APAC Gala & Award Dinner 2023 Honorees
Excellence in Civic Leadership Award – Presented to Andrew Amorao
Andrew Amorao comes from a family of farmers in California’s Central Coast. He possesses a wide range of non-profit and corporate experience, but is fundamentally passionate about empowering diverse communities. Andrew graduated with a B.A. in Asian American Studies from San Francisco State University before going on to serve as the coordinator of Kearny Street Workshop’s APAture, an annual multidisciplinary arts festival presenting the work of emerging Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) artists from around the San Francisco Bay Area.
He used his expertise in management, logistics, and communication to serve as the Event & Program Coordinator for the Kuya Ate Mentorship Program (KAMP). KAMP is an educational organization that works inside and outside of local San Diego classrooms to develop young leaders’ critical thinking skills with a focus on the study of Filipino and Filipino American culture, history, and identity. Because of his work with KAMP, Andrew joined Samahan Health Centers, a Federally Qualified Health Center that addresses the health disparities affecting Filipino and Latino families in San Diego County. He served as the organization’s Civic Engagement Coordinator to launch and implement Samahan’s Civic Engagement Program and advocate for the Centers’ stakeholders and patients.
His time with Samahan led Andrew to Alliance San Diego (ASD), a community empowerment organization doing local work of national significance in the fields of civic engagement, human rights, educational equity, and tax and fiscal policy. While at ASD, his responsibilities ranged from planning know-your-rights informational sessions for the AAPI community to supervising teams of canvassers that conducted voter education, voter engagement, and turnout efforts for nearly 100,000 disenfranchised, immigrant, and low-income residents in San Diego County.
Before joining the California Citizens Redistricting Commission (CRC), Andrew was with the U.S. Census Bureau as a Partnership Specialist in San Diego County. His primary objective was to increase response rates for the 2020 Census through partnership agreements, presentations, and establishing a presence at events and meetings in areas and communities that have traditionally been undercounted in the Decennial Census, especially those in the Asian Pacific Islander, Middle Eastern, and Desi communities and at local colleges. He also became part of the region’s leadership team to oversee Census staff to set up mission critical Complete Count Committees, coordinate outreach strategies, targeted messaging, and get-out-the-count events and activities.
At the CRC, Andrew was appointed to lead community outreach, engagement, and participation efforts in Imperial, Riverside, San Bernardino, and San Diego Counties. As the CRC’s Southern California Field Team Lead, he and counterparts nearly doubled the amount of the public comment (over 37,000) from the previous statewide redistricting outreach efforts. Currently, Andrew serves as the Community Service Program Manager at UC San Diego’s Center for Student Involvement (CSI). His focus is on campus wide engagement and strategic community partnerships in the areas of education, public health, civic engagement, and public policy.
Outstanding Organization Award – Presented to House of China
The House of China in San Diego’s Balboa Park is one of the original international cottages of the House of Pacific Relations dating back to 1935. Together, we work with about 30 international cottages in friendship and humanitarian relief efforts. Most recently, we supported aid to the House of Ukraine for the ongoing war and to the House of Turkey for earthquake relief.
Our mission is to help share and preserve our Chinese culture and traditions with our San Diego community. Our cottage is open every weekend, and we welcome about 30,000 visitors each year. We also help host major Chinese community events like Chinese New Year and Moon Festival. We encourage children to learn Chinese by joining in our scholarship programs and participating in our annual Chinese essay contest.
We also partner with other Asian associations to combat anti-Asian racism and promote civic engagement with organizations like the US Census Bureau. We are a non-political organization, and we are proud to be part of the diverse and multicultural fabric of the city of San Diego.
Rising Star Award – Presented to Cady Mariano
Cady Mariano, has made serving others a part of her life and growing up volunteering since age 9. Cady has chartered and led two kid volunteer clubs, serving people in need but also spearheading the fundraising efforts to work with local charities helping battle COVID-19.
Since age 9, Cady started to perform dancing for Lions Club fundraisers for 10 years. It included Cady’s 1st fundraiser performance for San Diego Rady Children’s Hospital in 2011 invited by Dr Chan, followed by fundraisers for Philippine Typhoon Sengdong in 2012, for homeless kids at San Diego Monarch School and also for homeless Veterans at San Diego Veterans Village in 2013.
At age 10, under Dr Chan’s guidance, Cady chartered the 1st kid volunteer club in 2012 for kids at age 8-12, San Diego United Cubs Club. Cady led 11 kids to perform singing/dancing for low-income seniors at Salvation Army. Cady also led 70 kids and volunteers for the 1st Thanksgiving Food Packing for 600 low income families, the 1st Thanksgiving musical performance and helped to serve Turkey dinner for 150 seniors from low income families, and the 1st annual “Christmas Toys Drive” for homeless kids in 2013.
Cady also joined the “1-on-1 Rainbow Program” via ACCEF to sponsor 3 Chinese students from 2012-2023 from poor areas in China to finish their primary education. One of three students has made it to a college gaining the chance for a better life. At age 13, Cady chartered the 2nd kid volunteer club in 2015 for kids at age 12-18, San Diego United Leo Club. Cady led 35 kids to do more than 25 community service activities per year. At age 14, Cady led the Leo Club to do their own fundraisers to raise more than $38,000, donating to over 25 charities in 2013-2019.
With all the guidance and encouragement from Dr Chan, Lions and volunteers, Cady and her fellow Leos positively impact hundreds of others in the community. Under Cady’s leadership, San Diego United Leo Club has received many awards and recognition, including the 2017 “International Leo Club Excellence Award.”
