Around Town | June 4, 2021 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - June 4, 2021

Around Town

HOMETOWN HEROES ... The Midpeninsula Media Center recently recognized six locals who are making a difference in the community at its annual Local Hero Awards ceremony, which was held virtually on May 29. The event, which took a hiatus last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, not only featured a presentation of the awards, but also short documentaries about each recipient, highlighting their stories. This year's honorees were Holly Chenette, an Eastside Prep teacher who volunteers her time caring for stray cats in East Palo Alto; Sarahi Espinoza, a formerly undcoumented immigrant who created a nonprofit and an app to help undocumented students get college scholarships; Ruth Patrick, creator of WomenSV, an organization to help domestic abuse survivors; Jessica Radmilovic, a paraplegic athlete who is a recreational therapist at the Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System; Evelyne Keomian, founder of the Karat School Project, which tackles poverty both in the Bay Area and in Africa through iniatives such as distributing school supplies for low-income children; and Chris Richardson, chief program officer for the Downtown Streets Team, which employs unhoused people to help keep local streets clean. Each honoree was nominated by community members. "This year's awards — although they began well before we even had a glimmer of an impending pandemic — nevertheless have a similar theme that couldn't be more appropriate or more welcome than right now," production services manager Louise Pencavel said in her opening remarks for the virtual ceremony. "In every one of them, there's a message of rebirth, hope and new beginnings." For more information, visit

POINT OF TRANSITION ... After more than 12 years of leading the Children's Health Council, Rosalie Whitlock plans to step down as CEO on June 30, 2022. Whitlock, who served in the organization's top role since 2009, will retire after 30 years of working with children and families. "We have a clear vision for the future, exceptionally competent staff and executive leadership, dedicated volunteers, generous donors, and rich collaborative partnerships with many in our community," Whitlock said in a May 26 statement. "Our goal now is to maintain this momentum and move forward into the future with our leadership, capacity, and operational strength." Whitlock was lauded as a "highly collaborative and transformative leader," board of directors chair Rebecca Robertson said. "Under her leadership, the agency has nearly tripled in size with innovative services and programs responsive to the diverse needs in our community." The board has compiled a search committee and will lead the pursuit for the organization's next leader. "We are fortunate that Rosalie will remain with CHC until a successor is found," board vice chair and chair-elect Julie Terrell Hooper said. "As we prepare to celebrate our 70th Anniversary, we have a strong foundation in place for a seamless transition to new leadership for the future."

JOINING FORCES ... In an effort to tackle community issues that were created by the COVID-19 pandemic, Stanford University's Office of Community Engagement has set aside $228,000 for eight projects led by faculty members with organizations in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties. The office collaborated with the university's Bill Lane Center for the American West. Altogether, the projects tackle the pandemic's impact on health, education, social services and the arts. They were selected out of a pool of 45 proposals throughout Stanford. "Given the impact the pandemic has had on our region, it was important that we accelerate the community benefit of our grants by focusing on projects that can move quickly to help those in need," Megan Swezey Fogarty, associate vice president for community engagement, said in a May 19 Stanford News Service article. One of the eight projects is the Local Impacts Labs University Collaborative led by political science professor Jeremy Weinstein. He's partnering with the Silicon Valley Community Foundation and Joint Venture Silicon Valley to bring faculty-led teams and higher education institutions together for "research-impact partnerships that investigate regional systemic inequities." Education professor Adam Banks is collaborating with the EPACenter to provide more learning opportunities for East Palo Alto youth, with help from the university's Institute for Diversity in the Arts. The project involves working with the organization's workforce development programs, apprenticeships and internships.


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