Claudia Rossi honored with Peacemaker Award

California State Assembly gives school board trustee award for her commitment to the community

Morgan Hill Life August 31, 2013

Claudia Rossi, a trustee with the Morgan Hill Unified School District, recently received a California Peacemaker Award, an honor presented to various citizens in the state by the California State Assembly. For being so active in our community, she was presented her Peacemaker plaque by various dignitaries during downtown Morgan Hill’s National Night Out event on Aug. 8.

Morgan Hill Police Chief David Swing said Rossi deserves the recognition for her hard work and dedication.

“As a school board trustee, she has worked tirelessly to jumpstart programs such as Project Roadmap, enabling youth to get on the road towards higher education, and the Sports Mentoring Program, matching youth with adult mentors through organized sports,” Swing said. “Both programs help our youth get involved with positive activities that result in a long-term benefit to the community. Because of her unassuming nature, I know seeing a child succeed is all the thanks she needs, but this award is a testament her commitment to the education and well-being of all youth in Morgan Hill.”

Morgan Hill Life asked Rossi about why she stays so active helping young people in the Morgan Hill community:

Where does your passion come from for helping at-risk youth and disabled students?

My family and I come from Colombia, a part of the world that has seen much bloodshed, social, political and civil turmoil. My passion and desire to help at-risk youth and to contribute to our community comes from a profound desire to give back to the country that has given me so much. I particularly seek to serve at-risk youth because I know what it feels like to feel vulnerable. I also know how powerful it is to know that someone cares.

Describe the Project Roadmap program and its No Excuses Conference.

Project Roadmap is an organization formed by my friends and colleagues Mario Banuelos, George Flores, Jennifer Gonzales, Uriel Alvarez, Dr. Freda Rossi, Irene Macias-Morriss and me.

We all come from homes where we were the first in our families to go to college. The mission of our group is to inform and support students and parents that come mostly from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds as they navigate an often unfamiliar educational system.

The ultimate goal is to assist these students so that they may pursue an education beyond high school.

How did the Sports Mentoring Program you helped implement come about?

The generosity of spirit of our Chief of Police David Swing, the endless energy and vision of Jeff Dixon (president of the Morgan Hill Youth Sports Alliance), and the dedication of educators from Morgan Hill Unified School District made this program possible.

The Sports Mentor Program unites at-risk youth with mentors through the magic of sports. Students are transported by a school bus twice per week to the Outdoor Sports Center where they play organized sports with police officers and high school mentors. The program has provided youth with an opportunity to access facilities in our community that normally would be inaccessible due mostly to economic limitations.

How are public education and the desire for peace for our youth connected?

Public education foments peace as it gives access to knowledge to all regardless of gender, economic status or disability.

Peace is imperiled when any group of people feel that they are being denied the opportunity to reach their fullest potential. While our public education system faces Herculean challenges, the commitment to educate all young people remains a noble endeavor that is not seen in many other parts of the world that are faced with the consequences of disenfranchised youth.

Public education is a fundamental element of a peaceful and just society as it advances the goal to empower youth to contribute to our collective economic, civic and social well-being.

Claudia Rossi was elected to the school board in 2010 and is the mother of two children in the school district.