Recognizing character

Pleasanton Community of Character Collaborative gives out annual awards

Pleasanton's Community of Character Collaborative honored three individuals and a nonprofit organization at a luncheon Thursday with awards named for its founder and long-time school board member Juanita Haugen.

The recipients of this year's recognition were Chris Miller, Dr. Pushpa P. Dalai and Bob Athenour as well as the George A. Spiliotopoulos Invitational Tournament (GASIT), whose namesake was a well-known community businessman who owned the Cheese Factory in downtown Pleasanton.

DeRionne Pollard, president of Las Positas College, was the keynote speaker at the luncheon, which was held in the Pleasanton Senior Center.

The annual event recognizes local residents for their service to the community who are honored as role models of the Community of Character traits of: Responsibility, Compassion, Self Discipline, Honesty, Respect and Integrity. 

Award recipient Chris Miller is the founding chairman of the Pleasanton Military Families Support Group, which raises funds, collects supplies and sends hundreds of care packages to those in the military from Pleasanton who are serving in the Gulf and Afghanistan. He was also last year's "Man of the Year," an annual recognition by the Pleasanton Weekly which also sends the newspaper free of charge to the roster of service men and women designated by the Military Families group.

Dr. Dalal is being recognized today for her support of cancer patients and their families as the Vigil Volunteer Coordinator for Hope Hospice and as a volunteer for Axis Community Health. Besides providing pre-natal support to low income patients at Axis, she teaches volunteers hands on skills in helping families cope with a loved one who is dying.

Bob Athenour, who also was the recognized as Pleasanton Weekly's "Man of the Year" in 2001, is being honored by the Community of Character Collaborative for his years of service as a founder and board member of the Pleasanton/Tulancingo Sister City Association and as chairman of the Wheelchair Committee of the Rotary Club of Pleasanton, where he has been a member for 27 years. His group has provided more than 3,500 wheelchairs to those in need in Mexico and South America. 

GASIT was established 40 years ago to honor Spiliotopoulos and his dedication to the community. Since 1986, 190 Pleasanton students have been awarded scholarships totaling $742,950. With another $267,560 currently banked for pending scholarship commitments, the organization's Committee of Friends has raised more than $1,000,000.

"The Community of Character Collaborative is a non-profit organization of volunteers working together to create a Pleasanton community culture built on values, goodwill, and community-accepted traits," said Ellen Pensky, who chairs the organization.

More information is available online at

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Like this comment
Posted by Colette
a resident of Del Prado
on May 6, 2010 at 9:25 am

What a nice, positive article. With so much negativity in this world, it is so refreshing to hear about those who give so much to help others!

Like this comment
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on May 6, 2010 at 11:29 am

Very nice deserving folks! VIVA!

Like this comment
Posted by Nice Event
a resident of Rosewood
on May 6, 2010 at 2:52 pm

Attended and enjoyed the event. Enjoyed hearing about all four who were honored, especially about GASIT founder. Yes, all are very deserving.

Like this comment
Posted by W Ron Sutton
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 7, 2010 at 2:10 pm

The Community of Character Collaborative is the "non-PUSD" community organization founded by Juanita Haugen after the PUSD staff and students successfully implemented the "6 expected character traits" program into all of PUSD's schools.
The Community of Character Collaborative seeks to implement the programs in all of our community's businesses and organizations.
Contact the Collaborative at the web site:

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