Santa Monica Honors Two Middle Schoolers for Service Projects
Students earn accolades from City Council, Chamber of Commerce
Sixth-grader Tyson Clark isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty. After applying for and receiving a Pico Wellbeing Micro-grant over the summer, he implemented his plan to organize a community cleanup day. On July 27, more than 25 participants filled up two dumpsters-worth of trash and recycling from around Virginia Avenue Park.
Tyson was honored for his project at the Oct. 15 meeting of the Santa Monica City Council. Santa Monica Mayor Pro Tempore Terry O'Day thanked Tyson for “making our community safer, cleaner and more beautiful” and for facilitating “new connections between neighbors of all ages and spark[ing] interest in regular community cleanups.” In a video message, Mayor Gleam Davis congratulated all of the micro-grant winners: “I’m so proud of you all that you saw a need, you filled a need and you are doing great things for our community.”
“It was really amazing to help the community,” says Tyson. “I’m going to [apply] again next year and I would encourage other students to do it, too.”
Eighth-grader Cali O’Donovan earned the 2019 Young Inspirational Hero Award from the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce. For her seventh-grade service learning project at Crossroads, Cali helped create an awareness campaign about the humanitarian crisis at the border, collecting items and personally delivering them to children and families at a migrant shelter in Tijuana. Seeing firsthand how little access the children there had to educational materials, Cali began an online book drive.
“In the shelter, there were only five books and a soccer ball for 50 kids to share,” she explains. “Hopefully, the book donations are making some impact. It gives the kids something to engage them and make this period of their lives a little easier.”
Middle School Core teacher and Service Learning Coordinator Josh Adler nominated Cali for the award, noting: “Cali is a social justice leader who has taken a strong interest in advocating for the rights of refugees and asylum seekers. Cali approaches all of her work—academic, social, artistic, athletic and humanitarian—with kindness, integrity, humility, compassion and generosity of spirit.” Josh introduced Cali at the Nov. 5 New Heroes Celebration held at the Santa Monica Catholic Community Grand Pavilion.
Tyson and Cali are both children of Crossroads staff members. Tyson’s mother is Arts Administrator Janeen Jackson and Cali’s father is Events Manager Kevin O’Donovan.