For fifteen years Dawn Manzanilla has cared for and supported the children and families at Gilbert Elementary School as the Health Clerk. Most people that meet Dawn easily recognize her incredible talent and enthusiasm for what she does. She has loved getting to know the people in her community and gaining their trust. Dawn took on a secondary role as Gilbert Elementary’s We’ve Got Your Back school liaison nearly seven years ago in the early years of the program. Gilbert entered the program with 10 families enrolled for a food backpack and today there are 115 families enrolled.
Dawn said, “The best part is seeing these kids smile every week.” These children in WGYB are often going through difficult situations at such a young age and when they get the backpack they rip it open, excited to see their favorite cereal or drink inside. This food is providing them with joy, stability, and healthy meals to support their development.
Dawn is just one of 44 people that help coordinate WGYB at each of the 45 schools in Orange County. These people do it voluntarily, knowing there is extra paperwork and effort involved, but they do it because they know the value it has for the families they serve and that’s incredibly selfless of them. We are so grateful for all the work these individuals do in order to make our program a success.
To show our gratitude to our school liaisons, GCHope held the WGYB Appreciation Luncheon hosted by Nutrilite in Buena Park on April 30. We all gathered for a day to celebrate and honor these people in our community that truly care for the poor and are actively seeking opportunities to help. Nutrilite provided the space and a delicious lunch, where Pastor Don Harbert from The Way Fellowship in Buena Park was the guest speaker. Don has been a pastor in Buena Park for 23 years and helps to facilitate an afterschool program for many of our WGYB kids. The guest speaker from last year and world class designer, George Esquivel, kindly donated a Tumi Travel wallet for a raffle. It was won by Walter Elementary liaison Claudia Coronado.
The following names are a few of our extraordinary liaisons that received awards at the luncheon for their tremendous service to the WGYB program and the children we serve.
Leticia Gutierrez, Centralia Elementary; Jennifer Garcia, Whitaker Elementary; Susan Swinfard, Melrose Elementary; Lori Cervantes, Sierra Preparatory Academy; Dawn Manzanilla, Gilbert Elementary.
It was a beautiful celebration that gave GCHope the change to recognize many city officials, school principals, liaisons, and other GCHope family members for helping make this program successful.