On Saturday night, more than 700 people attended the Beautiful Bakersfield Awards Gala at the Rabobank Theater and Convention Center. The awards, in their 29th year, were presented by Kern Schools Federal Credit Union, and honor the accomplishments of people, organizations and businesses striving to improve the quality of life in Bakersfield. There were 110 nominees in 16 categories. Here are the award recipients who were recognized at the event.
A BETTER BAKERSFIELD
Sponsored by Comprehensive Blood & Cancer Center
An annual event or project that enhances the quality of life in the community.
Give Big Kern: Hosted by the Kern Community Foundation on the first Tuesday in May, Give Big Kern helps local nonprofits raise money from crowdfunding and pledge volunteer hours through a highly publicized online day of giving. On May 1, 2018, Give Big Kern broke records by raising upward of $231,000 from close to 1,800 donors, and securing 52,000 pledged volunteer hours for 119 hardworking local charities.
Sponsored by Emser Tile
The completion of a brand-new interior and/or exterior building design integrating the environment with space and materials.
Valley Children’s Healthcare Eagle Oaks Specialty Care Center: Valley Children’s opened the Eagle Oaks Specialty Care Center in southwest Bakersfield in October 2018. This 52,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art medical center designed with children in mind, serves many families in the Kern County area by providing them with the best pediatric specialty care in a kid-friendly environment. As parents and children enter the building, they are greeted by a 30-foot-high sculpture of George, Valley Children’s beloved giraffe mascot. (Quiring Construction, contractor; Valley Children’s Medical Group, developer; Valley Children’s Medical Group, owner.)
ARTS & CULTURE
Sponsored by KGET-TV 17
Efforts by a group or individual to improve and/or enhance the arts and culture within our community.
Bakersfield Music Theatre & Stars Theatre Restaurant: Since 1969, the small staff and large group of volunteers at Bakersfield Music Theatre & Stars Theatre Restaurant has been providing quality theater and performing arts education in Kern County. The organization continues that tradition by offering an inspiring lineup of musicals and plays that reach more than 10,000 audience members annually, youth workshops and special events, bringing the Broadway experience to Bakersfield.
Sponsored by Aera Energy LLC
Efforts by an educator, project or school/college that promotes or benefits education in our city at all levels.
Bakersfield College Dual Enrollment Program: The Dual Enrollment Program at Bakersfield College provides eligible high school students with a seamless pathway to postsecondary education that allows them to earn high school and college credit simultaneously. These credits give students not only a head start on their college degrees, but the self-confidence to succeed. More than 100 high school instructors provide college-level instruction at 30 area high schools, reaching a student enrollment of nearly 10,000 in 2018-19.
Sponsored by Heart Vascular & Leg Center
An individual, group or organization that has made a significant contribution toward healthy living in Bakersfield through education, prevention or medical services.
Valley Children’s Healthcare Eagle Oaks Specialty Care Center: The Eagle Oaks Specialty Care Center serves the 1.3 million children of the Central Valley by providing them with high-quality, comprehensive pediatric specialty care. The center works with community partners to promote pediatric health and wellness in Kern County, so that our children can have brighter tomorrows. Their clinical partnerships extend throughout Kern County and they include Bakersfield Memorial Hospital, Kern Medical Center, Delano Regional Medical Center, Adventist Health Tehachapi Valley and Ridgecrest Regional Hospital. Through these partnerships, Valley Children’s provides education and support to staff members to ensure each can meet the health care needs of every child.
Sponsored by Chevron
A group whose efforts have made a significant impact in the community.
Bakersfield Condors: The Bakersfield Condors truly believe that giving back is at the heart of their organization’s success, whether that be providing affordable family entertainment, giving donations to nonprofits and visiting with community groups. Their largest community events include the Teddy Bear Toss and Undie Sunday. During these events, more than 8,400 teddy bears along with 3,500 sock and undergarments were collected for the United Way of Kern County and The Mission at Kern County. The team’s players and mascot also make appearances at many local schools, parks and churches.
Sponsored by Dignity Health Mercy & Memorial Hospitals
An individual whose personal efforts have made a significant impact in the community.
Janelle Capra: In 2018, Janelle Capra stepped up to serve as board president of the Alzheimer's Disease Association of Kern County; chair of Cupid's Challenge and governing board member for the Mendiburu Magic Foundation; and creator of Battle of the Bags, which supports the Bakersfield Ronald McDonald House. She helped to raise awareness and much-needed funds for causes that are very close to her heart. Alzheimer's can be a very dark disease but thanks to the Alzheimer's Association and ADAKC, she has learned to share the light with others impacted by this devastating disease. She is the newly appointed executive director of ADAKC.
Sponsored by DoubleTree by Hilton Bakersfield
The completion of a renovated design that upgrades an existing structure and/or incorporates the use of landscaping to enhance the aesthetic value of the property.
David Nelson Pocket Park, Children First: The David Nelson Pocket Park in east Bakersfield sits on the site of a long vacant lot which had previously been an eyesore, and a collection site for litter and illegal dumping. Children First successfully transformed the once-blighted area into a beautiful green space for children and local families. Named after Bakersfield Police Officer David Nelson, who lost his life in the line of duty, the park has quickly become an important community asset, celebrated by many community members as a beacon of hope and source of pride. (Cater Design Group, architect; Children First, owner.)
Sponsored by Pacific Gas & Electric Co.
An individual or group from 14 to 20 years old that, through personal involvement and endeavors, has answered the challenge of good citizenship.
