2018 Golden Acorn Awards spotlight achievement by Menlo Park organizations and people

by Contributed Content on September 7, 2018

On September 20th, the Menlo Park Chamber of Commerce will present the Golden Acorn Awards in recognition of leadership throughout the Menlo Park community. The awards, now in their 42nd year, celebrate achievement through innovation, professionalism and contributions by organizations, individuals and volunteers.

The keynote speaker will be Rich Gordon, current President/CEO of the California Forestry Association and former State Assembly Member representing the 24th Assembly District in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties (2010 to 2016).

The awards and following reception, will be held at the Hotel Nia from 5:00 to 7:00 pm. This year’s award recipients are:

Community Service: All Students Matter: Since 2008, All Student Matters (ASM) has been committed to the idea that all children deserve an equal opportunity to learn. In this spirit, ASM volunteers travel each week to the Ravenswood City School District to tutor elementary school students in their classrooms. The trained volunteers inspire the students to improve their academic performance and can be counted among the reliable and engaged adults in these children’s lives.

All Students Matter supports five elementary schools in the Ravenswood district which includes Belle Haven School and Willow Oaks School in Menlo Park. All Students Matter started with 10 volunteers in the Belle Haven school and has grown consistently under the guidance of their seasoned volunteer leadership. Today, the organization with over 200 volunteers serves nearly 70 classrooms from Transitional Kindergarten through 5th grade to support literacy and the social-emotional challenges of the students.

Business Excellence: Menlowe Ballet: Menlowe Ballet is a professional ballet company performing work that impacts Bay Area audiences through exceptional dance and stirring, innovative choreography. Launched in 2011, the company performs works that encompass cultural, classical and contemporary styles. Founders Sarah-Jane Measor and Michael Lowe have recognized an opportunity to bring a new choreographic voice to the dance canvas on the Peninsula, as well as address an underserved local community in professional performing arts offerings.

One of Menlowe Ballet’s core values is to continue the tradition of passing dance on from one generation to the next – artist to artist. Menlowe Ballet provides opportunities to local aspiring students from its official ballet school, the Menlo Park Academy of Dance. The company’s seasonal performances are held at the Menlo-Atherton Center for the Performing Arts.

Professional Excellence: Bill McClure: City Attorney William L. (“Bill”) McClure has been practicing law in Menlo Park since 1978. As a partner at Jorgenson, Siegel, McClure & Flegel, LLP, Bill specializes in real estate, land use, business and municipal law.

Bill grew up in Menlo Park, attended Oak Knoll School, Menlo Atherton High School and continued his education in the Bay Area receiving his law degree from the University of Santa Clara in 1978. Bill has served as the City Attorney for the City of Menlo Park since 1993, becoming Menlo Park’s fifth attorney since its incorporation in 1927. Over those years, Bill has provided legal representation and professional guidance to the City of Menlo Park, City staff, Council members and over 20 Mayors.

Unsung Hero: Meals on Wheels: Peninsula Volunteers, Inc.’s Meals on Wheels program delivers over 3,000 hot, nutritious meals from their kitchens each week to homebound seniors and adults with disabilities in San Mateo County who are unable to cook and shop for themselves. Seventy-four percent of their clients have incomes below $1,500 a month and many are frail, recovering from hospitalization, are disabled or without family or caregiver support.

The goal of PVI’s Meals on Wheels is to increase food security and access to nutritious food; and to keep older adults and those with disabilities well-nourished, healthy, and living independently in their own homes with a feeling of safety.These visits also reduce the risks associated with social isolation, loneliness or depression.

For reservations, please contact the Menlo Park Chamber of Commerce, 1100 Merrill Street, Menlo Park or call (650) 325-2818.

Top photo of Menlowe company dancers Julie Giordano and Chantelle Planetta with co-founders Sarah-Jane Measor and Michael Lowe taken for InMenlo by Irene Searles (c) 2018 ; photo of Menlo Park resident Carolyn Bowsher, Site Director of Brentwood Academy by Irene Searles for All Students Matter; photo of Menlowe Ballet dancers taken for InMenlo by Irene Searles (c) 2016 ; photo of Bill McClure taken for InMenlo by Irene Searles (c) 2016; Mayor Peter Ohtaki of Menlo Park and PV Jayne Williams pictured with Meals on Wheels recipient Genevieve Bettini, age 100, taken for InMenlo by Irene Searles (c) 2013

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