Congrats to our 2023 Community Partners!
The community partners awards were officially announced last week uplifting the center’s most impactful partnerships with individuals and organizations over the past year. Each recipient received an award signifying their commitment in shaping community engagement in San Francisco while nurturing relationships with USF students and faculty. The award winners, normally recognized at the center’s year-end celebration, will be recognized at the Friendraiser Celebration on March 9 and honored throughout the year. Learn more about each community partner awardee and their dedication to serving the community around them!
The Engage SF Partnership Award signifying partnership with faculty, staff and students in support of a vibrant, thriving Western Addition recognizes Miriam Desmukes, Director of Prince Hall Learning Center. Miriam Desmukes has worked with children of all ages for over 30 years. She started her journey at Oakland Diocese for 12 years as an after-school co-director for Sacred Heart and Saint Martin de Porres Schools. In 1998 she began working with kids at the Freedom West Neighborhood Network Center. 2 years later, she came to Prince Hall Computer Learning Center, where she created and grew their youth program with families in the Western Addition. Miriam Desmukes is dedicated to advocating for children and helping them excel.
The Community Co-Educator Award for exceptional collaboration with USF faculty as a co-educator of service-learning students goes to the 826 Valencia Volunteer Management Team. 826 Valencia is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting students who live in under-resourced communities with their creative and expository writing skills and to helping teachers inspire their students to write. Their services are structured around the understanding that great leaps in learning can happen with individualized attention and that strong writing skills are fundamental to future success. They offer free writing, tutoring, and publishing programs for youth ages six through eighteen in whimsical Writing Centers and in public schools in San Francisco.
The Change Maker Award given to an individual for playing a significant role in shaping community engagement at USF is given to Silena Layne, Program Director and Steward of Community at Faithful Fools. Silena is a proud San Francisco native, University of San Francisco Alum, educator, advocate and community leader invested in making sure more women of color in leadership are visible and participating fully in the decision-making process for those in under-resourced neighborhoods in San Francisco and Oakland. After graduating from USF in 2003 she joined the US Peace Corps as an HIV/AIDS crisis mitigator in Swaziland – Southern Africa. Silena began teaching, coaching and offering after school care to students at Town School for Boys once home from Africa. Silena co-founded two tuition-free organizations: YOU Choose (a violence transformation program for Oakland Youth) and Opportunity Impact (an After School and Summer Program in the Fillmore housing developments aka Collective Impact).
The Trailblazer Award for demonstrating spirit and fortitude in making a lasting positive impact on San Francisco communities is presented to Rudy Corpuz, Founder and Executive Director of United Playaz. Born and raised in San Francisco, Rudy Corpuz Jr. is the Founder and Executive Director of United Playaz. As an ex-felon, Rudy got involved in the Second Chance program of the Extended Opportunity Program Services (EOPS) at SF City College. United Playaz was able to recently purchase their building and Rudy is now a stakeholder in SOMA and is working hard to build up the community that he once destroyed. Rudy feels blessed to serve with the people and believes strongly in the UP motto that “It takes the hood to save the hood.”
Join us in honoring them at our Friendraiser Celebration!