One stayed cool, contacted authorities and potentially saved her family from harm after a felon had broken into her house.
Another spends her free time at a senior home, walking with elderly residents and even combing their hair.
Yet another scratches out multiple get-well cards for sick children.
These are just three of the 10 remarkable kids from Anaheim who were honored with the first-ever Do the Right Thing Award at a recognition ceremony Wednesday at the Anaheim Police Department.
“All of our honorees today have done amazing things and I am very proud of them,” said Officer Jacob Gallacher of Anaheim PD’s Youth Services and Cops 4 Kids detail. “They have gone above and beyond in their actions and that speaks volumes about their character.
“I am honored to have been a part of this ceremony.”
The 10 honorees — Ulices Martinez, Victoria Barbosa, Jesus Barragan, Summer Whitman, Diana Cortez, Lyric Birdsong, Taylor Good, Nancy Nunez, Crystal Ramirez and Jessica Rivera — were celebrated by family, friends, community members and police officers at a ceremony in the police training center. In addition, each of them received $100 gift cards to Target to spend on Dec. 8 during the Shop with a Cop event.
The Do the Right Thing award is the brainchild of Aviella Winder, a 17-year-old Esperanza High School senior.
In 2009, Aviella also was a recipient of a Do The Right Thing award in her former hometown of Rochester, N.Y. She was recognized for volunteering throughout New York State by using her talents to raise money for soldiers, hospitals and nursing homes.
When she moved to Anaheim, she approached the police department about starting a Do the Right Thing chapter. The idea was warmly welcomed and now Anaheim has the first Do the Right Thing chapter in the state.
Aviella couldn’t be happier with the event.
“I’m really touched to be here today and see all these kids doing great things in their community,” she said. “They are showing how to pay it forward.”
In the photo at the top of this story, Taylor Good, 9th grade from Buena Park High School, receives the Anaheim Police Department’s Do The Right Thing award at police headquarters. Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC
The awardees are:
Ulices Martinez — Second Grade– Twila Reid Elementary
Ulices helped when a new student from Mexico at his school arrived who didn’t speak any English. Ulices voluntarily helped him translate between his teacher, staff and peers. He went above and beyond to assist this student in his first weeks at school and made sure he had a good experience.
Victoria Barbosa — Third Grade — Benito Juarez Elementary
Victoria has led a “backpack drive” for the past three years. Victoria approached her parents three years ago wanting to do something nice for students in need. She told her parents she wanted to make sure all kids had a nice backpack for school. She sold cookies and other home-made goods to earn money to buy backpacks, and held other fundraisers. So, along with her mother’s help, she has been able to provide 129 backpacks to her Anaheim peers.
Jesus Barragan — Fifth Grade — Betsy Ross Elementary
Jesus is a model student who constantly offers to help others. He has been extremely helpful in supporting one of his peers with autism. He helps to include him in activities and is protective when others may tease him. He encourages and praises this student as well as others.
Summer Whitman — Sixth Grade — Roosevelt Elementary
Summer is being raised by a single mom with four children, one of whom uses a wheelchair. Despite all her personal challenges, her favorite activity is to go with her grandmother three times a week to a senior citizen home to help out. She helps prepare and serve meals; she spends time talking with the seniors, combs their hair and walks with them in the surrounding neighborhood.
Diana Cortez — Sixth Grade — Sunkist Elementary
Diana works with children in her neighborhood creating a school environment where they make projects, create artwork, and get help with school work. Diana is a leader in APD’s PAL program at school; she helps PTA volunteers with activities and assists with the Student Council. Diana is a team player with a passion for helping others.
Lyric M. Birdsong — Seventh Grade — Lexington Jr. High
Lyric was one of three children at home alone waiting for their grandmother when a convicted felon broke into their home. Upon entering the residence, the stranger told Lyric to sit still and not tell anyone he was there because the police were looking for him. When the man wasn’t looking, Lyric sent a text to her grandmother, who she knew was on her way. Lyric then called her mother at work and could only tell her “someone is in the house.” Lyric sat patiently for over 45 minutes with a dangerous felon inside her residence sitting on the couch next to her. Due to her calm demeanor and smart thinking, police officers were able to apprehend the man with no harm to her or her siblings.
Taylor Good — Ninth Grade — Buena Park High School
Taylor won a nationwide competition to be the Youth Ambassador for the Boys and Girls Club of America’s Smart Girls program. This group was designed to empower young girls and help them go on to be successful women. Her GPA halfway through the semester is a 5.0, and she’s taking a college class through a special program with Cal State Fullerton. She also is very involved with her church and volunteers to feed the homeless along with other charity projects. She really is every parent’s dream teenager as she chooses to do the right thing every day, even though it can sometimes be the more difficult path to travel.
Nancy Nunez — Ninth Grade — Anaheim High School
In her spare time Nancy, with a little help from her mom, works on creating “Get Well Cards” for ill children. She recruits friends and others to donate their ideas and time to this project. In fact, she recently set up tables in apartments where many residents and teens came out and participated in making cards for hospitalized children. Nancy and her mother solicit for donations for art supplies and ask around to create a chain of caring people. The Get Well Card Project is an amazing gift that puts a smile on the face of an ill child.
Crystal Ramirez — Ninth Grade — Oxford Academy
Crystal is currently serving as a Junior Ambassador for the Anaheim Fall Festival. In the four short weeks since she has been crowned, she has spent numerous hours dedicated to various community-service events such as the Quilter’s Ball at the Muzeo, float decorating for the Halloween Parade, raffle drawing with the fire chief, presentation to the Anaheim City Council, Anaheim Fall Festival, Halloween Parade and the Anaheim Fall Festival Pancake Breakfast at the Packing House.
Jessica Rivera — 11th Grade — Savanna High School
Jessica is an honor student who is ranked in the top of her class. She is also a twin; she and her sister were raised in a tough neighborhood with a single mother. Despite her obstacles, Jessica has been a true role model for her peers and in her community. Jessica is the president of the City of Anaheim’s youth development program, Project SAY (Support Anaheim’s Youth). Jessica has volunteered with different agencies throughout her time with Project SAY such as The Child Abuse Prevention Center, Habitat for Humanity, Savanna’s tutoring center, Tiger Woods Learning Center, Movies at the Park and much more.