As a child and early teen, I volunteered forty hours per week
each summer at my local Naval Hospital as a ‘candy striper’ for
the American Red Cross. Through my high school years, I
spent many hours at a local nursing home listening to stories,
laughing and just receiving joy from the residents who didn’t
have regular family visitors.
When I think of how I would want to make a difference in
someone’s life, I have always arrived at the conclusion to “just
do the right thing” for as long as I can remember, I have
always been involved in community service.
Gerri Lynn Ayala was born August 6, 1976, the 15th of 16
children. But unlike the other 14 born before her, Gerri was born
with Cerebral Palsy with seizure activity and autism. She
is paraplegic, wheelchair bound with limited left side use of her
body. She has the IQ of a pre-schooler, will never walk or
live on her own. Gerri will never get married or know how it
feels to raise a child.
Secretary of Service and Volunteering Karen Baker was named the
first recipient of the Augustus Freeman Hawkins Award at the
California State Employees Charitable Campaign Appreciation Event
in March. The award was presented by Lisa Ransom, granddaughter
of Hawkins, the first African American Congressman elected west
of the Rockies and founder of the California State Employees
August 20, 2012Alice Scott, State Treasurer's Office
When he was 2 months old, my son Ken Roberts Jr. had emergency
surgery for pyloric stenosis. When he was almost 18 months
old he was diagnosed at the U.C. Davis Mind Institute with Autism
Spectrum Disorder and then later with a severe hearing loss.
It was three in the afternoon, and suddenly, time stood still. I
will never forget that call. We were told that we needed to go to
Children’s Hospital of Orange County immediately with a bag
packed for three days. On that day, Ava’s world and our world as
a family was changed forever. Ava had type 1 diabetes.
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