Community members honored at inaugural awards ceremony

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The Community Room of the Auburn Library was standing-room only when community leaders young and old came together to give thanks for making a difference in the lives of Auburn youth and the community.

A collaborative event between the Auburn Library and Auburn Hip Hop Congress, the “Give Thanks” ceremony was a chance for like-minded community members to recognize organizations and individuals who work hard to create positive opportunities for young people in the community.

The event was the brainchild of Natalie Pohley, community and youth organizer, and Rocky Zapata, business manager, both of Auburn Hip Hop Congress.

“It is important to recognize those doing good in the community and to give thanks,” Pohley said.

Attendees brought food to share as well as their excitement.

“It’s not every day that all of us can get together like this,” said Sophie Bruno, youth services librarian. “What an amazing opportunity for all of us here to recognize how important it is to support our young people and allow their voices to be heard.”

Over and over, award recipients and youth performers thanked Pohley and Zapata for the difference the two have made in the lives of Auburn youth, and for putting an event on to celebrate young people.

More than 17 young artists performed, and almost all of them shared pieces that spoke from the heart – from loved ones they have lost, to the release their music brings them, to commentary on the world in which they live. Each performance brought plenty of applause from the packed room.

In all, 22 awards were given out – including awards for a dozen young people whose work in the community includes the Boys & Girls Club; Placer Youth Commission; Maidu, Chana and Placer high schools; Key Club; and Auburn Hip Hop Congress. They included Nelson Hawkins, Joseph Torres, Brandon Lopez, Ashlee Lopez, Samantha Dyer, Derek Ikeda, Brandon Barry, Vanessa Pohley, Brandon Greenhalgh, Blake Pilcher, Kendall Odom and Adam Powell.