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Human Rights Commission Recognizes Community Leadership




Eleven people were recognized by the Marin County Human Rights Commission for their contributions to the community at the 2015 Martin Luther King, Jr. Award Dinner Jan. 22 at the Embassy Suite Hotel in San Rafael.


Those who received the awards were the following:


Linda Allen, director of the Suicide Prevention and Community counseling hotline (SP&CC) staff for 25 years. She also manages the Family Service Agency’s Grief Service Counseling services;


Maxwell Drever, head of the Drever Family Foundation and contributes to the health, safety, education and well-being of children. He also helped raised funds for the Ten Thousand Degrees, a foundation that works for educational equity and helps students access and complete higher education;


Paul Fordham, deputy executive director of Homeward Bound of Marin, an organization that assists those who are newly or precariously homeless due to social, economic and personal circumstances. Fordman is integral in the agency’s fundraising and planning, social enterprise development and program oversight;


Ruth Nenaber, manager and supervisor of Manzanita Child Development Center in Marin City, which provides after-school activities for children in the Southern Marin Community. Nenaber works with her bilingual staff and offers a cross-cultural approach in learning and children activities; and


Connie Marie Page (adult, posthumous), who worked for the Employment Development Department for the last decade of her life and was an influential member of the Marin City community.

Four young people were awarded for their work:


Davon Smith, a senior at Tamalpais High School, is a peer tutor in academic workshop classes. He is also active in the Black Student Union and has mentored elementary school children through the Phoenix Project;


Elena Dennis, a senior at Branson High School, is a member of the Marin County Youth Commission. Dennis is also passionate about the prevention of underage drinking and encouraging access to healthy food for everyone;


Isabelle Gardner, a senior at Marin Catholic High School, volunteers for the Enriching Lives through Music program. Gardner also advocates for the rights of LGBTQ students and has established a county-wide gay-straight alliance to help advocate for these students;

Jake Mates, a senior at Redwood High School, is president of the school’s Gay, Straight, Transgender Alliance chapter, which focuses on fighting homophobia and transphobia. Mates also chair the Educational Equity Committee of the Marin County Youth Commission; and

Nassim Kabbara, a senior at San Rafael High School, founded the Bay Running Club. Kabbara wants to share his passion for running with underprivileged youth to expose them to the benefits of sports, and to the many hiking and running trails located in Marin County.


The Community Service Award went to James ‘Jes’ Richardson, a peace activist, substitute teacher, board member of Social Justice of Marin and Founder/Director of Bridge of Hearts, an organization that promotes peace.






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