Congratulations 2023 Tony Hoffman Award Recipients!

Top Row: Katelyn C., Chris R., Frieda E., Hudson F., Paul N., Jacki R. Leticia B., Jean P., Chelsea B., Jeff E.,
Middle Row: Fatima O., Jani D., Nicholas M., Leslie D., Ivette H., Regina M., Dr. Lovella C., Ziomara O.,
Bottom Row: John B., Charlotte R.

The Tony Hoffman Community Mental Health Services Award recognizes individuals, professionals, businesses, and media who have made an extraordinary difference in the lives of individuals living with mental health challenges and the communities in which they live. This year’s recipients included a diverse group of individuals representing BHRS programs and staff, partner agencies, media outlets, peers and youth leaders. The Board of Supervisors recognized and honored each recipient of the Tony Hoffman Community Mental Health Service Award for making an extraordinary difference in the lives of people with mental health challenges and the San Mateo County community.

More photos from the event here.

1. BHRS Prenatal-to-Three Program staff strive to provide trauma-informed care and resources that improve infant, children and family overall quality of life who often experience stressors associated with financial difficulties, difficult parenting issues, trauma, domestic violence, mental health disorders, and drug and alcohol issues. Regina Moreno, Clinical Services Manager, Dr. Lovella Caluya-Diaz, Adult Psychiatrist, and Ivette Huerta, Unit Supervisor accepted the award on behalf of the program team.

2. Charlotte Rosario is a student in San Mateo who organized an open-mic event at San Mateo Central Park after losing Felipe, an Aragon High School student, to suicide. She is the founder of the community photobooth, a group of young photographers and filmmakers that raise funds for film projects that support mental health. Charlotte is also a member of the Behavioral Health Commission Youth Committee, Youth Action Board.

“When I was 12 years old, I lost my dad to suicide… the more I say it the stronger I get… through this journey my mom has taught me that the way to get through these challenges is by helping others”

– Charlotte R.

3. Fatima Olivares is a BHRS Mental Health Counselor who works with the Homeless Outreach program. She supported the Half Moon Bay community after the tragedy earlier this year. She was part of the Crisis Response Team and spent countless hours assisting families whose primary language is Spanish and who were in need of services and assistance.

4. Jani Dye is a BHRS Community Mental Health Nurse and the only registered nurse at East Palo Alto Community Behavioral Health Clinic. Her role as the community mental health nurse is crucial in keeping clients stable.

“I dedicate this award to our continued efforts for equity in mental health access and treatment in EPA and also clean water, something else we keep fighting for.”

– Jani D.

5. Jeff Essex is the Executive Director for El Centro de Libertad worked with community members in the city of Half Moon Bay to create the Crisis Assistance Response and Evaluation Services (CARES) program, the first civilian only 9-1-1 mental health response in the State of California.

“This past February, I celebrated 19 years in recovery. Throughout that time, I have always strived to do something better with my life to kind of make up for the mess that I had made before. And three years ago, I landed with El Centro de Libertad.”

– Jeff E.

6. John Butler is a peer leader in San Mateo County. He makes mental health resources visible and accessible by sharing pamphlets and information at community events. He volunteers with NAMI, including serving on the Board of Directors for NAMI San Mateo, and he serves on BHRS Health Equity Initiatives supporting wellness through spirituality.

“I’m happy to recognize John today for the many ways he shares himself with all of us in our goal to make all the components each person needs for their recovery and wellness available.”

– Commissioner Jean P.

7. Leslie Davis is the Interim Executive Director for NAMI San Mateo who in her role has increased the NAMI warmline, increased educational programs, support groups and seminars.

8. Nicholas Mazzoni is a reporter with the San Mateo Daily Journal since August of 2022. He overcame the common feelings of: this is private, this is family, this shouldn’t be spoken of in public, to provide a person centered, compassionate, accurate account of an open-mic event following the death by suicide of Felipe, an Aragon high School student.

Written by Doris Estremera (she/her), BHRS Office of Diversity & Equity

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