Supervisor Doug Chaffee’s 5th Annual Kindness Awards
City of Fullerton
Sandra White moved with her husband from Iowa to Fullerton in 1972. From there, she got involved with her Orange County community through volunteering. She volunteered with Laguna Road PTA, OC Philharmonic Youth Music Programs, and the National Charity League’s Fullerton Chapter. As a volunteer for the National Charity League, she delivered meals for the Meals on Wheels program. Through this service, she was asked to join the Board of Directors for Meals on Wheels of Fullerton in 1995 after serving as the President of the National Charity League for the Fullerton Chapter. She has dedicated her time to supporting the needs of others and supporting her Fullerton community.
City of La Habra
Sara Ursenbach is a Wraparound Parent Partner in Orange County, a children’s mental health advocate, and a foster/adoptive parent. She lives in La Habra with her husband and two children. She has served as the PTA president at her children’s elementary school and as the school board liaison for the LHCSD PTA council for three terms on the School Site Council. She organizes community events like the La Habra Children’s Business Fair and Read Across La Habra. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she helped organize a community pantry, closet, and library. This allowed members to share what they had and take what they needed easily. She volunteers as a First 5 OC Family Ambassador, advocating for school readiness, equitable health care, and civic empowerment.
City of Brea
Gianna Mulkay is the executive director of Foster Love, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to transforming how youth navigate the foster care system in America. She is a distinguished alumna of Azusa Pacific University, boasting dual degrees in Media Studies and Journalism. While there, she joined Together We Rise, now Foster Love, and helped grow the organization to where it is now. As Executive Director, she leads a team of over 50 individuals to support youth with foster care experiences. Through her leadership, she has led groundbreaking initiatives like the Family Fellowship, the nation’s largest scholarship program for transition-age foster youth, which earned her recognition in Forbes Magazine and the LA Times. Gianna is committed to transforming the landscape of the child welfare system nationwide.
City of Anaheim
Rosa Dominguez’s story started when she joined the PTA at her children’s elementary school in Anaheim. During her time in the PTA, she learned how important it is to be involved in their education and the community that surrounds them. Through her involvement in the school, she was introduced to a wide range of community organizations in her local community. She learned of the many resources that often go unnoticed by the community. She has devoted herself to sharing the various community resources, which increases access to information and services. Those in Dominguez’s community are connected through her social media to the local organizations that can help them the most.
City of Buena Park
Ellie Westenhaver grew up in Downey, graduated from Cal State Long Beach with a business degree, and earned her teaching credentials years later. She and her husband, Don, have two daughters and two grandchildren and have lived in Buena Park for 50 years. For over 15 years, she taught first graders in a Title 1 school in Bellflower. She passionately advocates for the disadvantage, volunteering with the St. Vincent de Paul and the Assistance League, including Chairing their signature event, Operation School Bell.
City of Placentia
Joe Rasic is a third-generation restaurateur, with the family business originating in Los Angeles in 1933. As a young man, Joe found a love for food, cooking, and entertaining for his friends and family. Over the next 30 years, he worked for several restaurants. Still, he knew he wanted to own his own business in his hometown of Placentia, where he could expand his involvement in the community. The business supported all the local Rotary clubs, participated in endless charity events, and helped to reinvigorate the Taste of Placentia. He served on the Board of Directors of the Placentia Chamber of Commerce and was President for two years. He continues to serve his city by participating on several committees within Placentia for business and community development. His success could only happen with the support of his family, particularly his wife Jennifer, and Joe believes that she is much kinder than he could ever hope to be.
City of Stanton
Lorena Flores was born in Puebla, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States in 1991. She has one daughter, Jennifer, who is 13 years old, and two sons, Andrei and Alois, who are 7 and 11 years old, respectively. She got married in 2003 and enjoys spending time with her family through camping and swimming. She describes her family as her daily source of energy. Lorena is dedicated to engaging her community with their local representatives and promoting civic engagement. Her work connecting the community with the government so they can stay engaged and make meaningful changes is deeply appreciated.
The Honorary Kindness Award: Jo-Anne Matsuba
Jo-Anne Matsuba was born and raised in St. Louis, MO. The daughter of Haitian parents, she was always encouraged to give back to others and spread kindness to those she met. Jo-Anne has been involved with several organizations for over 30 years and has lived in Orange County. She has been an active leader and participant with the YMCA of North Orange County, Pathways of Hope, St. Juliana Church, National Charity League, Meals on Wheels, Florence Crittenton, and Get on the Bus. She is currently the Chair of the Orange County Human Relations Commission, the Couty’s Commission, which stands against hate and creates initiatives to promote peace in the community. Many in the Orange County community and beyond have felt the joy and positivity she spread.