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BOSS 7th Annual Rising Stars Celebration of Hope

On July 16, 2022, we held the 7th Annual Rising Stars Celebration of Hope at Hotel Shattuck in Berkeley, honoring some fantastic men and women who have overcome traumatic experiences with domestic or community violence, family separation, homelessness, extreme poverty, incarceration, and justice system involvement.

Rising Stars recipient, Stephan Robinson

The BOSS Rising Stars Celebration started in 2014, recognizing exceptional youth. Family, friends, and community leaders gather to honor these young people for their achievements and offer them support for their future endeavors.

The Inaugural 2014 BOSS Rising Stars


We Want Them To Succeed!!

The 2022 BOSS RISING STARS CELEBRATION OF HOPE, BOSS, ACPD, and a host of supporters, family, and friends celebrated 16 individuals with live entertainment, special guest speakers, and food, certificates of achievement from elected officials, and gift bags. All honorees will be showered with community support, respect, admiration, and love.

With distressed communities being hit hardest by two years of COVID impacts and crime rising nationwide, these honorees are incredible and essential SUCCESS STORIES that must be shared and celebrated!! Determined to rebuild their lives, attain gainful employment, and do whatever it takes to care for themselves and their families was a testament to the nominee's strength and character.

The celebration opened with an invocation from Tanisha Walton, Pastor at The Way Christian Center in Berkeley.

Kindness is giving hope to those who think they are all alone in this world - Kindness is seeing the best in others when they cannot see it in themselves - Kindness is something anyone can give without losing anything themselves - Kindness is not what you do, but who you are.

In the past, this celebration brought out amazing guests in sports, entertainment, entrepreneurship, and more to encourage and motivate the Rising Stars through their journeys. We were honored this year to have US Olympic Track & Field Hopeful, Kayla Bushey.

When I say I'm like you, I mean it. I'm in the middle of my journey just like you - a Rising Star. I am here today because I want to remind you that what you want to do isn't crazy. Your goals, your desire, your dreams, and your vision is uniquely yours. It's special, you should treat it that way, and I promise it will not be easy all the time, but you will find your path. If you want to stun the world and do something they say you can't do - you already have that power within you to do something crazy.
So I'll leave you with this - be crazy, be the first, create the path you want to succeed, and let people follow you. My name is Kayla Bushey, and I'm going to the Olympics - sounds crazy, doesn't it?

Kayla is an elite athlete and educates other athletes on the triple jump. She creates digital content to share her journey through professional athletics posts collegiately. She teams up with companies that share her go-getter mentality. Kayla has coached as an NCAA USATF - serving for three years and continues to share the sport through camps, clinics, and online education.

Among the award recipients was a former BOSS participant and CTEC Alum, Julian Owens. Owens is battling Type I Diabetes in an environment that doesn't support healthy living or behaviors. He, however, has persevered in looking for work and maintaining contact with the BOSS program. He says BOSS played a crucial role in holding him accountable.

Congratulations to our 2022 Rising Stars Awardees!! It is with heartfelt respect, admiration, and love that I say YOU DESERVE THIS -- and not just this, but so much more. You deserve love, safety, respect, and a sense of belonging -- something I hope BOSS has provided you with. You deserve safe, affordable housing, living wage jobs, healthy relationships, and opportunities -- which we see you striving towards each day - Donald Frazier, CEO, BOSS Bay Area.
Thomas Jones and Donald Frazier at the 2016 Rising Stars Celebration

At the 2016 BOSS Rising Stars, Thomas Jones was a recent graduate of Berkeley City College and received the Role Model award at the event.

He said he uses BOSS as an opportunity to give back to kids and ensure they don’t follow in his footsteps.

Keynote Speaker, Boss & Rising Star Alum, Thomas Jones

Jones, the victim of a shooting in which he was an innocent bystander, hung out with the wrong crowd growing up, making some bad decisions.

Now a Rising Stars alumni and our 2022 Keynote Speaker, Thomas graduated from San Francisco State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology. He has volunteered with Alameda County Juvenile Probation, Berkeley Youth Alternatives, and previous Berkeley Council member Max Anderson. This led him to work at BOSS for a year before taking a position to continue his work in housing.

Our mission is to help homeless, poor, and disabled people achieve health and self-sufficiency and to fight against the root causes of poverty and homelessness. Today, BOSS is recognized as a social justice leader in housing, reentry, violence prevention, and innovative service delivery methodologies.

We are grateful for the generosity of the businesses and individuals who helped make BOSS Rising Stars Celebration of Hope a success through their services or donations of in-kind items. Please help us thank them by patronizing their businesses here.

Remember, this event – and the work BOSS does with families and youth throughout the year – is made possible with your support! Just text the words BOSSBAYAREA to 243725 to donate any size.

See photos, thank yous, and more here.



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