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City of Dublin Recognizes Outstanding Volunteers at Annual Volunteer Recognition Event

March 2, 2023

DUBLIN-CA–Dublin elected officials, led by Mayor Melissa Hernandez, recognized volunteers with awards at the annual Volunteer Recognition Event, held at the Shannon Community Center, on Wed. March 1, 2023. The event opened with an original poem recited by Dublin Poet Laureate – James Morehead. Awards included the Young Citizen of the Year, Citizen of the Year, Organization of the Year, and special Mayor’s awards. Video of the event is included below.

At the event the 2022 City of Dublin awarded the following volunteers:

  • Citizen of the Year: Kristin Speck
  • Young Citizen of the Year: Yashas Shashidhara
  • Organization of the Year: Above & Beyond Leadership & Education (ABLE)
  • Mayor’s Award: Katie Cheng
  • Mayor’s Legacy Award: Erik Bertelson

Young Citizen of the Year: Yashas Shashidhara

  • Yashas is the environmental advocacy lead for the Dublin Mayors’ Council, where he hosted the 2nd annual battery drive. He led a team in advertising and organizing the drive, which collected over 1000 pounds of batteries by working with the company “Recycle My Battery.”
  • Yashas also helped create a new startup called “My Alcohol Story,” a web and social media app that provides a platform for teenagers and young adults who have struggled with alcohol to share their stories and read others’ stories anonymously.
  • Yashas also has a passion for biomedical sciences and worked with students at Cottonwood School with coding and technology platforms.

Citizen of the Year: Kristin Speck

  • In 2022, Kristin served on the Wells School Band Board, the Briarhill Swim Team board, as well as serving as Chair of the Parks and Community Services Commission.
  • She played a key role in the Dublin Unified School District Boundary Committee.
  • Kristin served as the Briarhill Swim Team president and worked creatively to reorganize roles on the board and found folks who were willing to take on reduced level of responsibilities. Through her ingenuity, she was able to recruit volunteers to keep the swimteam from folding. She also rolled out computer coordination to ensure swim meets ran smoothly.
  • Kristin ran and was elected to the open seat at the Dublin Unified School District Board, where her goal has been to push for decisions that benefit the entire Dublin community.

Organization of the Year: Above and Beyond Leadership (ABLE)

  • ABLE is a service organization, made up mostly of Dublin High students, but also includes students from nearby communities. ABLE advocates for education and building great communities.
  • In 2022, the club organized or assisted in many events to help the Dublin community including:
    • Volunteered at The Race Amity Festival in Dublin;
    • Organized a litter cleanup multiple times at parks, helping keep them clean and safe for all visitors;
    • Worked with the Ocean Project, targeting oceanic pollution. Volunteers created a video and flyers;
    • Taught students skills for studying and career planning;
    • Tutored more than 50 young students with math, English, and sport services;
    • Actively supporting community food and toy drives; collecting donations and giving back, raising $500 to give to Ukraine;
    • Volunteered at City of Dublin events by providing free drinks and water to policemen and service staff

Mayor’s Award – Katie Cheng 

  • Katie served on the Dublin Unified School District Board as the Student Representative for three years. 
  • She also served as the President and founding member of the  California Student Board Member Association, which is a  statewide organization with 60+ Student Board Members  serving on California School Boards. 
  • Katie has many accomplishments, including: 
    • Being elected as Governor of ALA California Girls State in  2022 
    • Named in the top 5,000 of 3.6 million graduating seniors  nominated to apply as a U.S. President Scholar. 
    • 1 of 8 speakers featured at Dublin’s annual TEDx event:  “Civic Engagement: Why Silence is the Loudest Statement” o Qualified to NSDA Nationals for the Speech and Debate  Awards
    • Katie is a senior and will be attending Stanford University in the  fall to study Computer Science and Public Policy.

Mayor’s Legacy Award – Erik Bertelson

  • As director of the Wells Middle School Band, Erik has been an integral part of the Dublin School District and community  since 1979.  
  • Year after year, Erik took budding musicians, AND some experienced musicians, and created a magical experience  with the Wells Middle School Band. 
  • The bands he led at Wells Middle School for over 40 years have won COUNTLESS trophies.  
  • Many of his students have gone on to successful careers in music.  
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