TRUCKEE, Calif. — More than 160 people crammed into Grass Valley’s Gold Miner’s Inn to pay tribute to two people and two organizations that worked to make Nevada County better this last year.
Put on by Nevada County’s Health and Human Services Agency, the sixth Community Partner Awards attracted a gaggle of service providers from the public, private and nonprofit communities.
“It’s a great opportunity for our agency to honor a lot of key individuals in the community who are dedicated to improving and health and wellness and providing critical support services to a lot of our families,” said Jeff Brown, director of Health and Human Services.
Alison Schwedner, the director of the Community Collaborative of Tahoe Truckee and a member of the County Mental Health Board, was bestowed with the Individual Award Tuesday.
With Schwedner at the helm, the CCTT has worked to address the issues of mental health, homelessness, youth suicide, limited public transportation, chronic disease and literacy through a host of collaborative efforts including the Youth Suicide Prevention Task Force, the Tahoe Forest Hospital Wellness Neighborhood, Tahoe Truckee Homeless Collaborative, Nevada County First 5, the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District Wellness Centers and the Tahoe Reads Campaign, according to HHS.
Gustavo Cabrera, a teen advocate dedicated to reducing teen alcohol and drug use, was presented with the Youth Award at the ceremony.
Cabrera has served as the President of the Friday Night Live Natural High Club, a Friday Night Live mentor, a founding member of the Youth Opposing the Use of Tobacco for Health (YOUTH) Coalition and the youth sector representative for the Tahoe-Truckee Future Without Drug Dependence. He was also responsible for coordinating a collaborative effort with Parents and Athletes Committed to Stop Underage Drinking pledges, Friday Night Live and the Tahoe-Truckee Future Without Drug Dependence as well as leading efforts to reduce youth access to tobacco.
Child Advocates, which works with Nevada County’s high-risk families and vulnerable children, was presented with the Community Organization Award Tuesday.
In awarding the agency, HSS noted Child Advocate’s Court Appointed Special Advocates that provides assistance and support to assigned foster children; its Child Safety Puppeteers that helps children dealing with physical or sexual abuse; and its Foothill Healthy Babies program that serves more than 85 high-risk families county wide, providing individual support, parenting assistance and referrals, effectively reducing the entry of many of these families into county systems, such as Child Protective Services.
Nevada County probational juvenile hall was awarded Business/Government Award for its staff’s work of creating a life-changing setting for some of the county’s most troubled youth.
In addition to providing nutritious meals and maintaining a safe, clean, treatment oriented and healing environment, juvenile hall staff also coordinate all of their efforts with school staff to ensure that each resident keeps up on their academic studies. They also work with a host of county and nonprofit agency partners, assisting with the discharge and integration of these youth back into the community.
“Our county’s Health and Human Services Agency started these awards six years ago to honor our county’s organizations and individuals who work together with the agency to create healthier communities,” Brown said in a statement. “The awardees have made incredible differences in our community, working diligently to improve the lives of our neighbors, one at a time and make our community the wonderful and compassionate place it is.”
Christopher Rosacker is a reporter with The Union newspaper in Grass Valley.