Friday, January 14, 2011

Laguna Niguel Fifth-Grader Gets Governor's Award *JEFF*


By Penny Arévalo

Megan Conrad’s spotlight just got a lot bigger.

Already deemed a “Shining Star” at Marian Bergeson Elementary, the fifth-grader recently received an award from then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and first lady Maria Shriver for her 25 hours of community service.

But Megan's involvement in charity work goes much deeper than that. As a Girl Scout since kindergarten and also on her own, she has grown her hair for Locks of Love, picked vegetables for Second Harvest Food Bank, baked cookies for the Ronald McDonald House and made blankets for Project Linus.

“I was really happy,” Megan said of the award. “I felt good about myself.”

Conrad was just one of 166 California residents, ages five to 92—including 13 students from the Capistrano Unified School District—who received a volunteer service award.

“You are being honored by the last gesture they made as they left office,” said Anna Bryson, co-chair of the event and trustee on the Capistrano Unified School District board.

The award was coordinated by CaliforniaVolunteers, a state office that manages programs and initiatives aimed at increasing the number of people engaged in service and volunteering.

While the governor was not on hand to personally deliver the awards, the ceremony's guests were treated to a speech and rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” by Jeff Timmons, founder and singer of 1990s boy band 98 Degrees, who was also honored for his work with several children’s charities.

“Keep doing what you’re doing for as long as you can, because you never know how it’s going to come back to you and the people you are going to impact,” Timmons said.