Sandy Banducci named winner of Jake Kuredjian Citizenship Award

Long-time Malibu resident and community volunteer Sandy Banducci was presented with the 2021 Jake Kuredjian Citizenship Award. Banducci passed away on July 3, 2019, and her daughter Amy Sabol accepted the award on her behalf. 

“It is my honor to accept the Jake Kuredjian Award on behalf of my amazing mom Sandy Banducci,” Sabol said on a City of Malibu YouTube announcement. “Serving the community of Malibu in her many roles with the Parks and Recreation program was so fulfilling and rewarding for my mom.” 

The Jake Kuredjian Citizenship Award is presented annually to an outstanding individual or group that gives their time and resources to enhance the quality of recreation programs for the Malibu community.

The award was created to honor Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy Hagop “Jake” Kuredjian, who was killed in the line of duty in 2001 after 17 years of service. Deputy Kuredjian was presented the Gold Meritorious Conduct Medal in 1989 for rescuing a woman from a cliff in Malibu. Past recipients have demonstrated a commitment to and involvement in recreation in Malibu and, in doing so, demonstrated the highest level of citizenship while making a lasting contribution to the community.

She was remembered as the face and heart of Malibu youth sports. Banducci oversaw children’s sports in many capacities for nearly five decades in Malibu. Her tenure interacting with families spanned generations, as children competing in youth sports some 40 years ago grew up and entered their own children into city-run programs.

“We’re so lucky to have her in our life, her life couldn’t be measured in years but rather in her impact that she had in her beloved city every day,” Sabol said. “It was her mission to bring joy, love and purpose to young people that participated in the youth sports programs for so many years. Her ultimate goal was to create an infinite ripple effect by doing as much good as she could possibly do each and every day.” 

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Banducci was a wedding planner and event coordinator at the Malibu West Swim Club for 25 years and oversaw family lifecycle events such as weddings, bar mitzvahs and parties of all kinds. Most Malibu residents knew her through the many sports programs she ran through the city, even before Malibu was incorporated. 

“It is wonderful to know that she was so appreciative for her many sacrifices,” Sabol said. “She was authenticity fulfilled by the countless relationships she built over the years. Anyone who knew her knew that that was her superpower … she always had her finger on the pulse of the town and genuinely wanted to make a difference.” 

Banducci was also recognized as an early Malibu Dolphin Award winner in 1992. The Dolphin Award is presented to local individuals and organizations who have made outstanding contributions to improving one or more aspects of Malibu’s community life.

“This award would have meant the world to her and our entire family is just so grateful that she is being recognized for the incredible person that she was,” Sabol said.

Rob LeMond was also presented with the award on Feb. 22, recognized for his five decades of teaching local children to swim. 

Samantha Bravo
Samantha Bravo
Samantha Bravo is an inspiring photojournalist based in Los Angeles California. She began her journalism career at Pierce College Media Arts Department. Twitter @samanthavbravo

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