Navigate Up
Menu + Public Affairs
Home > News Releases

Community Heroes Awards Ceremony May 4

Event to Honor Individuals Making a Difference in the Lives of People with Behavioral Health Illnesses
WHAT: 
The Santa Clara County Behavioral Health Board is holding its fifth annual Community Heroes Awards Ceremony and Reception to honor community members who have made an extraordinary difference in the lives of people with behavioral health illnesses. 
 
The Community Heroes Award Recipients include: Hilary Armstrong and Alison Brunner, Law Foundation of Silicon Valley, Mental Health Advocacy Project, Mover and Shaker Hero Award; Supervisor Cindy Chavez, Elected Official Hero Award; John Costa and Tony Lopez, BHSD Law Enforcement Liaison, Program Hero Award; EMQ FamiliesFirst, Agency Hero Award; Alicia Garcia Escobedo, Consumer Hero Award; Juan Perez, Family Member Hero Award; Rev. David Robinson, Correctional Institutions Chaplaincy, Inc., Agency Hero Award; and Herman Health Care - The Sollis Family, Program Hero Award.  (Award descriptions below.)
 
The Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) Officers of the Year will also be recognized: Officer Jeff Brandon, Morgan Hill Police Department; Officer Joshua Craig, Santa Clara Police Department; Officer Mark Cutler, Campbell Police Department; Officer Greg Ienni, Mountain View Police Department; Officer John Muok, Milpitas Police Department; Deputy Tami Parker, Office of the Sheriff; Lieutenant Rita Roland, Office of the Sheriff; Deputy Jeromie Smith, Office of the Sheriff; Officer Robin Smith, Sunnyvale Police Department of Public Safety; and Officer Brad Young, Palo Alto Police Department.
 
WHO:
Supervisor Dave Cortese, President, County of Santa Clara Board of Supervisors
Supervisor Cindy Chavez, County of Santa Clara Board of Supervisors
Toni Tullys, Director, Santa Clara County Department of Behavioral Health Services
René G. Santiago, Deputy County Executive, SCVHHS
Gail Price, Chair, Santa Clara County Behavioral Health Board
Sergio Aguilar-Gaxiola, MD, PhD, Keynote Speaker, Center for Reducing Health Disparities, UC Davis School of Medicine
Rev. Evelyn Vigil, Invocation
Award Recipients
 
WHEN:
Wednesday, May 4, 2016, 2:30-4:30 p.m. (with reception following event)
2 p.m. - Check-In
2:30 p.m. – Welcome
3:15 p.m. - Keynote speaker
3:40 p.m. - Awards Presentation
 
WHERE:  San Jose Masonic Center, 2500 Masonic Drive, San Jose
 
RSVP:  Email or call by April 30, 2016: Llolanda.Ulloa@hhs.sccgov.org or (408) 793-5677
 
HERO AWARD CATEGORIES AND RECIPIENTS
Agency Hero Award: An agency whose services for individuals with a behavioral health illness condition is consumer & family focused, professional, caring, compassionate, and innovative. The agency goes beyond the standard services/treatment and truly seeks to improve a client’s/consumer’s quality of life.
Agency Hero Award Recipients: EMQ FamiliesFirst (accepting award: Laura Champion); Correctional Institutions Chaplaincy, Inc. (accepting award: Rev. David Robinson)
 
EMQ FamiliesFirst (EMQFF) provides a range of critical behavioral health services for children and adolescents in Santa Clara County and in the State of California. The program/services help youth and families recover from trauma, such as abuse, severe neglect, addiction and poverty. The Continuum of Crisis Services include the Crisis Stabilization Unit, Mobile Crisis and the Community Transition Team to help children recover from immediate crisis and stabilize safely at home. The team can also facilitate hospitalization when needed with compassionate expert care and full family involvement. All services at EMQFF are individualized and culturally responsive in support of health and wellness in our communities.
 
Since its inception 50 years ago, the Correctional Institutions Chaplaincy, Inc., (CIC Ministries) has provided spiritual support and pastoral care to the mentally ill in the Santa Clara County jails and juvenile system. Chaplains and volunteers make the rounds and provide counsel, support, books, reading glasses, singing and prayer if desired. All chaplains and several volunteers have been trained to work with inmates with mental health conditions. For the past five years, specially trained volunteers have also offered “Finding Inner Peace” and Writing in Prayer.” Additionally, the program “Art and Spirit” has been offered to inmates in some units who want to create artwork; a recent display was featured at the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles and at several churches in the community. 
 
