Sarananda Osheim, Harbor High School Student
Intern: Winter 2008 & Spring 2008, Queer Youth Leadership Awards
Intern: Fall 2007, Queer Youth Task Force
Sarananda worked tirelessly with adults and other youth to forge a unified community of queer youth from throughout the county. During the Fall ’07, she spearheaded local involvement at the Youth Empowerment Summit (Y.E.S.) in San Francisco, an event where hundreds of queer youth from throughout the Bay Area met to discuss issues affecting the community. She also organized outreach for a queer youth holiday social at the UCSC Cantú Center. Sarananda also organized a group of local queer youth and allies to attend the Western Regional UCLGBTIQAA Conference at UCLA. During the Winter and Spring ’08, she worked alongside Jacob Breslow, coordinator of the Queer Youth Leadership Awards (QYLA), in organizing the annual event. Her working included outreach, publicity, radio interviews on KUSP and KZSC, decorations logistics, and Emceeing the event. In honor of her work, she received a 2008 eQuality Scholarship, one of only 11 students in California, and a 2008 QYLA Award. Sarananda graduated from Harbor High School in the Spring 2008 and now attends De Anza College where she plans to study psychology.
Craig Warren, Scotts Valley High School Student
Intern: Spring 2005, Safe Schools Project, Middle School Project
Craig co-founded the Middle School Project as a sub-committee of the Safe Schools Project to highlight the issues facing queer youth and allies in middle schools. During the Spring ’05, he led efforts to bring students, educators, and statewide leaders together to formulate a plan to improve the quality of life for LGBTIQ students in this age group. He organized a county-wide meeting at New Brighton Middle School that created the mission statement and objectives for the project. Previous to his internship, Craig founded the first Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) in a middle school in Santa Cruz County at Scotts Valley Middle School and received a QYLA Ally to Queer Youth Award in 2004. Craig graduated from Scotts Valley High School in 2008.
Vanessa Soma, Scotts Valley High School Student
Intern: Fall 2004, Safe Schools Project
Vanessa strives for recognition and respect for the Queer youth community at Scotts Valley High. As part of her efforts, Vanessa brought Triangle Speakers to her campus and was an active member of a panel that spoke before the staff and school board. During the Fall ’04, she created a power-point presentation regarding AB 537 that could be utilized for presentations. She presented the power-point presentation to the Leadership Council of PVUSD and to the United Way/Together For Youth. She also worked on the creation of a Safe Schools resolution that was passed by the City of Santa Cruz City Council. She also wrote an article for a local parent’s magazine called "Growing Up In Santa Cruz.” Vanessa received a Queer Youth Leadership Award in 2004. She now attends UCLA.
Nikira Hernandaz, Santa Cruz High School Student
Intern: Spring 2004, Safe Schools Project
Nikira co-founded the Safe Schools Project of Santa Cruz County in the fall of 2003 and, as a key member of the project, formulated the mission and objectives. During the Spring 04, she brought a great amount of publicity and awareness of the issue of safe schools for queer youth and their allies by working on the awareness campaign of the project. She organized a live telecast “Youth Speak Out” on Community Television on the Day of Silence, April 2004. Previously to her work with the Safe Schools Project, Nikira was very involved with her school’s GSA, the Rainbow Alliance, and worked on the Day of Silence at her school for many years. She was a national coordinator for GLSEN’s National Day of Silence and was featured in The Advocate magazine when she was a sophomore in high school. She was also very involved with Triangle Speakers and served as a keynote speaker for the Community Foundation’s Diversity Partnership Fundraising efforts.