The San Diego Regional Hate Crimes Coalition’s (SDRHCC) has given two first place awards in its annual Unity in Action contest. The winners are University City High’s Power of One program and Serra High’s ELEVATED Student Relations Committee.
The SDRHCC’s Unity in Action contest was developed as a way to recognize programs in our schools that promote unity, diversity and/or tolerance. The Coalition found that there are many excellent programs in San Diego County.
“On behalf of the San Diego Regional Hate Crimes Coalition, we are extremely impressed with the two local high school programs from University City High and Serra High, which are co-winners of our Unity in Action Contest for 2009,” said Deputy District Attorney Oscar Garcia, who is the Chairman of the SDRHCC.
“Both of these programs, University City’s “The Power of One” and Serra’s “Elevated Students Relations Committee” clearly embrace the mission of the Hate Crimes Coalition, which is to promote the appreciation of diversity and the prevention of bias motivated behavior. It is certainly refreshing to find our youth committing themselves in such a positive manner for the betterment of our community. We are proud to honor them with this award,” Garcia added.
University City High’s “Power of One” is a program within a class, which has a goal of personal responsibility through diverse teamwork and community role models, according to its contest entry form.
“The Power of One is an ordinary psychology class doing extraordinary things,” its teacher Lauriann Stanley said. “The curriculum is modeled on a University Course entitled Happiness 101. The basic premise is that students are unhappy today because they feel they cannot make a difference in their world. This course gives them the opportunity to daily do something for others. After in-depth psychological studies, the course requirements include weekly volunteer projects, random acts of kindness, letters of appreciation, cultural plunges, guest speakers and intensive group discussions.”
“It is such a special honor for the students who rarely get recognized in a celebratory and positive way for the efforts they invest in making the world a better place,” added Ms. Stanley, the teacher who teaches the Power of One. “These students have worked for months with each other on volunteer projects and making the garden such a special place. Today they celebrate! “
Serra High’s “ELEVATED Student Relations Committee” is an all-inclusive group with the main goal of unifying the diverse groups on the school’s campus, according to its entry form. “ELEVATED is about breaking down barriers and creating unity according to the program’s advisor Krissie McClain. “Two of the topics they chose to work on this year were racial segregation and homophobia. The goal is to start out small-scale on Serra High’s campus and further reach out to other schools, families, and the community.”
“Receiving the Unity in Action Award this year was more than ELEVATED could’ve asked for. ELEVATED students, advisors, and even the school staff were very proud to hear about this award,” McClain added. “Not only being recognized for their hard work, but also giving the students more opportunity to grow within their own lives, as well as the growing potential to reach out to others, is what keeps them going. We have seen graduates from Serra High move onto college and use their leadership skills to play a role in similar groups. Our hope is to gain sustainabi-lity and expand out with this group.”
The San Diego Regional Hate Crimes Coalition was formed eleven years ago to unite law enforcement agencies with community-based organizations to tackle issues presented by hate crimes in our community. Members of the Coalition include representatives from all law enforcement agencies in the county and members of many diverse community-based organizations.