Each year the San Mateo County School Board Association names a school counselor / program in San Mateo County as recipient of the Emily Garfield Award. This award honors the memory of Emily Garfield who was a San Mateo County legend in the area of prevention and counseling. Designed to recognize an individual or program who exemplifies the work and memory of Emily Garfield, the winner of the 2013 Emily Garfield Preventive Counseling Award is Evelyn Hall with Prometheus Family Support. This award comes with a cash prize to support the program.
Evelyn’s Acceptance speech:
“Thank you so much for this honor. If I had the time I would tell you about the hundreds of students that have changed the course of their life because at their school they have a Safe Place with trusted adults where they can go to get educated and counseled on how to be the best person they can be. I don’t have the time so let me remind you that at risk teens are troubled for a reason, they come from very troubling conditions. All these years of listening to them, the stories stay the same: abuse, neglect, poverty, addictions, community violence, parental death or abandonment. Their stories still sadden me and yet the resilience I see in these students is nothing short of amazing. I have watched our students begin to thrive when they are provided resources and a chance to change. Many of our students are suffering from lack of opportunity; they have nothing to do. No easy mode of transportation, no music or art lessons, summer camps, sports teams, creative outlets, vacations, family time, and most importantly jobs. Many have parents that work multiple jobs just to make ends meet . We need to provide creative and positive activities for our disconnected youth that can lead to employment, self-confidence, self-empowerment and college. Our troubled kids need mentors, coaches, counselors and other adults to teach them skills they never learned. The choice to invest in our youth now is really a selfish one; it will help create peace in our streets, and a thriving, healthy community for all of us.”