The Malibu Dolphin Charitable Foundation announces 2021 winners

The Dolphin Award winners for 2021 have been announced by the Malibu Dolphin Charitable Foundation, the nonprofit organization founded by the former owners of The Malibu Times, Arnold and Karen York.

Dolphin recipients receive their awards in the spring of the year following their service. 

“The Dolphin Award recipients for 2021 represent a diverse group of individuals and organizations who have provided invaluable services to Malibu in almost every area imaginable,” Karen York wrote. ”We are so very fortunate to enjoy the contributions and dedication of so many. This is the magic that makes our community so very special!”

Awards are given in a number of categories.

The Harvey Baskin Award for business will be given to local attorney Ian Roven, who was nominated for assisting many nonprofits, residents, and groups pro bono during the pandemic. He served as past chair and current board member of the Malibu Chamber of Commerce; and has given his time to emcee and chair the Malibu Chamber Women’s Leadership Awards and other events.  

Community Service Awards were won by Marie Zweig and Stacey Rouse.

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Rouse is head of Malibu Schools Leadership Council (MSC), which brings all the groups that support Malibu public schools together for coordination, support, advice, and joint action. She’s also on the Malibu Facilities District Advisory Committee, which has the final say on how millions of dollars in Malibu bond money is spent; and served as PTA president at Webster Elementary.

Zweig is retiring after this school year after a lifetime of service to youth and high school athletics. As a Malibu High School athletic trainer, she “has been a constant presence for all boys’ and girls’ sports at all levels of play for MHS for many years,” the nomination said. “In this role, she has cared for thousands of our young people and has been a reassuring presence for parents.” 

Two Malibu realtors will receive “Malibu Business Leaders” awards: Meril May and Susan Monus.

May was nominated for “tirelessly advocating” on various issues to improve quality and safety in Malibu for almost two decades. He served as president of the Malibu Association of Realtors in 2014, was on the board for 13 years, and served as a volunteer leader at the MLS and California Association of Realtors. Outside of work, May was public safety commissioner from 2012-16 and participates in the Adopt-A-Highway program.

Monus has been a top Malibu real estate agent for 32 years. She generously gives back to the community, and in 2010 was honored by the “A Place Called Home” nonprofit. In addition, she has donated 675 smiles to Operation Smile over the years, receiving the John Connor Humanitarian Award in 2017. And, among the many other charities she supports, are a number right here in Malibu: The Special Education Foundation, Malibu Urgent Care, Malibu Community Labor Exchange, Children’s Lifesaving Foundation, Point Dume and Juan Cabrillo elementary schools, the Shark Fund, Hand in Hand, and the Emily Shane Foundation.

The Lifetime Service award goes to Sister Mary Pendergast, a native of Ireland with the Sisters of St. Louis order, who spent many years serving at Our Lady of Malibu. Her nomination praised her for volunteering at school and church-sponsored events throughout the years. She is a Eucharistic minister and brought Holy Communion to sick and homebound patients.

This year’s Town and Gown award goes to the Pepperdine Ambassadors Council (PAC), which exists to serve as a link between the student body of Pepperdine and the Malibu community, and between the administration and students. They represent all Pepperdine students at official university events. Pepperdine Ambassadors, students with full academic, service and social obligations, have unselfishly, graciously, and competently consistently made themselves available to assist in multiple community activities and nonprofit organizations in Malibu whenever called upon. 

The Animal Welfare Dolphin has been awarded to Jimy Tallal for her 20 years of volunteer work with local wildlife — about half that time with a facility and about half that time on her own property (all activities licensed by state Fish & Wildlife). She has participated in the rescue, rehabilitation and release of many local species, everything from sea lions to bobcats to red-tailed hawks to pelicans. 

Education Heroes — Principals Melisa Andino of Malibu Middle School and Patrick Miller of Malibu High School — are receiving their Dolphin Awards, according to the nomination, for being the “Captains at the helm of their respective ships through multiple once-in-a-lifetime storms. First, there was the Woolsey Fire … with many students severely impacted by residential displacement and loss. Then there was the COVID-19 pandemic with … the challenges of mastering, for a prolonged period, the ‘Zoom classroom’ and the accompanying academic, social, psychological challenges and the efforts to return to onsite learning with its ever-changing series of mandates, requirements, rules and guidelines … Both of these top educational professionals provided the leadership to students, parents and the community which was so desperately needed during this unprecedented and difficult time.”

Woolsey Fire Heroes Kristen Crowley and Hollyn Bullock, using nothing but garden hoses and buckets, spent over 12 hours saving eight houses on Avenida de la Encinal from some of the worst flames of the Woolsey Fire. Bullock’s mother lives on that street, and the two off-duty firefighters from LAFD came on their own time with old protective equipment, and saved the day for many Malibu residents. 

Dolphin Youth Awardees Emily Pablo, Sharlene Diaz, and Irina Columbeanu are all members of the Boys & Girls Club of Malibu, and were nominated by that nonprofit organization.

Among her many attributes, Pablo will be the next president of the Education Foundation Club. She encourages peers to be open to diverse ways of thinking, partakes in many programs at BGCM, and facilitates conversations on the benefits of a drug-free life.

Diaz, while only a sophomore at MHS, sets an example for her peers by competing in multiple events for the varsity track and field team while also being a star student. At BGCM, she’s a leader in Brent’s Club and Leaders-in-Training.  

Columbeanu, while only a freshman at MHS, has already is a multi-sport athlete who also serves as Brent’s Club president, is a star student, and advocates for inclusivity. She participates in a wide range of activities at MHS and BGCM; and was the only ninth-grader nominated for the 2022 Youth of the Year at BGCM. 

This year, the Malibu Dolphin Charitable Foundation Board Members reviewed and made their selection from a multitude of nominations — each nominee worthy of Dolphin Award consideration — and while the process was difficult, it was inspiring as well. Board members are Karen and Arnold York, Scott Tallal, Terry Adamson, Gail Wilburn, Heidi Bernard, Craig Foster, Kasey Earnest, and Hayley and Nic Mattson.

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