJIC provides an opportunity for Muslim and Jewish teen leaders to develop their own joint Muslim-Jewish response to a social issue of their choice. Last year, the 16 student leaders of MAJIC engaged more than 400 people with their Carnival Against Hunger, a service project dedicated to fighting hunger in Los Angeles. This project helped educate community members about hunger in Los Angeles by incorporating educational elements into traditional carnival games. Attendees also planted fruit trees and packaged food for local hunger organizations.

Kaiser Permanente

California’s Foundation of the Year – Kaiser Permanente

This award honors a California-based foundation that has made a successful investment in service and volunteering models in addressing community needs. In 2012, Kaiser invested more than $230 million in community-focused programs and services in California alone. By creating programs based on in-depth needs assessments on a community-by-community basis, Kaiser designed a charitable contribution program that meets specific needs of vulnerable populations throughout the state, working towards eliminating health disparities. Not only does Kaiser provide these health programs, but they also engage their physicians and health professionals in volunteering to teach members of underserved communities how to use their prevention programs. Kaiser assisted community clinics in treating more than 100,000 low income patients at high risk for heart attack and stroke, by pairing charitable funding with clinical expertise and volunteer physician mentors. They also participate in Operation Access, where their physicians volunteer thousands of hours to perform free surgeries.