Since 1974, Samaritan House has lived up to its motto of “fighting poverty and lifting lives” throughout San Mateo County.
Founded by Dr. Cora Clemons, the nonprofit focuses on providing a diverse range of services for the community, such as health and dental services, food provisions, children’s programs, housing and shelter, employment resources and financial empowerment.
After receiving her nursing, masters and doctorate degrees, Clemons addressed the lack of access to social services for the financially insecure citizens of the county and took matters into her own hands by first helping the North Central neighborhood of San Mateo. As her assistance for those in need continued, Samaritan House has grown into a countywide agency, lifting the lives of many out of the cycle of poverty.
Inspired by its founder’s lifelong learning, dedication and advocacy of community service, the Samaritan House established the Dr. Cora Clemons Emerging Young Samaritan Award in 2021. Honoring the nonprofit’s mission of fighting poverty and lifting lives, the annual award is open to community members whose efforts make a positive impact on the community.
Previous winners, Roman and Avery Misner and Emma Quanbeck, made impactful differences in their communities. As people were quarantining and in lockdown amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, 15% of U.S. households reported food insecurity.
Seeing the problem in San Mateo County, Roman and Avery Misner took action by setting up bins in their neighborhood to collect goods for food banks. Roman Misner told Samaritan House, “We came together each week [and] brainstormed ideas for our flyers, talked about who we’d reach out to, what ways we could possibly get more donations.”
Over 15 months, Roman and Avery collected and donated more than 4,100 items to Samaritan House to address hunger in vulnerable households.
During the pandemic, Emma Quanbeck decided to create a safe space for students to discuss and empathize with one another regarding their experiences returning to school. Working with her school newspaper, the County Board of Education, and the Stanford Center for Youth Mental Health, Quanbeck hosted a virtual panel regarding the stigma surrounding mental health.
Through the panel, Quanbeck shared helpful mental health resources and support. Emma graduated from Aragon High School in 2022 and is planning to continue mental health outreach.
If you know someone who is serving the community or committed to services modeled by Dr. Clemons, applications can be submitted online or through a PDF form, which can be found atwww.samaritanhousesanmateo.org/dr-clemons-award/. Recipients of the $2,000 award must be 16-22 years old on Jan. 1, 2023, and can be nominated or apply directly. Nominees for the award must have worked to positively impact the community, such as organizing and implementing community service programs or projects that serve others, leading or promoting civic activism, developing academic outreach programs with local individuals or groups, and advocating for environmental sustainability.
Applications will be due by midnight on March 1, 2023. The award winner(s) will be announced in early March, and will be recognized at the annual Samaritan House Main Event in April.
Eileen Liu is a sophomore at Menlo-Atherton High School in Atherton. Student News appears in the weekend edition. You can email Student News at email@example.com.
My favorite local charity is East Palo Alto Ecumenical Hunger Program - they do a great job and get every dollar to the people who really need it
Should have checked first. Clemons started it but Kelly became director.
I thought former Serra teacher John Kelly founded Samaritan.
I can highly recommend Thomas Huening's biography on John Kelly, "The Quintessential Good Samaritan", available from www.Amazon.com
Very inspirational reading!
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