GGUSD Honors Partners with Community Heroes Award

GG Assistance League

At its meeting on November 2, 2021, the Garden Grove Unified School District Board of Education honored the Assistance League of Garden Grove and Garden Grove Police Department School Resource Officers with the district's first Community Heroes award. The district thanked the organizations for making a difference in the lives of students and provided the following remarks. 

The Assistance League of Garden Grove
Our first Community Hero is the Garden Grove Assistance League, a non-profit organization that has been an important partner to our district for decades. Through the program Operation School Bell, the Assistance League provides clothing to more than 650 GGUSD students each year. Since the onset of the pandemic, we have turned to the Assistance League for help.  Each and every time, we contacted our point person Geri Ogle, she and the team at the Assistance League were consistently ready and willing to meet the critical needs of our families. When one of our families lost all of their belongings in a house fire, the Assistance League graciously sprang into action, providing all family members with clothing, shoes and emergency supplies. This is only one powerful example of how in the midst of tragedy, the Assistance League provided a beacon of kindness and hope.  Each member of the Assistance League is a volunteer who gives of their time selflessly to help families in need and make a positive impact in the community. Chartered in 1967, the Assistance League has provided countless donations to our families over the years as well as other philanthropic programs including college scholarships for foster youth, Survivor Kits and Teddy Bears for victims of trauma, vision and dentistry services, and a robust thrift store that serves community members in need. Thank you to our amazing partners President Ruth Ann Laws, our wonderful Point Person Recording Secretary Geri Ogle, Strategic Planning Chair Barbara Schaefer, President Elect Sally Hickman, Chair of Resource Development Vera Ramirez, Treasurer Kathy Hebert and Assistant Treasurer Arlene Martin.  

The Garden Grove Police Department SRO Program
Our next Community Hero is the amazing Sergeant Jon Wainwright and his fabulous team of School Resource Officers including Corporal Adam Zmija, Officer Derek Link, Officer Patrick Julienne, Officer Rene Barraza and Officer Julio Cortez.  The work of this team to ensure the safety of our staff and students is immeasurable.  Under the leadership of Sergeant Wainwright, each one of these officers has been our hero in emergency situations that occur at our schools. We call them day and night and they are always happy to work alongside our school leaders to keep kids safe.  You don’t hear about all of their heroic acts because oftentimes they are working behind the scenes to stop threats from developing. In addition to keeping our campuses safe, these officers serve as role models, engage with our students and school leaders and have become part of the fabric of our school district. Already this year, they have returned stolen tricycles to kindergarten students, tracked down stolen athletic gear, prevented dangerous individuals from entering our campuses, aided in medical emergencies, managed safety threats, and much more. They participated in PBIS relays and games, attended football games, and organized fun school safety events. Our students and staff see Sergeant Wainwright and the School Resource officers as trusted and caring adults on campus who they find very approachable. Our parents and families in the community appreciate the support and care Sergeant Wainwright and the SRO’s provide when assistance or intervention is requested. In addition, Sergeant Wainwright has partnered with many agencies to further support our GGUSD students and staff. Partnerships with the SMART Team and Be Well provide critical resources in a time of crisis. They have a big presence on our campuses and we consistently see how much they know and care about our students.    

We cannot imagine any group of officers we would want with us in a crisis more than you.  Thank you for all that you’ve contributed to our schools and for protecting our students and staff members with honor and integrity.