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Greater Bakersfield Chamber announces the 2024 Beautiful Bakersfield Award winners

June 28, 2024

Shining a light on those who help make Bakersfield beautiful

On Saturday, June 22, the 34th annual Beautiful Bakersfield Awards, presented by Valley Strong Credit Union, recognized the efforts of 86 individuals, businesses and organizations that helped build a better Bakersfield in 2023. The Greater Bakersfield Chamber is honored to share the inspiring stories of each nominee and recipient.

Please enjoy the following inspiring and uplifting stories!

A Better Bakersfield  – Sponsored by Kaiser Permanente Kern County

An annual event or project that enhances the quality of life in the community.

Children First – East Bakersfield Festival – Children First hosted its 6th annual East Bakersfield Festival, a free community event. The event transformed a sparsely attended space in East Bakersfield into a vibrant, colorful, and safe environment, featuring performances by Group Feliz, La Calliope, and four dance groups. It offered various health resources and continued to strengthen Children First’s efforts and connection with the East Bakersfield community. 

The nominees in this category included: 

  • Alzheimer’s Disease Association of Kern County – Senior Prom
  • The Active Bakersfield Alliance – The Bakersfield Marathon
  • Blues Zones Project – Tobacco Retail License
  • California Living Museum – Holiday Lights
  • Night to Shine Bakersfield – Annual Prom
  • Upside Academy Inc. – Christmas in the Neighborhood
  • Wildlands Conservancy – Spring Nature Festival

Architecture & Design – Sponsored by Ordiz-Melby Architects, A Professional Corporation

The completion of a brand-new interior and/or exterior building design integrating the environment with space and materials.

Beautiful You Medical Aesthetics – Beautiful You Medical Aesthetics opened in Bakersfield. Pam Alvarez and Jill Templeton designed its interiors. The clinic donates to numerous charities and raises funds for scholarships.

The nominees in this category included: 

  • Kaiser Permanente Dermatology Clinic

Renovation & Tenant Improvement – Sponsored by Vecchio’s Pizzeria and Gelateria

The completion of a renovated design that upgrades an existing structure and/or incorporates landscaping to enhance the property’s aesthetic value.

The Mission at Kern County – The Mission at Kern County remodeled its Homeless Interventions Services building in East 21st St. It provides a safe place for clients to meet with mental health professionals and medical staff. The building has additional space for offices and beds and is also a day and cooling center.

The nominees in this category included: 

  • Brickyard Downtown
  • CLTV Gyms 

Urban Revitalization – Sponsored by City Councilman Andrae Gonzales

An individual, business or organization that has made a meaningful contribution in the past year to placemaking, reimagining how we live, work and play.

Sage Equities – The Cue – Sage Equities opened The Cue at Eastchester Flats, a 49-unit market-rate multifamily development at 1800 Q Street in Downtown Bakersfield. Sage Equities aims to transform the downtown landscape by demonstrating the market demand for a luxury urban lifestyle in Bakersfield. The goal is to attract and retain a professional workforce seeking community and connection in a walkable urban setting.

The nominees in this category included: 

  • Children First
  • 2023 Leadership Bakersfield’s Team 3

Arts & Culture – Sponsored by County of Kern

Efforts by a group or individual to improve and/or enhance the arts and culture within our community.

Kern Dance Alliance – Kern Dance Alliance (KDA) received a $4.2 million grant and awarded it to 11 local recipients. Additionally, they conducted their seventh annual “Books in Motion” program, inspiring children to use local libraries. They also concluded their eighth “Shine for Girls: Dance + Math = Success” class, which combines dance and math instruction to improve math skills. These programs elevate the Bakersfield community and support artists.

The nominees in this category included: 

  • Bakersfield Museum of Art
  • Erica Ueberroth
  • Notorious Bakersfield
  • Zane Adamo (The Soda Crackers)
At the Beautiful Bakersfield Awards, Valerie Hashim and her husband Chuck celebrated their contributions to Bakersfield’s arts and culture scene. Valerie, the mother of Andrea Hansen and a founding member of the Kern Dance Alliance, was celebrated alongside her husband (Andrea’s father) on the anniversary of their first date. This special evening coincided with the 50th anniversary of their wedding. Their love story began at the Civic Auditorium (now the Mechanics Bank Theater and Arena) in 1968, where they saw Jimi Hendrix perform. The event was a beautiful tribute to their enduring love,and their family joined them to make it a truly memorable evening.  

Education – Sponsored by California Resources Corporation

Efforts by an educator, project or school/college that promotes or benefits education in our city at all levels.


