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The Vacaville Neighborhood Boys & Girls Club was a big winner Thursday night with two Club members taking home Champions for Children awards sponsored by the Children’s Nurturing Project.
Shanneil Turner, 15, was named Youth Champion for her nonprofit, Shanneil’s Locker, which provides youth athletes with shoes. Her nonprofit was unveiled earlier this year, inspired by her own athletic shoe needs and aid she received from her Club.
Susan Schwartz, who has volunteered with the Club for six years, was named Adult Champion for her work.
Both women said they were surprised and humbled by the recognition.
“I told them this was the best part of my day, when I come here,” said Schwartz of the Club and seeing her little helpers. “These guys keep bringing me back.”
Schwartz has done everything from boosting the Club’s gardening program to helping the kids make hats and scarves for the homeless and, now, for cancer patients in need.
Shanneil said she was thankful, and simply inspired to do more. Some of the nominees had a buddy system at their school, where a special needs child is paired with a non-special needs child to help navigate the school system.
“I want to start that at my school,” Shanneil said. “Probably this year.”
She’ll fit that in around schooling, sports and her nonprofit, she pledged.
For her part, Club Executive Director Anna Eaton expressed pride in the pair. Schwartz, she said, is simply exceptional and truly loves the kids. As for Shanneil, Eaton said the youth has been on an adventurous journey of self discovery and is coming into her own.
“I think this speaks volumes of what special things are happening at this club,” she said. “I’m proud of them.”
Other winners include:
• Solano County Supervisor Linda Seifert, Lifetime Champion Award.
• Paula LeDoux-Christison, Jaime Reyes and Gary Stanoff, the Officer Augustine Vegas Memorial Award for Public Service.
• Prison Outreach Program of California State Prison Solano, Service Club Champion.
• Casa of Solano County, NonProfit Agency Champion.
• T.J. Max-Marshalls of Fairfield, Business Champion.
By Kimberly K. Fu,, @ReporterKimFu on Twitter

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