On July 14, 2022, the annual Jamil Dada Character Excellence Youth Award Ceremony took place at March Air Field Museum, in Riverside, CA. The Riverside County Workforce Development honored youth who have overcome some of life's most significant challenges. (source: YouTube.com)

By IEV Staff

The Riverside County Workforce Development Board has honored 10 youths from across the county for their exemplary character while overcoming some of life’s most significant challenges.

The 2022 Jamil Dada Character Excellence Youth Awards identified young leaders in their communities who, in spite of difficult and sometimes tragic situations, were determined to earn a high school diploma. 

This year’s winners – Angie Cortex Ramos (Jurupa Valley), Brianna Espino (Palm Desert), Chandler Gibbens (Riverside), Jason Ruiz (Moreno Valley), Kaine Spurlin (San Jacinto), Monnaje McCorley (San Jacinto), Samatha Gonzalez (lake Elsinore), Sierra Alvarez (bermuda Dunes), Ulysses Aguilar (Murrieta) and Zayla Overton (Perris) – received $2,500 in educational scholarships and a trophy award in the ceremony held Thursday at the March Field Air Museum.

They also received legislative certificates and recognition at the award ceremony whose keynote speaker was the NFL’s Green Bay Packers linebacker and former UCLA standout athlete Kenny Clark.  The event was hosted by Syeda Jafri, an on-air personality at 96.7 FM KCAL Rocks.

“This is an amazing and important program that supports youth, particularly those who are disconnected, helping them achieve their educational goals and dreams,” said Jamil Dada, for whom the award is named. 

Dada, a local, state and federal youth advocate, currently serves as the Riverside County Workforce Development Board Vice Chair. 

A  panel of evaluators determined that the awardees exemplified two or more of the six pillars of character – trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship. 

The annual event and youth scholarships are funded through generous contributions from local businesses, community partners, non-profit agencies, and net proceeds from event ticket sales.