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

to the theater through his emerging playwrights contest, innovative new works and creative outreach strategies. Dang's influence extends well beyond his theater, with East West Players' school performances and workshops aimed at bridging the gap among students of different racial backgrounds.

Kathryn Icenhower, SHIELDS for Families, Los Angeles

As a social worker in South L.A. during the 1980s' crack epidemic, Icenhower saw too many babies born addicted to drugs. Icenhower discovered that many women refused treatment at rehabilitation centers because they knew their children would go into foster care. She created a new model that keeps families together by letting children stay with their mothers at the treatment center, while also helping families address issues connected with substance abuse through family therapy, parenting classes, and housing, education and job training services. More than 80 percent of SHIELDS' clients complete their treatment programs (triple the national average), and the decrease in drug-exposed newborns saved one hospital $60 million per year. Icenhower also designed an initial assessment protocol that, during a child-welfare crisis, offers immediate assistance and treatment options. This new practice, recently adopted countywide, is expected to dramatically reduce new foster care cases in L.A. and save the county $92 million over five years.

Luis Santana, Reading and Beyond, Fresno

Shaped by his work with street kids in South America - and his own reading struggles as a child in Brazil - Santana believes that the path to a brighter future is paved with books. Reading and Beyond - begun 10 years ago in a church with 30 children - now tutors 600 students a day in 16 locations, including in an RV classroom that travels to students and families in their neighborhoods. The organization assesses each child's reading abilities, designs individualized plans and reass
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SOURCE The James Irvine Foundation
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