Locals steal the Heart of Marin

01/12/2012

Four charitable groups from West Marin were recognized last week at the annual Heart of Marin awards, including the Dance Palace Community Center and Point Reyes National Seashore Association, which shared the event’s top honor for “Achievement in Nonprofit Excellence.”

Also recognized were Marin Organic for excellence in innovating a flagship school lunch and gleaning program, and Jim and Ann Patterson, named “Volunteers of the Year” for their ongoing involvement with the high school mentoring program 10,000 Degrees.

The awards ceremony, held before a crowd of some 800 at the Marin Center Exhibit Hall, in San Rafael, is managed by the Center for Volunteer and Nonprofit Leadership and honors 12 county nonprofits, leaders and volunteers each year. Honorees also receive grants up to $5,000 to be used to further their organization’s work, or in the case of the Pattersons, that of the nonprofit that nominated them.

“We are extremely honored to have been recognized with this award,” said Dance Palace Executive Director Dan Mankin.

The Seashore Association was recognized for its overall work in the areas of conservation and environmental education, and in particular its efforts to increase access to environmental education and nature for underserved youth.

Jim and Ann Patterson have played an instrumental role over the past five years to increase 10,000 Degree’s work in West Marin. “Our community is so lucky to have Jim and Ann,” said the group’s president, Kim Mazzuca.

Jim Patterson, a former principal of West Marin School and assistant superintendent of Shoreline Unified School District, was surprised with the win and hoped it would encourage others to become involved as mentors.

Patterson said there are 19 active mentors in West Marin helping 25 students through the program.