LAPD officers Andy Salcido and Berny Gonzalez were recognized by the Rams and SoCal Honda as Community Quarterbacks for their mentorship with Operation Progress.
On Tuesday, September 26, Rams Guard ROGER SAFFOLD paid a visit to St. Lawrence of Brindisi School in Watts to surprise students and LAPD officers with the announcement of the Rams October Community Quarterback winners, LAPD Officers Berny Gonzalez and Andy Salcido. Gonzalez and Salcido are both volunteers for Operation Progress, a non-profit organization that pairs scholars with LAPD officers in a mission to empower underserved youth to become educated, capable, ethical and productive people who will, in turn lead, mentor and positively contribute to society at large. The Rams Community Quarterback Award, presented by Helpful SoCal Honda Dealers, celebrates individuals who display extraordinary leadership abilities and a passion for bettering his or her community and awards funding to the non-profits that they serve.
Officer Berny Gonzalez joined Operation Progress as a LAPD mentor in 2015 and immediately became one of the most involved advisors working with students in 3rd, 4th and 5th grade. With her effortless ability to form meaningful relationships, Gonzalez has been able to provide strong academic and behavioral support for her mentees. At times, she has gone out of her way to visit students at school, plan exciting field trips exposing them to new things, chaperon events and consistently attend program meetings. Gonzalez also was named Operation Progress' Mentor of the Year in 2015, setting an example for how positive police/community relationships are cultivated.
"Gonzalez has a way of getting through to students who need the extra push," said Operations Manager Sasha Lear. "Her combination of tough love mixed with genuine empathy and compassion has made her a great asset to our organization."
In 2013, Officer Andy Salcido became involved with Operation Progress and has since been a catalyst in providing academic assistance, structure, as well as outside extracurricular activities for his students. Salcido initiated the Operation Progress Running Club which has become an effective way to encourage Operation Progress students and other community youth to be healthy and active. The club has participated in a variety of 5ks and 10ks. For past events, Salcido has even secured running shoe donations for each of the student participants.
"Salcido not only supports each of his mentees academically and behaviorally, but also empowers and encourages them to reach their maximum potential," mentioned Lear. "He is an exemplary mentor and an asset to Operation Progress' LAPD mentorship program as well as the South LA community."
Operation Progress currently serves approximately 70 students in the South LA area and has 35 dedicated LAPD mentors who participate in extracurricular activities along with weekly academic/behavior check-ins.
Officers Andy Salcido and Berny Gonzalez will be recognized at the Rams home game on Sunday, October 8, when the Rams host the Seattle Seahawks. In addition, Operation Progress will receive a $5,000 check from the Rams Foundation and a $5,000 RAMdom Act of Helpfulness from SoCal Honda Dealers.
For more information regarding programs, volunteer opportunities, application steps and donations for Operation Progress, please visit http://operationprogressla.org/.
If you would like additional information about the Rams Community Quarterback Award, please click here.