The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians hosted its 11th Annual Forging Hope Yawa’ Awards to celebrate the transformative work of nonprofits in the Inland Empire region and across Indian Country. Award recipients embody the time-honored Serrano concept of Yawa’ – “to act on one’s beliefs.”
Spectrum News Inland Empire Bureau Chief Mary Parks served as this year’s emcee to join San Manuel in honoring four organizations who demonstrate the essence of Yawa’ by making a significant difference in these philanthropic areas – economic & community development, health, education and special projects. The event welcomed more than 100 regional nonprofit groups who serve greater San Bernardino, the Inland Empire, and Indian Country to gather for a breakfast held at the National Orange Show.
“Our community is blessed with the unyielding support and dedication of nonprofits, and the Yawa’ Awards allow us to thank and recognize them for their life-changing work,” said San Manuel Band of Mission Indians Chairwoman Lynn Valbuena. “It has been an honor for the Tribe to host these awards and celebrate organizations who follow their call to Yawa’ and continue to make a positive impact in our region and across Indian Country.”
The 2019 honorees that have done extraordinary work to benefit their communities are:
- Riverside San Bernardino County Indian Health for providing critical healthcare services to the Native populations in the Inland Empire
- Bright Prospect for their dedication to empowering low-income students to break the cycle of poverty through higher education
- Family Assistance Program for their commitment to help homeless and runaway youth through their emergency shelter program “Our House Youth Shelter”
- Advocates for Indigenous California Language Survival for their work to preserve Native languages which are cornerstone to the way of life for California’s Indigenous People
During the award ceremony, these recipients received hand-crafted Yawa’ Awards designed by San Manuel Tribal youth. These hand-painted gourd rattles were specially designed to commemorate each organization’s dedication to acting on their beliefs.