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

esses the child every nine weeks. On average, 70 percent of children enrolled for at least six months improve one grade level in reading, and some have improved four grade levels in one year. Building on Reading and Beyond's success with parents - nearly 17,000 have utilized the program - Santana has launched "College Now" to help parents gain a college education and improve their job prospects. His future plans include opening a Family Resource Center offering multiple services to local families.

Richard Valle, Tri-CED Community Recycling, Union City

Long before "green jobs" were popularized, Valle built a thriving business that benefits the environment and provides job opportunities for youth and workers who face employment challenges. It all started after Valle came back from Vietnam and began working with young prisoners. Realizing that they could thrive if given a chance, Valle founded Tri-CED nearly 30 years ago and has since employed 1,500 people ages 14 to 24, many of whom are at-risk or formerly incarcerated. Tri-CED today processes 2,208 tons of recyclables a month, while also helping employees turn their lives around. Many Tri-CED employees earn their high school diplomas, enroll in college, keep their jobs, support their families and stay out of trouble. Valle is now exploring a venture to recycle computer parts as well as a partnership with Chabot College to create a $4 million environmental education center that would offer vocational training, field trips for school children and English-language classes.

Jennifer Vanica, Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation, San Diego

San Diego's Diamond neighborhood was home to 88,000 people, 42 gangs, no major grocery chain, an intersection known as the "Four Corners of Death," and a deserted, 20-acre industrial lot - until Vanica and her staff engaged the community in turning it into a thriving commercial and cultural pla
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