Click on any recipient or scroll down to see all bios.

2009 Recipients (current as of 2010)
·  Elaine Bartolome ·  Camille Bates
·  Derick Brown ·  Esther M. Green
·  Yahya Griffin ·  Jazmin Morelas
·  Princess Robinson ·  Christyna Serrano
·  Ayanna Spikes ·  Sarah Thibault


Elaine Bartolome

ELAINE BARTOLOME, 24, is a single mother who graduated from San Francisco State University with an undergraduate degree in nursing. Arriving from the Philippines at age seven, not speaking English, and sharing a one-bedroom apartment with her four siblings, mother and uncle has given her great compassion for others in similar positions. Her young son, A.J., a major source of inspiration to her, is partially responsible for her determination to become a nurse who works with underserved populations. Elaine was active in many organizations, on and off campus that offered help to young mothers, pregnant teens and the homeless while an undergraduate. Currently, she is working as a registered nurse in telemetry at Seton Medical Center and plans to apply to the Family Nurse Practioner Program at UCSF this fall. Elaine received two New Leader Scholarships.
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Camille Bates

CAMILLE BATES, 25, a graduate of San Francisco State University with a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology, is currently enrolled in the Master's Program in the School of Education, also at San Francisco State University. Her emphasis is on equity and social justice. Following completion of her Master's Degree, she plans to apply for either a Ph.D. or an Ed.D. She was born in Texas in 1985 as "the last of the miscegenation laws banning interracial marriage was phased out." Her early education was inconsistent, involving periods of isolation and frequent relocation due to domestic violence. From the age of ten to seventeen, Camille lived in the Netherlands and saw firsthand the struggles of marginalized immigrant communities that reinforced her commitment to help underrepresented groups deal with issues of trauma and inter personal violence. Since 2007 she has provided counseling to women of color through San Francisco Women Against Rape and now is working as a counselor for transitional aged youth. Camille is the "first queer woman of color" in her family to go to college.
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Derick Brown

DERICK BROWN, 31, graduated from U.C., Berkeley with a Bachelor's Degree in Rhetoric. He minored in Political Science. Growing up in a crime ridden neighborhood, and being all too familiar with "what a gunshot sounded like," he became the first in his family to attend college. Working for the Boys and Girls Clubs of San Francisco for six years, and providing mentorship for underprivileged youth, led to his own decision to apply to college. While at City College, and as a single father, he served as student trustee on the Community College Board and chaired the Associate Students' Executive Board that oversees ten city college campuses. He has interned for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi who appointed him to the Youth Advisory Council of San Francisco. Derick plans to go to law school in preparation for community service. He was a Fellow at the Goldman Institute at UC, Berkeley in Public Policy and International Affairs in 2009. He took his LSAT exam this fall and now plans to apply to law schools. Derick is married and has one daughter. He is the recipient of two New Leader Scholarships.
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Esther M. Green

ESTHER M. GREEN, See 2010 entry (awarded a second New Leader Scholarship)
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Yahya Griffin

YAHYA GRIFFIN, 43, will graduate from U.C, Berkeley with a Bachelor's Degree in Education this winter and plans to obtain a doctorate in the same field. Having attained a GED while in prison and from a background filled with drugs and crime, it was difficult to imagine going on to college. As he states, he "was born and raised in an environment that seemed to be created by broken dreams and unrealized potential." Today, he volunteers at Phoenix House, tutoring the residents and preparing them to take the GED exam. He is a McNair scholar, studying the potential impact of using "graffiti" as a non-traditional method of education. As the single parent of a young child and re-entry student, balancing his complex commitments is a daily struggle.
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Jazmin Morelas

JAZMIN MORELAS, 26, graduated from San Francisco State University with a degree in Communications. While born in the United States, she was raised in Mexico, considering herself a "border baby." Both San Diego and Tijuana were her hometowns. Issues of acculturation, identity and immigration reform have been central to her work and community involvement. A community organizer at heart, she is concerned about the use of rhetoric to translate good ideas into easily understood language. In particular, immigration reforms, based on concepts of "truth and justice" that serve the underrepresented immigrant community, are critical to her. In 2008 she volunteered for a program on KPFA called Vox Populi and gave interviews in Spanish.
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Princess Robinson

PRINCESS ROBINSON, 32, graduated from U.C., Berkeley with a degree in Social Welfare and plans to earn graduate degrees in both Social Welfare and Public Policy. Growing up in foster care and living in "communities saturated with violence, poverty, and drugs," has formed her passionate desire to help change the circumstance of others. Her feelings of powerlessness with neither family support nor positive role models in foster care led her to face obstacles on her own and has increased her resilience. As an African American, impoverished, single parent with three children, she believes that she has "defied the odds." She is the first in her family of thirteen siblings to obtain a college degree. She has been a foster youth mentor for the past several years and volunteers for "Team Up For Youth," an organization that teaches community organizing skills.
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Christyna Serrano

CHRISTYNA SERRANO, See 2010 entry (awarded a fourth New Leader Scholarship)
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Ayanna Spikes

AYANNA SPIKES, 37, graduated from U.C., Berkeley with a degree in Psychology and Education. She intends to go to law school and wants to work with issues of juvenile justice. Raised first by her grandparents, then in foster homes and finally in group foster homes, Ayanna's adolescence was turbulent. Like her mother, she became pregnant as a teenager and was unable to earn her diploma. She believes that "early motherhood, little job skills, and being on welfare" led to her to "becoming involved in criminal activities to survive." She was imprisoned and lost custody of her son but met this challenge by earning her GED while incarcerated. Today, as a single parent raising her two teenagers, she has refused to let her past define her future and is a role model for them to attend college. She has received numerous awards and in 2009 was given the opportunity to intern in the Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia, working in the juvenile division.
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Sarah Thibault

SARAH THIBAULT, 29, graduated from San Francisco State University with a B.A. in Anthropology and completed a Master's Program in the School of Social Welfare at U.C., Berkeley. Raised by a single parent, in a working class family, she experienced deep economic and political hardships. After leaving her home and high school at an early age, Sarah was offered the opportunity to continue her education several years later through Project Rebound, a program designed to assist those who have been incarcerated. While a student at SFSU, she worked at two jobs and managed to volunteer time for the San Francisco Needle Exchange Program. Her own experience of being marginalized and in a position of need has shaped her motivation to work with homeless youth in outreach programs. Knowing what it is like to be "hungry, tired, cold and trying to navigate social services" has led to her desire for a career in social work. Currently, she is working as an intensive case manager at Community Housing Partnership. Sarah received three New Leader Scholarships.
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