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The 2nd Annual OceanLeaf Awards Celebration recognizes individuals who have helped to bridge the gap between the East African refugee community and greater San Diego

October 15, 2012 (San Diego)—Somali Family Service of San Diego is hosting the 2nd Annual OceanLeaf Awards Celebration to recognize the accomplishments of San Diego leaders who have contributed to the advancement of the Somali and East African refugee community in the city. The event celebrates the refugee journey to a new homeland (Ocean) and unity among cultures (Leaf).

There are an estimated 30,000 Somali and other East African refugees living in San Diego County. “San Diego has the second largest population of Somali and East African refugees in the entire nation,” said Ahmed Sahid, President and CEO of Somali Family Service (SFS). “So it’s very important that we are able to help the refugee community integrate into the larger San Diego community well.”

SFS works with a variety of community organizations, non-profit organizations and public offices to help address the unique needs of Somali and other East African refugees and immigrants. “It is very important to us that we work with other like-minded organizations to accomplish our goals,” Sahid added. “It takes combined efforts to see real progress and change happen.”

SFS will be honoring seven community champions at the OceanLeaf Awards on Wednesday, October 17, 2012. Awards are being given in areas such as health and well-being, leadership, innovation and opportunity. Award honorees include:

• Health and Well-Being Award: Bonnie Copland and Shukri Adam, County of San Diego Central Region Public Health Center

• Leadership Award: Agin Shaheed, San Diego Unified School District, The Race/Human Relations and Advocacy Program

• Opportunity Award: Murugi Kenyatta, Foundation for Women

• Innovation Award: Marjorie Blanchard, Ph.D.

• Spirit Award: Abdulkadir Mohamed

• Emerging Leader Award: Abdulmalik Buul and Ramla Sahid

The OceanLeaf Awards Celebration will take place from 6:00-9:00 p.m. on October 17, 2012 at the Jacobs Center Market Creek Plaza. Nancy Sasaki, Executive Director of the Alliance Healthcare Foundation, will be the keynote speaker. The event will include a reception, live entertainment and an awards dinner. The event is open to the public, and tickets can be purchased online at For further event information, contact Hana Mandikova, Event Manager, at or (619) 265-5821.


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