Friends for Youth’s fourth Making a Difference Awards for notable supporters of the organization and the youth mentoring field were presented to six honorees on Thursday, April 24, and Friday, April 25, 2014 during the 15th annual mentoring conference, Someone Who Matters: Challenges and Rewards of Youth Mentoring, at the Oracle Santa Clara Conference Center. In recognition of their tireless work and support of youth, volunteers, and mentoring programs, recipients received a handmade tile plaque individually made by Friends for Youth’s mentors, mentees, and staff. These tiles are created in the spirit of what making a difference in mentoring means and are unique to their creators. Nearly 200 youth mentoring professionals were on hand to celebrate the honoree’s commitment to the community and to youth.
While it takes a village to provide the motivation necessary for a young person to change, we believe it is important to acknowledge and honor a few special people and organizations. This select group has collectively gone above and beyond in their work that makes our mission not only possible but also much better. Making A Difference Award recipients exemplify the above-and-beyond attitude that is crucial for the important work of youth mentoring to happen. For some, it is simply an extension of their work, though the energy and effort they devote exceed their job requirements. For others, it is a personal passion to which they have committed their time and resources without looking for recognition or any acknowledgment. Without each of these outstanding individuals and organizations, our work would be more difficult, less trusted, and without the impact we see today.
The 2014 Making a Difference Awards were presented to these outstanding supporters:
Senior Photographer, Gap Inc.
Darren Ferriera, a native Californian, studied photography at Cabrillo College and was hooked when “I realized someone would pay me to take photographs.” After working in Santa Cruz and San Francisco, he moved to England, where he worked as a commercial photographer and met his wife and started his family. Moving back to the San Francisco Bay Area in 2000, Darren began working for Gap Inc. and is now a Senior Photographer in their online studio and has been volunteering his time to photograph mentors and mentees annually for the past 12 years for Friends for Youth. Darren’s exceptional patience, skills, talents, and ability to put everyone at ease have resulted in over 100 photographs of our mentors and mentees, creating a priceless experience for them and our program.
Golf Committee Chair, Friends for Youth
John Gaston is a strong believer in the power of mentoring and is a passionate ambassador about the need to invest in our youth. For over 20 years, he has actively recruited volunteers and donors through his involvement in our annual Peninsula Golf Challenge event. Held at Sharon Heights Golf and Country Club, he challenges Silicon Valley business leaders to support at-risk youth who need a positive and supportive adult in their lives through our mentoring organization. John has helped has helped build a community of caring in order to maximize the impact that Friends for Youth can have on children and youth in need. He spreads the message that that not only can mentored youth enhance and sustain robust communities as successful adults, but society will not have to bear the cost for troubled youth who do not receive the help they need.
Author, Coach, Speaker, Educator
An educator, author, speaker, and professional transformative coach, Pat’s life’s work is a commitment to public education and social change. She engages communities, youth, citizens, institutions and organizations in transformative education to shape their own direction, and achieve extraordinary individual and collective results. Author of Community Educators, she is an associate with the Kettering Foundation, a former teacher and assistant superintendent. Pat earned a Doctorate of Education in Education Administration and Policy Studies from The George Peabody College of Education, Vanderbilt University.
Board President, Friends for Youth
Petere Miner has been a champion for mentoring youth all of her life. She has been a Girl Scout leader for more than 20 years and has volunteered with Mentium to work with senior professional women on behalf of girls. A former engineer and manager at Hewlett Packard, she is now an emerging entrepreneur, consulting with several Silicon Valley companies. Eighteen years ago, Petere was matched with a young woman named Esmeralda. As their friendship flourished over the years, so did Petere’s involvement in Friends for Youth. She is now entering her fourth year as Chair of our Board of Directors. Her leadership has inspired all of us with the vision that all young people in need will have positive mentors in their lives.
The Summer Institute on Youth Mentoring brings top mentoring researchers and experienced practitioners from around the world to Portland State University for an intensive week-long seminar presenting the latest developments in theory and research on youth mentoring. The SIYM has become one of the premiere professional development opportunities in the field of youth work. The Institute is under the leadership of Thomas Keller, director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Mentoring Research and Campbell Professor in the School of Social Work at Portland State University. Accepting the award, Dr. Keller conducts research on mentoring relationship development and the enhancement of youth mentoring program practices.
The Diana Screen®, created by Abel Screening, Inc., is an easy to use computer-based pre-hire/volunteer risk management screen that keeps children and teens safe from sexual abuse and sexual boundary violations. Scientifically validated and backed by over 20 years of research, The Diana Screen® asks a series of questions that identify applicants who fail to recognize sexual boundaries between adults and children. Abel Screening, Inc., was founded in 1995 by Gene G. Abel, M.D., to provide therapists and criminal justice professionals with assessment tools to better evaluate individuals who are a sexual risk to children. The Award is being accepted by Whitney Gabriel, J.D., the National Director of Child Safety for Abel Screening, Inc. She is also a board member and former executive director of the Child Molestation Research & Prevention Institute.
Previous Award Winners