Do the Math – Do the Math continued its television segments like “Robots at Work” and “Tools of Mathematics” to teach math to students and show that math is utilized in numerous career industries. Industry partners shared their expertise, offering an inside look at careers in Kern County. These segments foster a deeper understanding of the math curriculum and help prepare students for the workforce.

The nominees in this category included: 

  • Bakersfield Museum of Art
  • CSUB, School of Natural Sciences, Mathematics, and Engineering Grants and Outreach 

Health – Sponsored by Heart Vascular and Leg Center

An individual, group or organization impacting healthy living – above and beyond their normal scope of activities – through education, prevention or medical services.

Kern Medical – Kern Medical unveiled its new pediatrics unit on the 4th floor of the main campus hospital, offering state-of-the-art services for the children of the Bakersfield community. Kern Medical also opened the Q Street Imaging Center in East Bakersfield, focusing on women’s imaging services. The new facility houses state-of-the-art equipment that can provide CT scans, ultrasounds, mammography, bone density, x-ray services, and more.

The nominees in this category included: 

  • Acoustic Remedies Program
  • Adventist Health AIS Cancer Center
  • Ashton Chase  
  • Bakersfield College Edible Education Garden
  • Niesha Davis

Humanitarian Individual – Sponsored by Dignity Health – Bakersfield Memorial Hospital 

An individual whose personal volunteer efforts have significantly impacted the community.


Odessa Perkins – Odessa Perkins, founder of emPOWERment Dess Perkins Foundation and a dedicated champion against human trafficking, poured her heart into uplifting the Bakersfield community. From organizing the “Warm Their Soles” Sock Drive to supporting at-risk youth at The Blvd, Odessa’s actions radiate warmth and compassion. Her efforts include creating lasting memories, like the Magic Mountain Trip for Youth, and healing experiences like spa days for survivors. Her role in passing SB14 reflects her dedication to protecting vulnerable children and fostering a safer, more caring community.

The nominees in this category included: 

  • Bianca Haynes
  • Judy Goad
  • Kathy Shank Bess
  • Madison Garrett
  • Traco Matthews
  • Zoe Gudino

Humanitarian Group – Sponsored by Chevron 

A group whose personal volunteer efforts have significantly impacted the community.

Noel Alexandria Foundation – The Noel Alexandria Foundation offered complimentary educational, emotional and financial assistance to families impacted by pregnancy and infant loss. In 2023, the Foundation procured more than 600 comfort kits, engaged with over 500 families during their annual 5K run/walk and memorial event, and granted $11,688 to families through their memorial fund to assist with funeral expenses.

The nominees in this category included: 

  • Leadership Bakersfield’s Team 3 
  • Sleepy Baby Box Foundation
  • Stockdale Moose Lodge
  • Stockdale High School National Honor Society
  • Transitional Youth Mobilizing for Change

Small Business of the Year – Sponsored by Bank of America 

A small business (25 employees or less) whose contributions and/or products and services instill community pride.

The Playful Space – The Playful Space hosted creative collaborations, workshops and community events to promote self-discovery, connection, and playful exploration. It is committed to using creativity and play as a catalyst for healing. The founders believe that when individuals heal, the community heals, and when communities heal, the world heals.

The nominees in this category included: 

  • Citryn Marketing
  • Inovia Pharmacy
  • PorkChop & Bubba’s BBQ
  • Rainbow Restoration of Bakersfield
  • Small Business Celebration

Large Business/Corporation of the Year – Sponsored by City of Bakersfield

The recognition of a large business (26 employees or more) whose volunteer hours and/or financial donations have made a meaningful difference.

Valley Strong Credit Union – Valley Strong Credit Union donated over $2 million and 6,000 volunteer hours to support initiatives such as financial literacy programs for over 7,000 students. Their leaders are deeply involved, serving on the boards of 50+ organizations. Through innovative programs like Zogo and “Bite of Reality,” they empowered thousands with essential financial skills. Their dedication goes beyond banking, aiming to empower future generations and turn financial possibilities into realities.

The nominees in this category included:

  • Access Plus Capital
  • Bank of America
  • Bristol Hospice Bakersfield
  • Global Clean Energy
  • KGET-TV 17 News

Small Nonprofit of the Year – Sponsored by Kern Health Systems

A 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that reported under $100K in taxable income and had a positive impact on the community.


CSF Medical Non-Profit Foundation – The CSF Medical Non-Profit Foundation improved the health outcomes of marginalized individuals by providing healthcare services, personalized attention, medical follow-ups, diagnostics, and surgery. The foundation positively impacted 9,117 residents through its Annual “Sharing the Hope” Community Wellness Health Fair, food distributions, health education sessions, and aid for the uninsured.

