Donning his police uniform and grinning from ear to ear, Agent DuJuan Green, an officer with the Palo Alto Police Department, accepted this year's Kiwanis Club of Palo Alto's Angel Award during an award ceremony at the Sheraton Palo Alto on Oct. 13.
The Angel Award honors individuals who have had a significant and positive effect on children and youth in the Palo Alto area.
Green, who has been with the police department since 2004, was recognized for his work as a school resource officer and facilitator of the Parent Project, a program that provides parents of at-risk youth the motivation, tools and support to establish a deeper relationship with their children. He also provides critical support for partners of Project Safety Net, a Palo Alto youth well-being collaborative.
Police Chief Dennis Burns praised Green for his "superb skills in developing trusting relationships" and an "easy-going approach" that is "enhanced by his personality and humor."
"All the nominators underscored his integrity, dedication, love and joy that have made a difference to so many," Burns said.
After accepting the award, Burns helped Green put on a pair of angel wings and a halo before posing for some humorous photos, which drew laughs from the crowd.
During his tenure as a school resource officer, Green assisted students in crisis and handled serious and, at times, tragic events with urgency and compassion, including coordinating dozens of responses when students have threatened suicide, according to Kiwanis Club.
"Officer Green strove daily to provide students and families the social and emotional support, as well as being able to immediately intervene in troubling conflicts or situations," Superintendent Max McGee said in a statement. "His daily presence on our campuses was a comfort to students and staff, and many students sought him out to share problems."
Three parents testified to Green's impact during the award ceremony, including one who credited Green with saving her daughter's life.
Palo Alto High School Principal Kim Diorio echoed McGee's and the parents' sentiments. "Whether it's coaching a reluctant teen to come to school, assisting our mental health support staff with the care of suicidal children, or helping us to comfort a community in grief, Green takes as his own whatever burden we may bear," Diorio said in a statement.
"Officer Green is an angel," she added.
Green currently serves as an acting sergeant in the police department and has received recognition for his mental-health services and crisis intervention work by the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors and the Santa Clara County Behavioral Health Board.