Once living a life of violence and crime that led to the California prison system, Sammy Nuñez is now recognized for leading others, as the founding executive director of Fathers and Families of San Joaquin, a community-based organization that provides services and parenting classes for young fathers and incarcerated men.
For his exceptional work and effort in violence prevention, The California Wellness Foundation honors Nuñez with the California Peace Prize at their 18th annual ceremony on October 19.
The former gang member, along with two other community leaders in California have been chosen as honorees by The Foundation and will be presented with the Peace Prize award and $25,000.
Incarcerated at the age of 18 for attempted murder, Nuñez experienced what he called a “family reunion” in Folsom State Prison, as he did time with his brother and brother-in-law.
Believing that the system was where “people like his family belonged” was thinking that Nuñez had to change. With the help of a mentor, he learned that he had a choice in his life and he made the choice to change his life.
Upon his release from Folsom, Nuñez completed a fatherhood program and continued on this road which to led his to his current career as founder and Executive Director of Fathers and Families of San Joaquin. The non-profit organization located in Stockton promotes “strong and healthy families and communities where children and youth are nurtured and fathers are engaged”.
When asked about his work in Stockton, Nuñez stated, “While we have obstacles in our community, we also have one of the most diverse areas in the nation. There are a lot of assets that can be mobilized and integrated into building a movement. We have a solid group that’s committed to re-writing our future. We’re not just on the sidelines providing commentary. We’re in the trenches. There’s a sense of urgency, readiness and opportunity.”
Nuñez is a “nationally recognized expert in the field of youth development and responsible fatherhood. As an alumnus of a fatherhood development program in Northern California and a past coordinator of a nationally recognized Male Involvement and Male Responsibility program, Nuñez has the unique background of being a participant and success story of the type of services offered through grassroots youth and fatherhood development programs. With an impressive portfolio of key-note presentations, conferences and training, Nuñez has an extensive knowledge and a profound understanding of working with young men and fathers”.
Established in 1992, The California Wellness Foundation is a private organization with the mission to improve the health of the people of California by making grants for health promotion, wellness education and disease prevention by preventing health problems resulting from violence, teen pregnancy, poverty and other social issues.
For more information on the Fathers and Families of San Joaquin program visit their website.
The California Wellness Foundation may be contacted at their website.
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