San Manuel Honors Non-Profits at Forging Hope

San Manuel Annual Forging Hope Awards

HIGHLAND, CA – The 2024 Forging Hope Awards hosted by the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians recognized four outstanding non-profit organizations for their exemplary contributions to the quality of life in the Inland Empire. Recipients of the 2024 Yawa’ Award, the tribe’s highest honors, included California Indian Nations College; Keres Children’s Learning Center; National Indian Child Welfare Association; and The Salvation Army.

“Each Yawa’ Award recipient embodies extraordinary dedication to their communities,” said Lynn Valbuena, Chairwoman of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians. “In our Serrano language, Yawa’ means to ‘act on one’s beliefs.’ We will never forget the kindness extended to our tribal family before we had the means to envision a brighter future. It is an honor to stand with these community heroes.”   

San Manuel partners with hundreds of organizations each year, giving nearly $400 million since 2002 to organizations serving Inland Empire and Indian Country communities, to reinforce the spirit of Yawa’ and empower positive change.

14th Annual Forging Hope Awardees
L-R: San Manuel Band of Mission Indians Chairwoman Lynn Valbuena; San Manuel Band of Mission Indians Second Governing Council Member Laurena Bolden; California Indians Nations College President Celeste R. Townsend; Keres Children’s Learning Center Co-Founder & CEO Trisha Moquino; The Salvation Army Business Administrator Steven Pinckney; National Indian Child Welfare Association Executive Director Dr. Sarah Kastelic; San Manuel Band of Mission Indians Culture Sear Member Joseph Maarango; and San Manuel Band of Mission Indians Vice Chairman Johnny Hernandez, Jr.

2024 Forging Hope Honorees: 

  • California Indian Nations College – The College (CINC) offers a culturally responsive academic curriculum rooted in Native American values and provides personalized support to advance the success of Native and non-Native students. CINC integrates Native American cultures, traditions, and languages in higher education. CINC empowers students to advance Native American cultures, languages and sovereignty to promote vibrant Native, local and global communities.
  • Keres Children’s Learning Center The Center strives to reclaim children’s education and honor tribal heritage by using a comprehensive cultural and academic curriculum to assist families in nurturing Keres-speaking, holistically healthy, community minded, and academically strong students. The New Mexico-based Center is an independent nonprofit organization, guided by its board and supported by foundations, individuals, the Administration for Native Americans.
  • National Indian Child Welfare Association The Association (NICWA), based in Portland, OR, supports the safety, health, and spiritual strength of American Indian and Alaska Native children along the broad continuum of their lives. NICWA supports tribes in building the capacity to prevent child abuse and neglect at the federal, state, and tribal levels. It is the most comprehensive source of information on American Indian and Alaska Native child welfare.
  • The Salvation Army The San Bernardino Emergency Shelter and Hospitality House provides community meals six days per week, emergency housing and transitional living opportunities to vulnerable women and families with children, aiding people from all walks of life to break the cycle of homelessness and substance abuse, and reintegrating them into their communities as active, contributing members.