Palm Springs Human Rights Commission honors individuals and organizations with community service awards
The Palm Springs Human Rights Commission presented Community Service Awards to six individuals and two organizations for their outstanding contributions to the promotion and protection of human rights, social advancement, better life and equality for all.
The annual community service awards were held on Monday afternoon. The ceremony was held virtually due to the recent outbreak of COVID-19.
“This year’s eight outstanding honorees significantly improved the quality of life in Palm Springs when the community was in crisis to manage the pandemic,” reads an article from the Palm Springs Human Rights Commission.
This year’s winners included:
- Ann Sheffer is recognized for her leadership in supporting Palm Springs’ efforts to invest in local arts during the COVID-19 crisis. With the belief that the arts build social cohesion and address social equity, racial awareness, and civic engagement, Ann’s leadership with the City of Palm Springs Public Arts Commission has helped our city overcome the COVID crises. Artists are rightly seen as second responders in times of crisis. They support mental and physical health outcomes as well as community resilience and rebuilding.
- Vaccinate Inland Empire (VAXIE) is a grassroots volunteer organization that has helped over 78,000 people since February 2021 navigate the ever-changing COVID-19 vaccination system in Southern California. VAXIE was founded to address the need to provide equal access to vaccines for all. Founders Rhea Hoffman and Calista Vassios found that older people struggled to navigate online appointment systems, and undocumented and homeless communities didn’t know where to get their shots without being turned away. VAXIE provides a free service and assists qualified individuals, particularly those with work and time constraints, mobility issues, and those without computers, to schedule vaccination appointments, including booster vaccinations. What started as two friends concerned about neighbors most at risk has grown into a growing organization with over 25 volunteers.
- Chad Gardner is recognized for his spirit of generosity and support for the community in good times and through the complex COVID-19 crisis. Through donations, partnerships and special programs at his restaurants, Chad has had a positive impact on the community through numerous non-profit charities. His philanthropic support continued during the pandemic crisis, having a measurable impact on these nonprofits and the clients they served. He is a for-profit entrepreneur committed to helping local businesses and underserved citizens in the area thrive. Chad overcame the challenges of COVID-19 and helped address civic issues and community needs. He has served on the Main Street Palm Springs Board of Directors and the Mayor’s COVID-19 Business Transition & Re-entry Task Force.
- Nikki Stone is recognized as a great example of what it means to give back to your community through volunteerism. Giving of her time, energy and talent, without expectation of recognition or compensation, has been a guiding value for Nikki throughout her adult life. While she maintains the belief that volunteers are the heart and soul of our community, she has led by example with ten years of service with Volunteer Palm Springs – an organization that partners with nonprofits. and local community to help promote Palm Springs through volunteer efforts that will help make our community stronger. With longstanding ties to the community, Nikki volunteers with at-risk teens, sits on the board of Well in the Desert, and participates in local organizations and human rights efforts. His volunteerism has helped improve the quality of life and contributed to Palm Springs
- Jimmy Boegle is recognized for aligning business goals and initiatives with causes and social issues that benefit the wider community during a time of significant challenges for him personally. Coachella Valley Independent founder, editor and publisher Jimmy Boegle is committed to keeping the community informed about the science of the pandemic and data from the medical community. Jimmy is credited with keeping honest, ethical and independent local journalism alive during the COVID crisis while supporting nonprofits, promoting youth housing and access to health and social services. Like most businesses, revenue streams have been severely impacted by the impact of the pandemic. The changing economy and competition from tech platforms have made it difficult to pursue honest and transparent local journalism. Jimmy Boegle has remained true to his values and his commitment to the community he serves and has continued to keep the community informed so they can manage the pandemic safely and make informed decisions.
- The Desert Healthcare District and Foundation is recognized for increasing awareness, visibility and access to health services related to COVID-19 by establishing and leading the Coachella Valley Equity Collaborative (CVEC). The CVEC has been successful in linking community and faith-based organizations, government agencies and local farm owners to fight the COVID-19 outbreak and ensure a coordinated effort to maximize resources and avoid duplication in services and outreach. CVEC coordinated training, established weekly testing sites for area students, school staff, and community members, and hosted testing clinics at events. Since the launch of the first COVID-19 vaccination event at Tudor Ranch, Inc. in January 2021, numerous registrations and on-site vaccination events have taken place. As of November 2021, more than 219 COVID-19 vaccination clinics have administered 36,785 COVID-19 vaccines to residents in the district.
- Vincent Corrales is recognized for his conviction and his sincerity in the service of others. He is a warrior for humanity and serves the community selflessly and lovingly. At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Vincent publicly offered to run errands and buy groceries for people age 60 or older confined to their homes due to weakened immune systems or other conditions that prevented them from being in public. His compassion drives him to regularly prepare meals for the homeless in the area. Vincent testifies to the impact an individual can have on people who are homeless, hungry and in need. He has prepared hundreds of traditional Thanksgiving meals for families who would otherwise go without Thanksgiving. Vincent is recognized for improving the quality of life in Palm Springs, one life at a time. He also volunteers for various organizations and events, and he is a regular runner and fundraiser for AIDS Lifecycle.
- Dean Lavine is recognized for his support of charitable and fundraising events that have helped improve the quality of life for the people of Palm Springs. When the coronavirus pandemic first hit and restaurants and bars were ordered to close, it was an unprecedented situation for many business owners. As a socially minded business owner, Dean served on the Mayor’s COVID-19 Business Transition and Reintegration Task Force formed at the start of the COVID crisis. He provided leadership to help others in the community and served on the city’s Parklet Design Standards Task Force to suggest design guidelines and operational standards for parklets. Dean helped employees through the crisis, continued to support community organizations, and volunteered his time to help shape policy to help the business community get back to business in a COVID environment. Dean is an example of what makes Palm Springs a charitable and hospitable community.
Established in 1992, the Palm Springs Commission on Human Rights is a nine-member commission of citizen volunteers, appointed by the city council for three-year terms. The mission of the commission is to promote and protect the diversity of our community and to improve human relations through education and community