February 1, 2023 



First In-Person Event in Four Years: Awards, Keynote, Entertainment, and More
Santa Clara, Calif. – For the first time in four years, the YMCA Project Cornerstone Asset Champions Awards will be held in person. Themed, “Creating Connections: Youth. Family. Community.” the event will be held on March 17, 2023, from 7-9 AM PST at the Santa Clara Convention Center’s Mission City Ballroom. An adult and youth emcee will lead an agenda which includes presentation of the seven Asset Champions awards, a keynote speaker, youth entertainment, and more. 
“We are so grateful for the support we received when we moved to an online event the past three years. We are now ready, and believe our community is also ready, to come together and celebrate in person,” said Ziem Nguyen Neubert, Executive Director, YMCA Project Cornerstone. “We are really looking forward to re-connecting with everyone to build our community, share stories, and inspire one another in ways that support youth."
Asset Champions Honorees 
Award recipients include organizations and individuals who support Project Cornerstone’s mission of building a support network so that young people grow into healthy, caring, and responsible adults. The 2023 Asset Champions honorees are:

  • Lauri Scirigione, Lauri Gray’s School of Dance
    • The Adult Role Model award recognizes an adult who models and inspires positive responsible behavior for young people. 
  • Silicon Valley Youth Climate Action
    • The Community Values Youth award honors people/businesses that demonstrate to young people that the community values their contributions and efforts.  
  • Farah Tavana, Van Meter Elementary, Los Gatos Union School District
    • The Positive Peer Influence award recognizes a person, 24 years or younger, whose actions and behaviors make them positive role models for their peers. Nominees must also be 24 years or younger. 
  • Annameekee Hesik, Teacher, Los Gatos High School, Los Gatos-Saratoga Union High School District
    • The Positive Cultural Identity award recognizes people/businesses that help young people feel supported, comfortable, and proud of their identity. 

In the “Caring School Climate” category, these schools are transforming their campuses into caring communities where all students are valued and feel welcomed and respected:

  • Aptitud Community Academy at Goss, Alum Rock Union School District: Caring Pre-K-Elementary School 
  • Price Middle School, Cambrian School District: Caring Middle School 
  • South County Community School, Santa Clara County Office of Education: Caring High School 

Keynote Speaker 
Dr. Victor Rios is a professor, author, and speaker. Using his personal experience of being incarcerated as a juvenile, along with his research findings, Dr. Rios seeks to uncover how best to support the lives of young people who experience poverty, stigma, and social exclusion. The author of six books, he has also been featured in several TED Talks, the Oprah Winfrey Network, Primer Impacto, National Public Radio, and PBS NewsHour.  Please visit his website to learn more about his work! Also please visit to learn more about his Professional Learning Organization. 

Emcees, Entertainment, and Registration 
Maribel Martínez, County of Santa Clara, Division of Equity and Social Justice, and Sai Kotakonda, student at Fremont High School, will be this year’s adult and youth emcee, respectively. Entertainment includes a performance from El Grito de la Cultura.

Registration and ticket sales are available through Eventbrite and closes on March 2, 2023: 

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About the YMCA of Silicon Valley and Project Cornerstone 
YMCA of Silicon Valley is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit strengthening community through youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility. Across Santa Clara and San Mateo counties, YMCA of Silicon Valley serves 250,000 members and participants — regardless of age, income, or background — by nurturing the potential of children and teens, improving health and well-being, and providing opportunities to give back and support our neighbors. For more information, visit: 
Project Cornerstone is a non-profit organization and community initiative of the YMCA of Silicon Valley. Our mission is to ensure all youth feel valued, respected, and known so they grow into healthy, caring, and responsible adults. We engage youth, parents/caring adults, and staff from schools and community organizations to strengthen healthy social and emotional skills and behaviors, build positive relationships, and create safe and supportive environments. For more information, visit   
Media Contact:  
Rona Brodrick 
[email protected]