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John C. Little Spirit Award
John C. Little came to Seattle in 1947 from East St. Louis with his
wife, Gertis. He went to work for the Seattle Water Department, but
his heart always was in creating a better life for the young people
of the community. His motto became, ďIn order to improve the life of
all people, you must improve the life of young people.Ē
John was accorded many honors and awards during his lifetime. He received
King Countyís first Martin Luther King, Jr. Humanitarian Award; the
Washington State University Presidentís Faculty Award for Community
Service; the Salvation Armyís Torchy Award for Service to the Community;
the Bishop Foundation Youth Worker of the Year Award; and the City of
Seattle Community Service Award. In 1994, he received Safecoís Rudy
Award for dedicated service to the community which included a $30,000
prize that he donated to the Seattle 4-H program.
John C. Little, Sr. died in the company of his family on May 11, 1999, after a long struggle with diabetes. He was 69. Mr. Little was loved and respected by many, many people. He will truly be missed.
An annual award in his honor recognizes the Seattle Parks and Recreation employee who exemplifies John's service to youth and community.
Update December 12, 2012
John C. Little
2010 Award Recipient
Acting Superintendent Christopher Williams presents Ron Mirabueno with the 2010 award.
I am pleased to announce that Ron Mirabueno has been selected as the 2010 recipient of the John C. Little Spirit Award.
This is the tenth year we have awarded the John C. Little, Sr. Spirit Award. Past recipients have been Pat Warberg, Elaine Dunn, Don Ganchorre, Dennis Cook, Tom Ostrom, Isiah Anderson, Patti Petesch, Folasa Titialii, Jr. and Royal Alley-Barnes.
In addition to his countless honors and volunteer positions, John Little, Sr. served the community as a member of the Seattle Board of Park Commissioners from 1990 - 1997. In John’s seven years on the Board of Park Commissioners, he is most remembered for his gentle judgment of how a proposed policy or new undertaking would be perceived by the people we serve, particularly by the young people. His sensitivity to the needs and the attitudes of youth was extraordinary. John C. Little’s motto was, “In order to improve the life of all people, you must improve the life of young people.” We created this award in his honor. To be eligible for nomination, the individual must demonstrate the following characteristics: mentoring our youth; providing leadership in the community; making a difference in young lives; and going above and beyond the call of duty.
Ron Mirabueno has been dedicated and committed to serving Seattle’s youth for over a decade. He started working for Parks when he was a freshman in high school and has not missed a beat since. He has coached youth track, coached basketball, and worked in our before- and after-school programs at Bitter Lake Community Center. More recently, he has worked hard to improve and expand youth employment training opportunities for many youth. Thanks to his hard work, the YES (Youth Engaged in Service), STEP (Student Teen Employment Preparation) and the new SOS (Summer of Service Program), have become some of the most respected and successful teen programs Seattle Parks and Recreation offers. Ron’s collaborative approach to creating service opportunities to young people has helped to link student school learning to community application.
In Ron’s nomination application, it was stated that, “Ron is an excellent communicator whose multi-cultural understanding and ability to work well with many diverse ethnic groups is impressive. He possesses excellent listening skills and has a sincere concern for others.”
The Youth Employment and Academic Enhancement Teen Unit Ron supervises, focuses on creating opportunities for youth to experience workplace expectations and develop marketable skills to enhance their future employment opportunities. Ron’s phenomenal attitude and resilient character have kept the Youth Employment and Academic Enhancement unit’s teen programming moving forward through many challenges through the years. He has continued to provide valuable “Hands-on” experiences for our City’s young people to grow and learn. Ron’s positive attitude and tenacious approach to serving youth has gained him the highest respect from his peers, community partners and Seattle Parks and Recreation’s leadership.
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