“Hidden in Plain Sight,” Jim Burke Education Foundation Dream Builders team: To combat human trafficking in our community, the Jim Burke Education Foundation Dream Builders team, sponsored by The Garlic Co., created a video presentation and curriculum for high school students. The presentation, titled “Hidden in Plain Sight,” is being viewed in all high school health classes throughout the county to make the unseen seen. These eight student leaders worked with community volunteers, KGET-TV 17, staff and counselors from the Kern High School District, Bakersfield Police Department, the FBI, and the Kern Coalition Against Human Trafficking to develop a plan to achieve their goals.
Sponsored by Young Wooldridge LLP
An individual or group from kindergarten to eighth grade that, through personal involvement and endeavors, has answered the challenge of good citizenship.
Cody Tiede: Cody’s Pine Cones started with a vision of a young boy who wanted to make an impact in the community by collecting and making decorative pine cones for different holidays. His love, dedication and commitment to his organization has inspired other children, the community and local businesses to help in his efforts. Cody has raised nearly $5,000 for the Bakersfield Ronald McDonald House and in 2018, the house served more than 500 families.
Sponsored by Bank of the Sierra
An individual from 21 to 40 years old whose efforts truly impact and enhance the quality of life in the community.
Tiara King: Creating a culture in her hometown of Bakersfield where boundaries are respected, men are honored, women are valued and children experience a healthy childhood that leads to a successful future is a long-term goal of Tiara King. She is passionate about the prevention and awareness of sexual assault and abuse. In 2018, she partnered with Kristin Smith of Smith & McCain to start a nonprofit aimed at decreasing the demand of sex trafficking; put on a paint night for kids at the Dream Center; and mentored youths through the ShePower Leadership Academy.
BUSINESS PERSON OF THE YEAR
Sponsored by Robin’s Enviro Vac
A local business owner/manager whose efforts truly impact and enhance the quality of life in the community.
Raji Brar, Countryside Corp.: Raji Brar is the chief operations officer for Countryside Corp., which has a construction and real estate development division and operates various franchises like Subway, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, Brookside, Countryside Markets and Shell gas stations that all employ more than 400 people in Kern and Tulare counties. Raji serves on various educational boards and is the co-founder of the Bakersfield Sikh Women's Association that has given out more than $100,000 in scholarships since its inception in 2015.
CORPORATION OF THE YEAR
Sponsored by Deprigo
A local business owner/manager whose efforts truly impact and enhance the quality of life in the community.
Dignity Health Mercy & Memorial Hospitals: Delivering on their promise to serve Kern County's most vulnerable and marginalized populations, Dignity Health Mercy & Memorial Hospitals serve more than 100,000 residents each year by providing valuable health care services, resources and screenings, supporting community organizations through grants and partnerships, offering educational programs, and advocating for social justice through its homeless, veterans and human trafficking initiatives. Dignity Health employees are invested in their community, volunteering, raising awareness and tens of thousands of dollars to support local health care and social causes.
HARVEY L. HALL LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT
Sponsored by Hall Ambulance Service Inc.
A local longtime community leader who has made a lasting impact to Bakersfield and its residents.
Gloria Williams, California Resources Corp.: Seeing the value in partnerships and understanding the importance of working together to make our community thrive is a value that Gloria Williams holds dear to her heart. Gloria is the community outreach adviser for California Resources Corp. and was instrumental in helping to implement CRC’s STEM outreach programs in local school districts. She currently serves on several boards and committees like the Bakersfield Homeless Center; the Boys & Girls Clubs of Kern County; Kern County Oil Contractors Association; Kern EDC STEMposium Advisory Committee; and the Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Bakersfield Advisory Council.
NONPROFIT OF THE YEAR
Sponsored by Kern Community Foundation
Efforts of a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that impacts the community.
The Mission at Kern County: The Mission at Kern County opened the Lee & Krystyna Jamieson Recovery Home for Women & Children in May 2018. This 18-month abuse and addiction recovery home for women with children offers a safe living environment, clothing, food and other services free of charge. Additionally, they receive daily counseling, Bible studies, education, life skills, parenting classes, job therapy and vocational training to learn the skills needed to live independently. Since opening last year, the recovery home has taken in 25 moms and 41 children.
SMALL BUSINESS OF THE YEAR
Sponsored by Bank of America
A small business (25 employees or less) whose contributions and/or products and services instill community pride.
Moneywise Wealth Management: Moneywise Wealth Management is constantly engaging and utilizing its business, resources, people, and eclectic passions and experiences to inspire, empower and invest in the current community and as well as its future. Last year, Moneywise sponsored the Bakersfield Museum of Art’s “Art After Dark” series; the first round of Be In Bakersfield’s Mural Alley project; and continues to do “Moneywise Gives Back,” a monthly project where the business selects a local nonprofit, makes a donation and raises awareness about the nonprofit through Moneywise’s media resources.
Sponsored by Castle & Cooke
This award is chosen from among all nominee submissions, and given to the nominee that is recognized for overall excellence.
Portrait of a Warrior Gallery: Only the second in the country, the Portrait of a Warrior Gallery memorializes our local warriors and educates our community. Simply and yet powerfully, the gallery memorializes and educates our community with portraits of the 27 post-9/11 warriors from Kern County, who were killed in action or died as a result of wounds suffered on the battlefield. At this unique gallery, our fallen heroes will be forever remembered through these ever-changing displays that share their stories of hope, sacrifice and freedom.