Two recent graduates of San Diego County schools were chosen as honorees at the 2014 National Philanthropy Day Awards Luncheon. The event, presented by Sharp HealthCare, took place on Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2014, at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront Hotel. National Philanthropy Day is in its 42nd year and is organized by the Association of Fundraising Professionals, San Diego Chapter (AFPSD). This year’s theme is “Celebrating Philanthropy: Gifts of Time, Talent and Treasure.” Committed to celebrating the rich diversity in the region, National Philanthropy Day recognizes the critical role philanthropy plays in our community and honors those who do it best.
Outstanding Youth Volunteer Daily Aguilar was nominated by the Boys & Girls Clubs of San Dieguito. A recent graduate of Torrey Pines High School, Aguilar has been instrumental in helping to grow the Boys & Girls Club Teen Mentoring Program for the Eden Gardens community. Giving back to her community has always been important to Aguilar and her peers consider her a role model.
Aguilar started out as an elementary after-school club member of the La Colonia Branch of the Boys & Girls Clubs at age 9. As a member of the club, she actively encourages other teens to join and helped to grow the Teen Mentoring Program to more than 50 teens. She has also volunteered at the club as a leader in training; currently assists members at the club with arts and crafts, games, and activity cleanups; and also leads teen members through community volunteer activities such as feeding the homeless, volunteering with other nonprofits, and tutoring younger members. Along with her work at the Boys & Girls Club La Colonia Branch, Aguilar also helps the city of Solana Beach with its annual community events such as the Cinco de Mayo and Spring Festival Celebrations, and is a leader for her church group. A Solana Beach resident, Aguilar is a recipient of the prestigious Gates Millennium Scholarship (GMS) Award and the Boys & Girls Clubs of San Dieguito honored her as the 2013 Youth of the Year. Aguilar is currently a student at University of San Diego.
Outstanding Youth Volunteer Rosa Olascoaga was nominated by Reality Changers for acting as an agent of positive change in her community. Olascoaga is a four-year member of Reality Changers and has paved the way for future first-generation college students by serving as an ambassador for the organization. As a student, she earned her place at Reality Changers despite the program’s waiting list of 200 students. At the same time she started participating in the Mid-City CAN Youth Council, a local neighborhood leadership program that focused on improving her neighborhood through policy changes and community activism. Olascoaga was chosen by members of the council to introduce first lady Michelle Obama when the council had the honor of hosting her at a formal presentation. Although Olascoaga was the youngest member of the council, the students agreed she had more passion, commitment, and leadership than all other students combined. Since then, Olascoaga has had the honor of hosting U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, working side by side with San Diego’s “iMayor” and City Councilmember Todd Gloria during one of the city’s mayoral debates, and representing the San Diego neighborhood of City Heights at major events in Sacramento and Washington, D.C.
Olascoaga’s honors have all been due to her passion and leadership skills. She has volunteered to help improve the community by conducting neighborhood beautification projects, feeding the homeless in downtown San Diego, raising awareness about breast cancer, and distributing water at local races that raise money for charitable causes. At the San Diego Youth Commission, she has been one of the lead advocates for creating more park space in City Heights, where the population density is greater than in any other part of the San Diego region. She has worked with elected officials to develop more parks and recreational opportunities, as well as encourage physical activity among youth. After her brother was hit by a car while skateboarding, Olascoaga and the Mid-City CAN Youth Council successfully secured support to build a new skate park in City Heights. She has worked tirelessly to bring streetlights to some of the inner city’s darkest streets and provide fair education to all students across socioeconomic levels in City Heights. Olascoaga also planned a neighborhood Graffiti Clean-Up where more than 100 volunteers erased graffiti over the span of several city blocks. When the Reality Changers students and staff formed a Susan G. Komen 3-Day team to raise money for breast cancer research, Olascoaga made hundreds of pink ribbons and sold them to teachers, classmates, friends, and families, and was one of the top fundraisers for the Reality Changers team. A resident of the City Heights neighborhood in San Diego and a recent graduate of Patrick Henry High School, Olascoaga is currently a student at the University of San Francisco, majoring in political science.