Teens recognized for making a difference

IECN photo courtesy Inland Center Mall: The 25th Annual Teens Make A Difference Awards Ceremony took place at Inland Center Mall on Thursday, May 10 that recognizes high school students for their volunteerism. Rialto High School took home the top school award for volunteering 17,471.77 hours.


The 25th Annual Teens Make A Difference Awards Ceremony took place at Inland Center Mall on Thursday, May 10th.  The ceremony recognized local high school students for their outstanding volunteer service at community places such as libraries, hospitals, schools, nonprofits and community based organizations.

A total of 64,453.81 hours of service were volunteered by 1,404 high school students from 13 schools in the past year.  All students with 25 hours or more were recognized with awards and received a goodie bag filled with fun items donated by Arrowhead and Inland Empire United Way and Inland Center stores.

The top student with the most hours volunteered was Estrella Moreno from San Bernardino High School who won the “Top Dawg” Award for volunteering 965 hours through Dignity Health at St. Bernardine Hospital, at the Family Focus Center where she assisted with daily routines, special event projects and monitoring youth that attended the after school program.

The Top School Award went to Rialto High School for volunteering over 17,471.77 hours with over 491 students. A big thanks to all the students and their school coordinator Patrick Kimmons.

Honorable Mentions for over 500 hours were Kashmaila Ali and Benjamin Hiller from Cajon High School and Kimberly Leonardo from San Bernardino High School.

Thank you to Mayor Carey Davis, City of San Bernardino, Carolyn Tillman – representing Ted Alejandre Superintendent of Schools San Bernardino County, Gwen Rogers – San Bernardino City Unified School District, Board Vice President and Dr. McDuffy – Assistant Superintendent for Rialto Unified School District who helped give away certificates of recognition to the students.

The value of a volunteer service hour for 2018 is $24.14 as determined by the Independent Sector; therefore, a contribution valued at $1,555,914.97 has been provided to our community.

“It has been an honor and a pleasure to honor these wonderful high school teens for unselfishly volunteering their time to help others in our communities,” said Terri Relf, Senior Marketing Manager for Inland Center Mall.  “It’s been 25 years since we started this program with only 35 students and each year there are more students volunteering and more hours volunteered. It’s inspiring!  These teens will continue to volunteer and teach others the importance of volunteering. We feel that this program is a wonderful way to recognize all the great things that young people do in our community every day for others.”

Communities that have benefited from volunteer hours performed by the students are: Colton, Grand Terrace, Highland, Loma Linda, Redlands, Rialto and San Bernardino, Yucaipa.

“Volunteering is a great way to become involved in your community.” said Doug Rowand, President & CEO at Arrowhead United Way, “ For teens, volunteering builds character and leadership qualities, and prepares youth for the working and academic environment after high school.

“We are always amazed at the passion, creativity, and energy these youth bring to their volunteerism,” noted Interim United Way CEO Gary Madden. “It is absolutely our pleasure to be part of the Teens Make A Difference program.”

Since the inception of the awards ceremony in 1993, we have recorded a total number of 15,592volunteers completing 1,380,384.61hours.  This is a program of Inland Center Mall, Arrowhead United Way’s Volunteers United program and Inland Empire United Way’s Volunteer Initiative, ieVolunteers. The mall is located at 500 Inland Center Drive, San Bernardino.  For more info call Inland Center Mall at 909-884-7268 or log on to the mall’s website at www.inlandcenter.com.

IECN photo courtesy Inland Center Mall: From left: Rialto Unified School District Lead Strategic Agent Dr. Darren McDuffie, Carolyn Tillman representing San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools, Arrowhead United Way President and CEO Doug Rowand, San Bernardino City Mayor Carey Davis, and Terri Relf, Senior Marketing Manager, Inland Center Mall.