YMCA of the East Bay Honors Outstanding Local Volunteers

On Thursday, October 22, the YMCA of the East Bay held their 136th annual meeting and volunteer recognition ceremony.  The theme of the evening was “Volunteers: Our Guiding Lights to Togetherhood.”  The “DIFFY” (You Are the Difference) Award is the highest honor the YMCA of the East Bay gives to recognize their most impactful volunteers.  “DIFFY” award winners demonstrate a selfless commitment to serving our community and creating real, lasting, personal change.

The Y’s “Youth of Character” award recognizes some of their most outstanding youth leaders.  These young agents of change stand out amongst their peers as positive, compassionate & dedicated community members.  KRON 4’s Terisa Estacio emceed the night.


This year’s DIFFY award honorees include:

Jerry Wolfe (from the Downtown Oakland YMCA)

Rod Woods (from the E M Downer YMCA)

John Bernardin (from the Hilltop YMCA)

Ashton Simmons (from the Eden YMCA)

Donna Castaldo (from the Fremont Newark YMCA)

Jason Cardoza (from the Tri-Valley YMCA)

Laurie Nowak (from YMCA at Camp Arroyo)

David Hayes (from Camp Loma Mar)

Lacey “Shasta” Watson (from Camp Ravencliff)


This year’s Youth of Character honorees include:

Jennifer Franco (from the Downtown Oakland YMCA)

Miykailah Lyon (from the M. Robinson Baker YMCA)

Daionni Marshall (from the Eastlake YMCA)

Anaya McFadden (from the E M Downer Family YMCA)

Mackenzie Flanagan (from the Hilltop YMCA)

Sarah Chavez (from the Eden Area YMCA)

Rialyn Cortez (from the Fremont Newark YMCA)

Colin Ho-Tseung (from the Tri-Valley YMCA)

Sonora Andrews (from Camp Loma Mar)

Hannah Fields (from Camp Ravencliff)


Community Partners & Their Volunteers also honored include:

BATTI, Bay Area Teacher Training Institute & Sarah Sanford-Smith of BATTI

Blue Shield of California & their IT Department

Kaiser Permanente

Kiwanis Service Club & Jamersina Preston of Kiwanis Service Club

Let’s Do Lunch Hayward… and Breakfast Too

Spectrum Community Services & Rosemary Arenas of Spectrum Community Services

Senior Support Program of the Tri-Valley & Carol Roberts of Senior Support Program of the Tri-Valley

YES Nature to Neighborhoods & Devante Hill of YES

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