News Releases 2008

Release Date: May 24, 2007
City of San Antonio Communications and Public Affairs Department: 207-7234


S.A. Youth Commission to Honor Youth Volunteer of the Year
Five youth who serve their community to be recognized on June 3

Young people who serve and make a difference in our community will be honored for their selfless acts by a group of their peers. The San Antonio Youth Commission will hold its first ever Youth Volunteer of the Year Awards Ceremony on Sunday, June 3 at 2:00 p.m. in the City Hall Media Briefing Center.

The commission will honor five high school students for their hours of service. Emilio Gutierrez will receive the inaugural Youth Volunteer of the Year plaque.

Gutierrez is a senior at the Design and Technology Academy on the campus of Roosevelt High School in the North East Independent School District. He has volunteered in projects to help feed the homeless, participated in walks for AIDS and cancer, assisted with school projects and serves at his church. Youth Commission members selected Gutierrez as the Youth Volunteer of the Year because of his ability to overcome a difficult home environment and to place others ahead of himself.

Four other students are receiving certificates in recognition of their community service. They are as follows:

Christopher Martz, Health Careers High School (NISD), 9th grade

Sydney Barney, Cornerstone Christian School, 12th grade

Zafreen Lalani, Health Careers High School (NISD), 12th grade

Sonia Parra, Health Careers High School (NISD), 12th grade

Martz, the youngest award recipient, organized a toy collection drive for the temporary residents of San Antonio’s three local Ronald McDonald Houses. He was motivated to conduct the drive following a tragic car accident that resulted in his father’s death and extensive injuries for himself. His family stayed at a Ronald McDonald House while he recovered during the Christmas season. Last Christmas, Martz planned to collect toys for 17 families. His drive resulted in gifts for more than 100 families.

The remaining honorees are high school seniors who were selected due to the following contributions:

  • Barney exhibits a love for helping children and those less fortunate than herself. She has volunteered as a tutor and office aide and also has assisted with a blood drive.

  • Lalani is an intern at the University of Texas Health Science Center, a teaching assistant at a religious education center, and vice president of a San Antonio youth club.

  • Parra has volunteered with holiday outreach projects at Christus Santa Rosa Children’s Hospital and The Haven Alzheimer’s Home. She also coaches underclassmen for mock trial debates.

“It is important to recognize and encourage youth for the positive contributions they make in society,” said Youth Commission Chair Angelica Medina. “This ceremony is a good venue to distinguish those individuals who have improved our community through a spirit of giving.”

The City’s Youth Commission is comprised of high school students who represent the city’s 10 council districts and the Mayor’s Office. Members work on issues and concerns affecting youth in our community.

For more information, call Fred Saucedo with the Department of Community Initiatives’ Youth Services Division at 207-7523.


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