GONZALES — Gonzales resident Jean Salcido was honored for a lifetime of community service during United Way of Monterey County’s 2020 Live United Awards.
United Way recognized outstanding community contributors from June 22 through 27 in lieu of an awards ceremony due to Covid-19 concerns.
“She was our overall outstanding achievement, the number of years she’s volunteered,” said Lynda Patrick, vice president for resource development at UWMC. “The number of different activities she’s done in Gonzales, it’s not just one program she’s working with. She’s done outreach with so many community members.”
This was UWMC’s 44th year of hosting the service awards, with 40 nominations having occurred this year. The final honorees were selected by a six-member panel of community leaders, who met via Zoom meeting this year, according to Patrick.
“I really enjoy serving in our community, but I didn’t realize anyone took any notice of that,” Salcido said. “I’m very surprised, honored and very happy. Very thankful.”
Salcido explained she believes in “paying it forward” after living in Gonzales for 61 years. She considers herself blessed and wants to turn around and bless others.
“Now that I’m able to, I can go to where the needs are and I’m just excited to be able to go out and be a help in the community,” Salcido said. “It’s in my DNA to serve and be of help. Something that I look forward to doing every day.”
Salcido’s volunteer efforts have included: preventing homelessness, preventing drug and alcohol addiction, prevention of unplanned teen pregnancies, prevention of gang involvement, teaching teamwork to youth, discussing mental health, organizing block parties, assisting local teens and senior citizens and mentoring.
She currently runs Gonzales Youth Guardians, founded in 2015, with a focus on helping at-risk youth primarily from single-parent households or families in need of financial resources. The program helps an estimated 200 to 300 youth per year through community service opportunities, excursions and nature experiences.
“I really love our community of Gonzales and getting out there,” Salcido said. “Going places to find out where the needs are and how I can be of help, from the youngest to the oldest.”