 
Consumer Hero Award: An individual who has received behavioral health services and has demonstrated impressive personal achievements and has provided hope, inspiration or knowledge to others facing similar challenges.
Consumer Hero Award Recipient: Alicia Garcia Escobedo
Alicia Garcia Escobedo’s outstanding and effective work with high-need families served by Family & Children Services of Silicon Valley (FCS) is guided by her own journey of facing trauma and its effects, including living in recovery and successfully reuniting with and raising her children. She has dedicated her career to working with survivors of partner abuse, child abuse, substance abuse, and trauma. Today, she engages high-risk students and families in supportive services and breaks stigma around behavioral health through culturally competent, strengths based services. Inspired by her experiences and success in redefining her life, Alicia strives to empower others with behavioral health challenges to recognize their own potential and find their own paths. 
 
 
Elected Official Hero Award: A key elected official who has provided exemplary service in advocating for those with behavioral illnesses and/or working to eliminate the stigma and stereotypes that surround the disease.
Elected Official Hero Award Recipient: Supervisor Cindy Chavez, County of Santa Clara Board of Supervisors
Supervisor Cindy Chavez has been a leader in the preservation and expansion of behavioral health services since assuming office in 2012. She has championed multiple initiatives and convened teams of experts, policy makers, and consumers/families to better understand and improve services to the most vulnerable in the county.  Improving access to behavioral health services has resulted in improving security and safety of individuals of varied circumstances. Her work has addressed human trafficking, domestic violence, lack of housing, custody operations and child abuse and neglect.
 
Family Member Hero Award: An individual who has a family member who receives behavioral health services and who has contributed to improving the lives of families who are impacted by behavioral health illness through advocacy, programs, or activities that reach beyond their own family circumstances to have an impact on the community and/or service delivery system.
Family Member Hero Award Recipient: Juan Perez
Juan Perez and his wife are dedicated to supporting their son who contends with severe mental illness; they are devoted to his recovery. Juan improves the lives of other families impacted by mental illness. He is a leader and advocate through the Hispanic Ethnic & Cultural Communities Advisory Committee (ECCAC Latino), as the VP for Spanish Outreach for NAMI Santa Clara County, and as a family outreach worker for the Behavioral Health Services Department. Juan is constantly available to help English and non-English speaking community members navigate the behavioral health system and get timely and appropriate care for their loved ones. As a native Spanish speaker, Juan provides support, advice, and understanding. Throughout his work, Juan delivers help and hope to individuals and families facing crises that require compassion and action.
 
 
Mover and Shaker Hero Award: A person who has recognized critical behavioral health needs in the greater community and has acted by creating and promoting collaborative innovative and creative initiatives that serve those in need.
Mover and Shaker Hero Award Recipient: Alison Brunner and Hilary Armstrong, Law Foundation of Silicon Valley’s Mental Health Advocacy Project (MHAP)
 
Since 1978, serving 4,000 people each year, the Law Foundation of Silicon Valley's Mental Health Advocacy Project (MHAP) has empowered people with mental health and developmental disabilities to live more independent, secure and satisfying lives by enforcing their legal rights and advancing their social and economic well-being. MHAP provides free legal advocacy and representation, training and technical assistance for mental health consumers, providers and the community-at-large. Law Foundation CEO Alison Brunner and MHAP Directing Attorney Hilary Armstrong are Movers and Shakers that protect the rights of and actively support the success of all mental health consumers in our community.
 
 
Program Hero Award: A behavioral health program that provides unique services that has had an extraordinary impact on consumers, family members and community.
Program Hero Award Recipients: John Costa and Tony Lopez, Santa Clara County Law Enforcement Liaison to the Behavioral Health Services Department; Herman Health Care Center – The Sollis Family
 
As retired police officers and the current Law Enforcement Liaisons to the Behavioral Health Services Department, John Costa and Tony Lopez close the gap between two complex bureaucracies: mental health and the criminal justice system. They teach the Interactive Video Simulation Training course through the County and the State of California. This training seeks to reduce officer use of force incidents impacting individuals with mental illness while also minimizing the stigma. The training goal is to improve interactions with at-risk individuals that result in safe outcomes and access to appropriate treatment.  Mr. Costa and Mr. Lopez use compassionate approaches that ensure the dignity of the clients.
 
Herman Health Care Center in Willow Glen has operated for over 80 years despite the significant programmatic and financial challenges that gero-psych facilities face. The Center provides exceptional care for stabilized older clients that have a behavioral health diagnosis.  The Sollis Family has provided very important services and has exceeded community expectations over the years due to the family's dedication and contribution to the gero-psych care of thousands of community members.
 
 
About the Behavioral Health Board
The Santa Clara County Behavioral Health Board, composed of members of the community at large, clients and family members of clients of the behavioral health system, represents the public interest and advises the HHS Behavioral Health Services Director and the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors on matters related to the administration of behavioral health services in Santa Clara County.
 
# # #
 
Contact: Laurel Anderson, Office of Public Affairs, (408) 299-5119; Joy Alexiou, Santa Clara Valley Health and Hospital System, (408) 885-4164
Posted: April 19, 2016