The Center for Volunteer & Nonprofit Leadership (CNVL) is hosting their 2nd Annual Heart of Napa Awards on March 16th, honoring outstanding nonprofits and the local leaders who serve them. This year, two incredible individuals have been nominated for their service to our organization and the greater community.

Our very own Celeste Chase, a Junior at Valley Oak High School, has been nominated as Youth Volunteer of the Year by LGBTQ Connection. As a leader and an advocate of transgender rights, she has played an instrumental role in not only developing the trans youth community in Napa, but she has also challenged staff to bring a stronger organizational support so that our trans community can have the resources they need to be happy and healthy.

Celeste has demonstrated dedication and commitment to our organization by: initiating an Gay Straight Alliance at her school; participating as a Youth Leadership Team member, speaking her truth at our Family Acceptance Conference, facilitating trans and LGBTQ youth groups, mentoring her peers to mental wellness, and initiating the inaugural Trans Fair, a Napa pride event by and for transgender people. Whereas many trans people have to leave Napa County to find community, belonging, or trans-competent healthcare, Celeste has volunteered over 120 hours to LGBTQ causes to make sure others do not have to travel too far to find a gender-affirming community in Napa County.  

Also, Rick Marshall, of our sister program, has been nominated as Volunteer of the Year for his work with the Citizenship Legal Services program. Rick has volunteered with CLS since the program's first year, in 2013. He is well known by others in the organization for his teamwork-mentality and for his eagerness to give back. Within the program, Rick is the most knowledgeable and trained person to help low-income applicants at Citizenship Workshops waive fees associated with attorney services. By helping individuals and households avoid these costs, he has helped make the path toward citizenship possible for many who would otherwise not be able to apply.

Over the past year, Rick has given 100 hours of service to help immigrants, living or working in Napa County, become U.S. Citizens. Along with many other volunteers, Rick has assisted 2,166 Legal Permanent Residents in receiving citizenship application services, 793 of whom have submitted their naturalization applications, and 522 of which have become U.S. Citizens. 

Congratulations to our nominees! Thank you for your dedication and service, which allows us to continue in our shared mission of creating equitable opportunites for all members of our community.