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The 2009 James Irvine Foundation Leadership Awards Honor Extraordinary Californians for Innovative, Practical Solutions
Date:6/9/2009

nger summaries and photographs - visit: www.irvine.org/leadership.

Recipients of the 2009 James Irvine Foundation Leadership Award are:

Josefina Alvarado Mena, Safe Passages/Youth Ventures Joint Powers Authority, Oakland

In the fifth grade, Alvarado Mena led a lunch strike, demanding healthier, culturally relevant foods. She succeeded and hasn't stopped since. She leads a groundbreaking collaboration, Safe Passages/Youth Ventures Joint Powers Authority (JPA), which includes Alameda County, the City of Oakland, and the Oakland and San Lorenzo Unified School Districts. Typically JPAs manage transportation and infrastructure projects, but Alvarado Mena argued that the issues facing low-income youth are just as complex and also involve numerous agencies. Her partnership - which leverages public and private funds - improves the delivery of violence prevention, mental health and juvenile justice programs. As a result, children in their Early Childhood Initiative show reduced aggression and improved social behavior; a middle school violence prevention/social skills curriculum resulted in 72 percent fewer suspensions; and alternatives for juvenile offenders have dramatically reduced the recidivism rate.

Tim Dang, East West Players, Los Angeles

The nation's oldest professional theater of color, East West Players has been the stage for major Asian American actors (Tony Award-winner B.D. Wong, Star Trek's George Takei and House's Kal Penn, among others). Under Dang's leadership, East West Players has also become a full-fledged regional theater and multicultural hub. Dang has expanded the public's understanding of "Asian American" by showcasing a wide range of Asian characters and cultures, as well as non-Asian artists. He has brought new playwrights and audiences (nearly half of whom are non-Asian)
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SOURCE The James Irvine Foundation
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