The 2015 OceanLeaf Awards Celebration Focuses on Communities Woven Together through Hope and Resilience

The Third Annual OceanLeaf Awards Celebration will honor eight outstanding individuals and organizations that have provided exceptional leadership and support to Somali and other East African refugees and immigrants in the San Diego Community.

This year's theme is Honoring Communities Woven Together by Hope and Resilience. We will celebrate the journey of New Americans represented by the symbol of Ocean and the Leaf, the symbol of partnerships woven together through hope and resilience.

The Third Annual OceanLeaf Awards Celebration will take place from 5:30 to 9:00 p.m. on Wednesday, February 25, 2015 at the Four Points by the Sheraton San Diego. The event will include a reception; traditional entertainment by Somali Dhanto performers and by the award-winning musical group, Sene Africa; and dinner and awards program. Bob Montgomery, Executive Director of International Rescue Committee, will be the keynote speaker.

Somali Family Service will be honoring eight community champions at the OceanLeaf Awards on February 25, 2015. Award honorees include:

  • Volunteer of the Year Award: Liban Ali, San Diego Somali Autism Awareness Initiative
  • Health and Well-Being Award:  Maria Lourdes Reyes, M.D., U.S. & Border Programs, Project Concern International
  • Opportunity Award: Wendell French, Wells Fargo Bank
  • Innovation Award: Lenore Lowe, Nonprofit Management Solutions
  • Spirit Award: Imam Taha Hassane, Islamic Center of San Diego
  • Leadership Award: Bob Montgomery, International Rescue Committee
  • Emerging Leader Award: Mohamed Ahmed, Communities United Reviving East Africa and Ismahan Abdullahi, Muslim American Society of San Diego

The event is open to the public, and tickets can be purchased online at . For further event information, contact Cindy Alsol at (619) 265-5821, extension 202 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

SFS was launched in 2000 to help meet the needs of Somali and otherEast African refugees as they transition to a new life in the United States. SFS, along with its community partners, helps Somali and other African families in becoming responsible, independent and contributing members of San Diego. The organization focuses on developing economic, health, youth and family strengthening programs.

AWARDS CEREMONY SPONSOR:                                                                                                                                                                


RECEPTION SPONSOR:                                               




Other Table Sponsors:
- Partnership for the Advancement of New Americans,
- Horn of Africa Community

Community Sponsors:

Cox Logo      San Diego Foundation High Res-Molina Healthcare Logo Teal  Black
- Fatuma Restuarent,
- Bailony Pediatrics
- Pala Casino Spa & Resort
- Pala Mesa Resort
- Flavors of East Africa


Somali Family Services of San Diego will be hosting its Third Annual OceanLeaf Awards Celebration on February 25, 2015.  The event will take place at the San Diego Four Points by Sheraton on Aero Drive. We will be honoring individuals who have been an integral part in advancing the lives of East African refugees in our communities. If you know of someone that should be considered, please complete and submit a nomination form by September 30, 2014

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Somali Family Service of San Diego OceanLeaf Awards Celebration 2015


Call For Nominations! "Nomination Period ended"

oceanleaf logoThe nomination process begins with an initial screening followed by the final selection. To submit a nominee for the initial screening, simply complete the form here.

If your nominee advances to the final phase, you will be contacted to provide additional information.

The Honorary Committee, comprised of volunteers from the community, will make a final selection for each award among the final phase nominees. Awards will be given in all categories providing the nominee has met the highest standards of achievement.



Nomination Categories and Descriptions

OceanLeaf Leadership Award This award is presented to an individual or organization that is respected as a voice of and for the community. The recipient of the Leadership Award is a leader, dedicated to problem solving, finding solutions and building a stronger and more connected community.

OceanLeaf Spirit Award This award is presented to an individual or organization involved in humanitarian outreach and represents belief in the human spirit as well as protection and advocacy for human rights. The recipient of this award has demonstrated support for the humanity of the individual and the community as a whole.

OceanLeaf Innovation Award This award is presented to an individual or organization that has been a force of unique innovation within the community. The recipient of this award has pioneered new ideas, demonstrated risk taking, and has maximized their resources to improve the quality of life within the community.

OceanLeaf Health and Well-Being Award This award is presented to an individual or organization involved with the health and well-being of the community. The recipient of this award represents a selfless and nurturing individual, dedicated to helping others and ensuring the happiness and good welfare of the community, demonstrating an effort to bringing the community together.

OceanLeaf Opportunity Award This award is presented to an individual or organization involved with the economic development of the community. The recipient of this award represents a dedication to the promotion of self-sufficiency and independence within the community, acting as a constant resource of support and a role model for others.

OceanLeaf Emerging Leader Award This award is presented to a young individual that represents a new generation of youth empowerment. The recipient of this award upholds ideals of democracy, justice and responsibility, and aspires to be a role model and active voice for their peers.


Nominations must be received by Somali Family Service of San Diego by September 30, 2014

Multiple nominations are encouraged, but please only one nomination per form
Late entries will not be accepted
Incomplete forms will not be accepted
Previous candidates are not eligible for re-nomination. Please note list of past Honorees that follows
Candidates must be from the San Diego community


To submit your nomination for any of OceanLeaf 2015 categories’, please complete the online nomination form click here. If you have any question or comments please contact us here.

OceanLeaf Awards Celebration
 Past Honorees

OceanLeaf Leadership Award:

  • Jesse Mills, Ph.D. Professor, USD

  • Agin Shaheed, San Diego Unified School District, The Race/Human
Relations and Advocacy Program

OceanLeaf Spirit Award:

  • Carmen Chavez Casa Cornelia Law Center

  • Abdulkadir Mohamed

OceanLeaf Innovation Award:

  • Dory Beatrice Griffith and La Jolla Golden Triangle Rotary
  • Marjorie Blanchard, Ph.D.

OceanLeaf Emerging Leader Award

  • Ali Artan, MBA. Young Professional
  • Abdulmalik Buul
  • Ramla Sahid

OceanLeaf Opportunity Award

  • Parker Foundation

  • Murugi Kenyatta, Foundation for Women

OceanLeaf Health and Well-Being Award

  • Horn of Africa: Families Together Program
  • Bonnie Copland, County of San DiegoCentral Region Public Health Center
  • Shukri Adam, County of San DiegoCentral Region Public Health Center


This cultural sensitivity training aims to tackle some of the cultural barriers that contribute to the gap found in health care access and delivery of care. Understanding the cultural health beliefs and experiences of this diverse population of Somali patients is crucial to providing culturally competent care.

We are hoping that through this dialogue and the feedback from the attendees, we can create mutual understanding between providers and their patients. It would be an honor to have your attendance at this upcoming event.


Please RSVP using the link below (RSVP time ended)

If you attended the training, please click here to complete a survey

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Donate To SFS

Health & Wellness

sfs health fair 2010SFS has been a champion in addressing gaps in healthcare in the San Diego East African refugee community, Read more...


Economic Development

sfs youthEconomic development program was created to address the economic needs of Somali and other East African families  Read more...

Family Strengthening

family strengtheningSFS bolsters the East African refugee community with its Family Strengthening program. We advocate on issues such as access to quality healthcare, Read more...

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