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Shinnyo-en Foundation Sponsors Annual Governor and First Lady’s Medal for Service Awards

GroupPhotoSacramento2010Shinnyo-en Foundation sponsored the Second Annual Governor and First Lady’s MEDALS FOR SERVICE awards ceremony at the California Museum for History, Women and the Arts in Sacramento on May 6, 2010.  The awards are designed to distinguish individual volunteers, business volunteer programs and nonprofit leaders whose innovation in the field of volunteerism have had a tangible impact on their community, region and the state of California. Shining a spotlight on the state’s commitment to service, the awards demonstrated how simple acts can create big changes in communities across California.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and First Lady Maria Shriver joined Service and Volunteering Secretary Karen Baker today in presenting the Medals for Service at the California Museum.

J.KitamuraWithFirstLadyThe evening started with the Governor and First Lady welcoming and greeting special guest Junichi Kitamura, Director of the International Affairs Department of Shinnyo-en, on visit from Tokyo.

J.KitamuraWithFirstLadyAndGovernorThe ceremony celebrated the extraordinary dedication of individuals and organizations to service and volunteering and honored the state’s top service and volunteering leaders with seven prestigious awards.

The event was kicked off with Haru Inouye of the Foundation as the opening speaker, who reminded all of us in attendance that we had the power to serve,

“Today’s awards do not just recognize service.  They recognize what is inside a person. And because there is a light shining inside everybody… you can potentially do much more than you expect.  There’s an inner voice of Kindness inside of each one of you.  Listen to it.”

The Governor acknowledged the event and awardees by saying that, “The Medals for Service ceremony is a fantastic opportunity to recognize volunteers and organizations that support service, Government alone cannot tackle all of the challenges facing our communities, and every Californian has an important role in making our state stronger. Today, we are paying tribute to some true California heroes, seven honorees that are pioneers in service, who have demonstrated a commitment to expanding service in their own unique way and in giving something back.”

GovernorArnoldSchwarzenegger “Service is more than just something we do, it is a part of who we are,” said First Lady Maria Shriver. “Tonight, we honor remarkable Californians, trailblazers and unsung heroes, working on the frontlines of humanity in our communities.”

Karen Baker said, “Service is the backbone of every successful community and the people of California have proven time and again that when times are difficult – they will rise to the challenge, I congratulate all of tonight’s honorees and encourage all Californians to find their own way to give back.”

The second annual Governor and First Lady’s Medals for Service, featured six Medals for Service in the categories of: Volunteer, AmeriCorps Member of the Year, Business Volunteer Program, Small Business Volunteer Program, Nonprofit and Service Group. In addition, Taproot was honored with a spotlight award for their innovative strategies to engage skilled volunteers in pro bono service. The awardees are:

California’s Volunteer of the Year: Kathryn Vaughn

Kathryn Vaughn put her successful law practice on hold to become the volunteer president and executive director of Just in Time for Foster Youth.

California’s AmeriCorps Member of the Year: Megan Mastache

Megan Mastache works to give a voice to countless individuals who often are voiceless. She worked to combat homelessness and sexual assault in San Luis Obispo and has participated in the Food Share program for the past five years, connecting restaurants and their extra food with the local homeless shelters.

California’s Business Volunteer Program of the Year: Cisco

Since 2009, Cisco employees in California have provided pro bono technical support, coupled with more than $2.2 million in IT product grants, to nonprofits and charities throughout the state.

California’s Small Business Volunteer Program of the Year: Bay Federal Credit Union

California’s Small Business Volunteer Program of the Year proves that just because you are a small business doesn’t mean you can’t have a big impact: 100 percent of Bay Federal Credit Union employees have volunteered for 49 different nonprofits for seven consecutive years.

California’s Service Group of the Year: Rocklin Volunteers in Police Service

More than 100 of the Rocklin Volunteers in Police Service (VIPS) have donated more than 55,000 volunteer hours over the last five years, providing an estimated $1.2 million of service in the city.

California’s Nonprofit of the Year: WriteGirl

California’s Nonprofit of the Year has helped more than 3,600 teen girls find their inner voice through writing. WriteGirl pairs at-risk teen girls in Los Angeles with professional women writers.

Spotlight Award: Taproot Foundation

A unique organization that works to strengthen nonprofits by engaging business professionals in pro bono volunteer service.

In 2008, Governor Schwarzenegger took nation-leading action in creating the first state cabinet post dedicated to service and volunteering.  First Lady Maria Shriver serves as the honorary chair of the CaliforniaVolunteers Commission.

Secretary Baker, Governor, with Awardee for California's Business Volunteer

Secretary Baker, Governor Schwarzenegger, with Awardee for California's Business Volunteer

The Foundation continues to support all those that are serving others in need. To listen to Haru’s speech from the event click on the