At Assemblymember Bob Wieckowski’s State of the Assembly District Address and Awards Ceremony, held on September 25 in Milpitas, attendees recognized community success stories in the 25th District. Councilmember Teresa O’Neill spoke about the Santa Clara City Library Foundation and Friends, named Non-Profit of the Year for 2014. Mayor Jamie Matthews introduced Santa Clara resident Kathy Watanabe, named Santa Clara Local Hero 2014.
“Our libraries are key parts of our communities because they provide terrific educational resources and activities for children and adults; the Foundation does great work to help these programs thrive and was a strong, clear voice for the opening of the Northside Library,” says Wieckowski. “Every vibrant community needs someone like Kathy Watanabe. She throws herself into projects and committees with great energy and insights to make sure Santa Clara has great schools, libraries, and charities that are the hallmarks of well-rounded communities.”
“We received a proclamation from the state assembly,” says Maria Daane, executive director of the SCCLFF. “I feel really proud of the volunteers who worked with the SCCLFF and the residents of Santa Clara. There are so many outstanding non-profits and organizations in both the Alameda and Santa Clara County. It’s an honor to have been chosen.”
While Daane decides on an appropriate place to display the proclamation, Watanabe, a library board foundation member, is currently keeping her award behind her desk at work.
When asked about what it says, Watanabe read aloud: “A tireless community leader, Kathy has devoted a great part of her life to discerning the needs of others and endeared herself to the residents of Santa Clara through her active involvement in a variety of civic endeavors, which include her exemplary service as a member of the Santa Clara Library Board of Trustees and the Santa Clara Library Foundation and Friends.”
Particularly important for Watanabe was her role as one of the advocates for the recently opened Northside Library during the time when the library was under the threat of becoming a county entity.
“One of the reasons why the Northside Library was so important to me, and why I didn’t give up on it, is because I had insight on what could happen to the Northside Library if we didn’t take action,” she says. “In my role as a trustee and board member, I had a responsibility to my community to make sure the Northside Library was built. If it wasn’t, I would feel guilty if I didn’t use my abilities to keep the dream alive.”