On Thursday, January 9th, the Santa Barbara Downtown Organization (SBDO) held its Annual Luncheon and Awards Presentation at the Santa Barbara Club, where several pillars of the community were recognized for their contributions to Downtown and the City of Santa Barbara.

The Harriet Miller Youth Leadership Award was presented to Anmole Ahdi, a senior at Dos Pueblos High School with a 4.83 GPA. Anmole was chosen for his outstanding leadership in school and in the community, racking up an impressive 1,679 community service hours. At school, he is a member of the Red Cross Club, Indian Culture Club, Future Scientists Engineers of America and MESA (Mathematics, Engineering and Science Achievement), to name just a few. Outside of school, Anmole volunteers for Cottage Hospital (both Goleta Valley and Santa Barbara), the Arthritis Foundation, Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation, the Goleta Historical Society and the California Association for the Gifted (CAG), among many others.

Anmole was recommended by Maryanna Gray, Educator Chair of CAG, who wrote, “Anmole has accomplished an impressive record of community service while taking rigorous classes at DPHS and maintaining a stellar academic record. He has also been involved as a leader in his school, serving as officer to several clubs and holding a class office. He has my highest recommendation.” Anmole spoke briefly, thanking the Downtown Organization for the award and acknowledging the support of his parents. Each year, the SBDO and the City Parks and Recreation’s Neighborhood and Outreach services present the Harriet Miller Youth Leadership Award to an outstanding youth in the Santa Barbra area, in recognition of their leadership skills and community service.

The Downtown Organization’s George Gerth Volunteer of the Year Award was presented to Genny Cummings of Indigo Interiors. An active board member since 1997, Genny has been a vital member of many of the Downtown Organization committees, including Executive, Promotions, Cultural, Government Relations, as well as Chair of the Décor/Flag Committee. She played an important role on the founding committee of 1st Thursday, which continues to be one of the greatest promotions of culture Downtown and one of the DO’s most successful programs.

Lastly, the Downtown Organization presented its annual Citizen of the Year Award to The City of Santa Barbara Administrators, citing, among other things, their “dedication to making Downtown Santa Barbara a safe living and working environment.” City Administrator Jim Armstrong accepted the award on behalf of his staff, acknowledging the strong, longtime partnership between the DO and the City.

Outgoing board president Dave Lombardi thanked the Board for “putting up with me” for the past two years. Incoming board president Gene McKnight acknowledged Lombardi’s leadership and Mayor Helene Schneider presented him with an engraved clock, in gratitude for his service.

The Downtown Organization is a membership-driven, non-profit organization whose goal is to maintain and enhance the business and cultural activity in the downtown area. Helping keep downtown Santa Barbara clean, attractive, safe and vibrant goes towards supporting this goal. Presently, there are more than 1,400 members who benefit from the Downtown Organization’s commitment to excellence and its ongoing efforts on their behalf. Some of the programs, activities and events sponsored by the Downtown Organization include the Downtown Holiday Parade, the Downtown Art & Wine Tour, the decorative State Street Flag Program, 1st Thursday and 1st Thursday: After Hours, Shop Spree SB, Downtown Safe Trick-or-Treat and Film Feast. Like us on Facebook (Downtown Santa Barbara), follow us on Twitter (@SBDowntown) and follow us on Instagram (@DowntownSantaBarbara) for the latest info on events, specials and downtown information.


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