Young local leaders and area businesses will take the spotlight this week, nominated for recognition in the upcoming Citizen of the Year dinner.
The 2016 Youth of the Year Scholarship will be awarded at a Saturday night dinner, Jan. 28, with eight local students being nominated.
In alphabetical order, the nominees are: Vanessa Argumedo, Mayra Cabrera, Claire Elizabeth Helm, Emily Rose Helm, Fidel Herrera, Lydia Hodges, Emilio Jimenez, and Dulce Piceno. The following information about the young standouts was taken from the nomination forms.
Vanessa started volunteering at the city Recreation Department at the age of 13, portraying the Easter Bunny, a Turkey Trot turkey and other events in town. She has helped “with the Haunted Hayride, as a site organizer and has worked in collaboration with other’s creative ideas.”
She’s helped with Police Services National Night Out for four years and been active with the Shop With A Cop event for five. She’s a member of the Teen Action Committee that organizes events at the Teen Center.
Mayra works in the cafeteria at Riverbank High School and is seeking to become a Registered Nurse. “As a bilingual student, she is very aware of the unique challenges many people, especially Hispanics, face in Riverbank.”
She is “the first to volunteer to help teachers and other students and the last to complain about anything.” She is participating in three clubs this year at school, Link Crew, HYLC and she helps out at Students Teaching Students, a campus tutoring program.
Claire Helm/Emily Helm
As twins, the Helm sisters have many activities in common, but some differences, too.
Claire participates in the Salvation Army’s Kids Day, selling newspapers to raise funds to support their programs. A competitive marksman, she has assisted in gun safety instruction with children 10 years and older. She chaperoned two special needs boys, ages 8 and 11, attending a Modesto Nuts baseball game.
Both Claire and Emily have volunteered at the Riverbank Historical Society, helping both at the Museum and at the group’s annual After Mother’s Day Omelette Brunch. They both assisted with the Royal Neighbors’ Ninth Annual Veterans Luncheon last November. They worked to help set up and during the luncheon itself.
Emily was a camp counselor at Foothill Horizons, assisting with camp projects and nature walks. And she helped decorate the Historical Society’s antique fire truck for the Christmas Parade this year.
Fidel was nominated because he is a “team leader on the football team at Riverbank High School. He inspired his teammates and friends to be the best that they can be.”
He also helped at Riverbank Farmers Market, the Christmas Parade, Riverfest and other community events.
Lydia is an exceptional student. “She ranks first in her class,” taking Advanced Placement courses, and “excelling in all of them.” She spent last summer at Oxford University, England, studying, then traveled to Paris, France, on her way home.
She is active in her church, especially its music program. “She is involved with helping the needy in the community through her work there.”
Emilio has earned a 3.4 GPA on his work in high school so far. He “volunteered last year for the E-Hoops Program at Cardozo Middle School, teaching special needs students how to play basketball.”
He earned the Multilingual Seal of Proficiency “and was named Outstanding Student of the Year” in the Forensics/Biotech Program at Enochs High School.
Dulce volunteers as a “peer tutor every day during her lunch period, assisting other students in subjects of Math, English and Science.” Also, she is a Link Crew leader on campus and RHS, assisting and guiding freshman students. She serves in the Teen Scene Club, promoting healthy relationships.
She coaches youth soccer and volunteers at park and recreation events. She is “the first to offer help, in a genuine and caring manner.”
The Chamber of Commerce will also be presenting its Business of the Year award at the dinner. Nominees for the honor include Better Bargains, Minute Man Press, La Salsa Fresh, Westamerica Bank and Perko’s.
Better Bargains, on Santa Fe Street in downtown Riverbank, is said to be “the better place for all your household needs” and is known for giving back to the community “by supporting local events with donations.”
Minute Man Press, in Stockton, “is always there to help get your flyers, letters, copies, brochures and business cards” with speed, accuracy and professionalism.
“Their goal is to meet and exceed your expectations,” according to the nomination papers.
La Salsa Fresh is “the biggest little restaurant in Riverbank.” It’s located on Atchison Street in downtown.
They’re “very friendly and they make you feel like you are family, from the moment your walk through the door.”
Westamerica Bank, in the Crossroads Shopping Center, is “the local bank that hosts the Wishing Tree each year” at Christmas, for residents in the local nursing center.
“Also, they host local community events.”
Perko’s, on Highway 108 near Oakdale Road, is a “Farm fresh family-friendly establishment” that has become the restaurant of choice for all ages.
“And they provide their community room for meetings of local groups.”
In addition to the Youth of the Year and Business of the Year, Riverbank’s Citizen of the Year will be selected. Nominees include Richard Boos, Lana Clayton and Pastor Elias Cordova; they were profiled in the Jan. 18 issue of The News.
The winner receives a plaque, the title of Citizen of the Year and will serve as Grand Marshal of the annual Riverbank Christmas Parade. The winner will also preside over the COY Committee as chairperson for the following year.
The Youth of the Year and Citizen of Year are nominated based on their volunteerism and service to the citizens of Riverbank.
The Citizen of the Year dinner is scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 28, at the Riverbank Community Center, 3600 Santa Fe. The 54th annual Awards Dinner begins with a social hour at 6 p.m. and dinner will be served at 7 p.m.
Tickets are $20, available at City Hall, the Riverbank Historical Museum during open hours, or from any committee member. They’ll only be available through Thursday, Jan. 26, and tickets will not be available at the door, since arrangements have to be made ahead of time by the caterer.