The Anaheim Family YMCA celebrated youth for their service and accomplishments by hosting two back-to-back events that left families and the community feeling inspired and proud.

The first event was the 2nd Annual YMCA Student Film Festival, held at the UltraLuxe Cinemas at the Anaheim GardenWalk on April 27. 

Students in the Anaheim Achieves afterschool program spent several months writing, directing, producing and staring in original films. With the support from YMCA staff, students were able to learn about technology and create storylines ranging from anti-bullying to action films.

This year’s Film Festival attracted a crowd of over 600 people. Families and other special guests were able have the full red carpet experience as YMCA paparazzi snapped pictures of the film stars, recorded live interviews and escorted them to the theatre where they saw the films on the big screen.

“This is a fun event for our kids and their families,” said Donna Frey, Program Director for the YMCA. “It’s great to see the kids’ creativity come to life and also to give them the opportunity to do these kinds of projects because they wouldn’t normally do it on their own. It’s a great learning experience for them and we wanted to celebrate all their hard work and dedication.”

The following event was the 37th Annual Youth Service Awards. Every year, the Anaheim Family YMCA Women’s Auxiliary honors one sixth grade student from every Anaheim Achieves afterschool site with the Youth Service Award for demonstrating exceptional service, leadership and volunteerism towards their school, peers, family and community.

Students are nominated by principals, teachers and fellow students and asked to write examples of how they’ve impacted their community with their time, knowledge and talents.

Jonathan Roman, a student at Pyles Elementary, shared his thoughts on why it is important to serve the community. “It’s important to serve because we will make the world a better place for people to live in now and in the future.”

During the ceremony, each student was awarded two Disneyland tickets. Jill Bolton, the Disneyland Resort’s Director of Community Relations and Vice President of the Anaheim Family YMCA Board of Directors, emceed the event and shared her gratitude toward the award recipients.

“Through their innocence and passion to serve others, these students become role models and inspire those around them,” said Bolton. “They remind us that there are greater needs than our own, to be grateful for what we have and that helping others will bring us the greatest joy in life.”

Congratulations to the 2013 Youth Service Award Recipients:

ALISON CASWELL – Cerritos Elementary School

ANGEL AGUILAR – Ponderosa Elementary School

ANGELICA SORIANO – Westmont Elementary School

ANH TRAN – Henry Elementary School

ANNIE NGUYEN – Loara Elementary School

APINERU MUAVAO – Powell Elementary School

BRANDON CALDERON – Olive Street Elementary School

DESTINY SAUCEDO – John Marshall Elementary School

EMILY HERNANDEZ – Guinn Elementary School

GAMALIEL ORTIZ – Palm Lane Elementary School

HOLLY LAVALLEY – Holder Elementary School

JEREMY HERNANDEZ – Reid Elementary School

JESSE AGUIRRE – Lincoln Elementary School

JESUS RODRIGUEZ – Ross Elementary School

JOEL AVILA – Price Elementary School

JONATHAN GUILLEN – Sunkist Elementary School

JONATHAN MONTEJO – Edison Elementary School

JONATHAN ROMAN – Pyles Elementary School

JORGE DANIEL – Hansen Elementary School

KATRINA LIPSKI – Salk Elementary School

KUMASI JABULANI – Disney Elementary School

MARIANA MARTINEZ – Maxwell Elementary School

MERARI PINEDA – Jefferson Elementary School

PARKER AYRES – Low Elementary School

PRISCILLA ZALDIVAR – Walter Elementary School

RICHARD MICHEL – Gauer Elementary School

SAMANTHA LOPEZ – Juarez Elementary School

SAYED SOTELO – Schweitzer Elementary School

STEPHANY ESCOBAR – Mann Elementary School

STEVEN KING – Roosevelt Elementary School

SYEDA ALEEZA RAZA – Madison Elementary School

TAMMY LE – Stoddard Elementary School

VALERIE BERMUDEZ – Franklin Elementary School

VANESSA SANCHEZ – Orange Grove Elementary School

VINCENT OTERO – Peter Marshall Elementary School

YVONNE TRAN – Barton Elementary School

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