San Bernardino, CA – The 18th annual Teens Make A Difference Awards Ceremony took place at Inland Center’s Center Court. This ceremony recognized local high school students for their outstanding volunteer service at community places such as libraries, hospitals, schools, nonprofits and other community based organizations.
A total of 77,821 hours of service were volunteered by 901 high school students this past year. All students with 25 hours or more were recognized with certificates of recognition, a goody bag filled with fun items including mall coupons from Inland Center stores and a ticket to an Inland Empire 66er baseball game. The value of a volunteer service hour is $23.42 as determined by the Independent Sector; therefore, a contribution valued at $1,822,568 has been provided to our community.
Students from the following communities were recognized: Colton, Grand Terrace, Highland, Loma Linda, Mentone, Redlands, Rialto, San Bernardino, Hesperia and Yucaipa.
The highlight of the night was the “Top School” award that was granted to San Gorgonio High School for the second year in a row. This year San Gorgonio High School had 217 students participate in over 16,400 hours of community service. In addition, Haley Yzaguirree of Citrus Valley High School was awarded the “Top Dawg” award for the student who conducted the most amount of community service hours.
“The “Teens Make a Difference Awards” ceremony was created by Inland Center to encourage high school teens to volunteer in their communities and has grown from 35 students to over 900! “It’s really exciting to watch the students cheer for each other and their school.” said Terri Relf, Senior Marketing Manager at Inland Center Mall, “This event has grown so much over the years, and is a testament to the wonderful high school students and all the good they do right here in our community.”
“Volunteering is a great learning experience, especially for teens” said Monique Rodriguez, Community Impact Coordinator at Arrowhead United Way, “not only are they learning new skills to become the leaders of the tomorrow, but they are changing the lives of those they come in contact with.”
Since the inception of the awards ceremony in 1993, a total number of 7,813 volunteers completing 932,862 hours of service have been recorded. This is a program of Inland Center Mall, Arrowhead United Way’s Volunteers United program and Inland Empire United Way’s Volunteer Initiative, Hands On Inland Empire.