The nominees in this category included:

  • Agricultural Family Fund
  • Apple Core Project
  • Charmed & Chosen
  • Oildale Community Action Team

Large Nonprofit of the Year– Sponsored by Kern Community Foundation 

A 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that reported over $100K in taxable income and had a positive impact on the community.


Bakersfield Angels – Bakersfield Angels matched 71 foster families with volunteers through their “Love Box” program and 129 foster youth with mentors through their “Dare to Dream” program. These programs match foster families and individuals with volunteers who help guide and support their foster care journeys, providing them with someone to lean on and advocate for them.  

The nominees in this category included:

  • Amelia Molloy’s Angels
  • Church Without Walls
  • Children First
  • R.M. Pyles Boys Camp
  • Tigerfight Foundation
  • Valley Center for the Blind
  • Youth 2 Leaders Education Foundation

Next Gen – Sponsored by Kern County Superintendent of Schools
An individual or group in grades K-12 that, through personal involvement and endeavors, has answered the challenge of good citizenship.

Katie Johnson – Katie Johnson served as her school’s Associated Student Body President and was a leader of the Black Student Union, Bible Club, and Drama Club. She organized food drives, distributed toys at Christmas events, and supported seniors. Her dedication led to her receiving the President’s Volunteer Award for contributing over 300 hours of community service. With a 4.2 GPA and three college degrees, she is dedicated to promoting diversity, equity and inclusion in her community.

The nominees in this category included: 

  • Braya Stotler
  • Carter Beardsley
  • Gisselle Guerrero
  • Javen Freeborn

Young Professional – Sponsored by Clifford & Bradford Insurance Agency

An individual, age 18-40, whose efforts truly impact and enhance the quality of life in the community.

Fatima “Teems” Tulfo – Fatima Tulfo, also known as “Teems,” led Kern County’s Official Giving Day campaign, Give Big Kern, which raised $965,893 and secured 10,799 volunteer hours for 137 local nonprofits. She also initiated the first Give Big at the Park event, directly connecting over 60 nonprofits with the community. She managed various funds that benefit the local community, focusing on educational attainment, capacity-building grants, and environmental preservation.

The nominees in this category included:

  • Cherrity Ricks
  • Dr. Fernando Garcia III
  • Karina Funez
  • Mitchall Patel

Business Person of the Year – Sponsored by Grapevine MSP, LLC

A local business owner/manager whose efforts truly impact and enhance the quality of life in the community.

Larissa Mitchell – Larissa Mitchell, the founder of In The Black Business Services, sponsored local organizations such as the NAACP and the Kern County Black Chamber of Commerce. She empowered businesses and youth through financial literacy workshops and mentorship programs. Larissa’s efforts in supporting entrepreneurial education for 7th-12th graders fostered critical thinking and problem-solving skills, to help build a stronger, more financially savvy community.

Harvey L. Hall Lifetime Achievement – Sponsored by Hall Ambulance Service

A local, long-time community leader, age 55 and over, who has made a lasting impact on Bakersfield and its residents.

Patsy Romero – Patsy Romero was dedicated to our community’s fight against cancer and tobacco-related harm. Her accomplishments were evidence of her perseverance, limitless dedication, and deep affection for her community. Motivated by selflessness and genuine concern for others, she poured her heart into the quest for a cancer cure. Her tireless commitment garnered her widespread acclaim and multiple awards. Patsy’s passionate advocacy to shield young people from the grip of big tobacco fueled her relentless pursuit of a local tobacco retailer’s permit for Bakersfield—a cause she championed for over 15 years. She recently passed away, her husband accepted the award on her behalf.

The nominees in this category inlcuded:

  • Dean McGee
  • Maryann Paciullo
  • Dr. Richard Casteen
  • Dr. Royce H. Johnson
  • Stan Moe

Chairman’s Award

As a finale to the evening, the Chairman of the Board of Directors, Rob Duchow, presented the coveted Chairman’s Award. This award is chosen by the Chamber’s Board of Directors from among all submissions and given to the nominee recognized for overall excellence.

Night to Shine – Night to Shine Bakersfield hosted its annual prom for people with special needs, ages 14 and older. The event featured a red carpet entrance, free dinner, karaoke, dancing, games, professional prom photos, limo rides, and crowns for all guests. They also provided a pampering experience for over 300 parents, including dinner, massages, and manicures. Last year’s Night to Shine, attended by 245 guests and their chaperones, celebrated this wonderful community, making them feel like kings and queens.

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