At age 18 and the beginning of the pandemic, Cady donated money to ACCEF to help buy ventilators for China then donated money to help buy ventilators for the US in 2020. Furthermore, Cady led the Leo Club to help battle COVID-19 working with many local charities, including ACCEF, Lions club, SABPA, PPE Group, Able Diagnostics and others, to pack and donate more than 100,000 of N95 masks, surgical masks, forehead thermometers, ventilators, face shields and others to 50 hospitals/clinics in 10 states including CA, NY, NJ and others. Also Cady led the Leo club to donate and deliver N95 masks, surgical masks and others to more than 60 doctors/nurses in San Diego county in 2020-2021.
Cady and the Leo Club’s most recent contribution to Neighborhood Healthcare and other hospitals directly assisted doctors in treating COVID-19 patients, which helped to protect doctors and the medical system in San Diego County and around the country. Neighborhood Healthcare later nominated Cady for “Outstanding Youth/Student Volunteer” Award at the 48th Annual National Philanthropy Day in 2020.
Lifetime Achievement Award – Presented to Dr. Aurora Cudal
Aurora Soriano Cudal Rivera comes from a civic-minded middle income family in the Philippines. Her parents were trail-blazers in the field of social justice and public health. Hence, she grew up in an environment where helping others was the norm. The influence of her father, one of the first Justice of the Peace, and her mother, a graduate of the first mission school for Nursing in the Philippines imbued in her and her 10 siblings the value of community service.
The love to help others was further honed by her education in public schools and her participation in the programs and activities of the United Methodist Church, where she was elected in lay leadership positions. She also served as World Secretary of the World Federation of Methodist Women (1991-1996) giving her the opportunity to travel and speak before women’s groups in more than 40 countries. Her pursuit for excellence as a graduate of the University of the Philippines and with the encouragement and support of her late husband, Winlove Abello Cudal paved the way to her success as a professional public health educator in the Philippines and eventually in the international field as a WHO Health Education Advisor and a UNDP consultant on Community Development.
In between her international consultantships and her regular job as university professor in Public Health Education, she devoted her time as a wife and mother to seven children – Mary Ann Cudal-De Ocera, Aurora Cudal Soriano, Winlove “Bobby” Cudal, Arwin Cudal, Major General (ret) BenHur Cudal, Charles Cudal and Sharon Rose Cudal-Pangilinan. She is a Grandma to 26 grandchildren and a great Grandma to 6 lovable kids. After a brief widowhood, she got married to Judge (ret) Pedro de Castro Rivera of Alaminos City, Pangasinan. Aurora left prestigious leadership positions in the Philippines and came to the USA when she was petitioned by her daughter, Aurora “Gia.”
Upon her arrival she wrote a grant proposal to establish the Filipino Help (Tulungan) Center and submitted it to the United Methodist Church Commission On Religion and Race. It was approved and eventually her passion in helping others was fulfilled through the Tulungan Center (with the help of Operation Samahan and The Filipino Press) which helped new Filipino immigrants in adjusting to a new way of life and as a resource for Information and Referral to health and education services.
Her volunteer activities included a stint with the Council of Philippine American Organizations, where she was eventually elected as Chair/President for two terms (1997-1998/2003-2004). Her volunteerism garnered for her several awards, among them, Woman of the Year (1999 and 2015) by the California State Legislature, The Legend (as a Bridge Builder) by the San Diego County Library, Woman of Distinction by the Philippine Centennial Committee (1998), Distinguished Alumni in Community Service by the University of the Philippines Alumni Association in America (2003) and one of the top ten Filipino Women in Community Service by the National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA).
She was also honored by the San Diego County Commission on the Status of Women by installing her in the San Diego Women’s Hall of Fame, and by the City of San Diego by designating her birthdate as Aurora Cudal Day in the City of San Diego. At 90, she remains active in community affairs and still writes her column, “My Personal Testimony” in The Filipino Press.
Tom Hom Civic Engagement Scholarship
My name is Vina Duprat and I am a third year student at Cal State San Marcos, studying Business Management. On Campus, I am a student representative for the APIDA Steering Committee and our goal is to help find and create a space where APIDA students can gain more traction, visibility, and excitement all together on campus.
Outside of school, I am this year’s Miss Vietnam of San Diego’s First Princesses and Miss Congeniality. As a part of Miss Vietnam of San Diego, I am proud to be a young representative of the Vietnamese community and helping to contribute in keeping our Vietnamese roots and culture alive. I am passionate about empowering young women, who are like me to continue to stay connected to their culture and I hope to become a leader who can strive to create positive change within my community.
Currently in her first year at San Diego State University, Angela is pursuing a degree in accounting while actively engaging with her local community through various forms of civic participation. Her involvement in programs such as Tutoring for Change and various activities focused on raising awareness of the importance of Asian American participation and activism is a testament to her unwavering commitment to social responsibility.
Angela firmly believes that using her knowledge and abilities to improve society is not only a responsibility but also an opportunity to leave a positive impact on her community. Looking ahead, she is determined to continue her efforts in building a more inclusive space at San Diego State.
Veronica Liu is a second-year Urban Studies & Planning / Education Sciences double major at the University of California, San Diego. Growing up in Oakland, California, her passions arose from attending often underfunded urban public schools, and her goal is to revitalize education to increase opportunities in underserved communities.
Currently, she works as a resident assistant and peer mentor on her campus, serving as a point of contact and resource for the different populations she serves. As an Asian-American woman, she hopes to inspire others to pursue community service and public engagement and help change our communities for the better.
My name is Maryam Abdul Sattar, and I am a graduate social work student at San Diego State University with the focus on administration and community development. I am passionate about serving underrepresented groups, which is why I study social work.
After completion of my degree, I am willing to work with the federal government and want to engage in policy advocacy to influence policies that can enhance quality of life for all. I love reading, traveling, and learning new languages. I speak over six languages and have traveled to nine countries.