Les Tupper awards

Mike Leininger, Pat Anderson, Heather Haaga, Andrea Klein, Talia Bernhard and Joel Peterson are recipients of the Les Tupper Award at Descanso Gardens in La Canada Flintridge on Monday, May 6, 2013. (Tim Berger / Staff Photographer / May 6, 2013)

Two young women who attend La Cañada High School and aspire to work in the healthcare industry are to be honored with other active community volunteers at the Les Tupper Awards next week.

Honored this year are Huntington Hospital volunteer Andrea Klein; fellow high school junior and Honor Court member Talia Bernhard; school board member Joel Peterson; La Cañada Chamber of Commerce President Pat Anderson; Mike Leininger, La Cañada Community Center and Tournament of Roses volunteer; Heather Haaga, who helped renovate a section of Descanso Gardens; and the Friends of the La Cañada Flintridge Library.

Klein and Bernhard are both juniors at La Cañada High. Klein, 17, volunteers in the Labor and Delivery Department at Huntington Hospital. After two summers at John Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth, she said she could see herself working in epidemiology one day.

For her Girl Scout Gold project, Klein knitted blankets and raised money for Glendale's Ascencia Homeless Shelter. Her volunteer resume also lists involvement in Girls on the Run, Temple Sinai of Glendale and the Glendale YWCA.

"It's very exciting to be recognized for all the volunteering I do because it's such a big part of my life," she said. "It's nice to know people are noticing."

Bernhard, 16, expanded a science program at La Cañada High that pairs high schoolers with elementary-age students. She was named president of the Teach Science Initiative and took the program to the Boys & Girls Club of Pasadena.

Bernhard also sees a future in healthcare policy or management and was humbled to be honored with an award for her community service. "La Cañada is pretty community-service based, so there are so many people who commit to the city and do service work," she said. "To be honored among the hundreds of kids that already do service projects I thought was pretty cool."

Peterson has served on the La Cañada Unified School Board since 2005. Over the past few years, he has also served on the boards of the Community Center of La Cañada Flintridge, the Chamber of Commerce and the Verdugo Hills Hospital Foundation.

He launched an internship program at the chamber, which he said has grown into a "great success." He is happy to have been involved in an initiative that will have an "ongoing positive legacy," he added.

As president of the Chamber of Commerce for a decade, Anderson updates the growing directory of local businesses and is a familiar face at community events.

"I am happy to serve the businesses and citizens of La Cañada Flintridge as we all work together to maintain the desirability of [the city] as a place to live, do business and raise a family," she said in an email.

Leininger is hands-on volunteer who has worked on the roof at the Community Center and on the city's Tournament of Roses floats. He has worked for the school district for 26 years and currently serves as assistant superintendent for facilities and operations.

It's easy to become involved in volunteering in La Cañada, said Leininger, and "very rewarding to see the award-winning float on New Year's Day, to see the joy on people's faces when working with Kiwanis, when seeing the Community Center busy with patrons and when helping the St. Bede community."

During her time as the first woman president of the Crescenta-Cañada YMCA board, Haaga initiated a campaign that led to the renovation of the recreation facility. At Descanso Gardens, where she also sat on the board, a donation from her family helped create the Sturt Haaga Gallery.

"Our family has always been firm believers that communities stay strong only when people give back … both by participation and financial support," Haaga said in an email. "At the end of the day, the most important thing is to make a difference and to strive to make institutions critical to the community (like the Y and Descanso) even better."

Friends of the La Cañada Library President Rosemary Hook is expected to accept the award for the organization.

Established in 1982, the organization fights to keep the library open and resources available during years when funding is tight. The library started with 71 books and 16 borrowers and now has more than 75,000 items, said Hook. Nearly 32,000 people are registered to borrow materials, she added.

The La Cañada Flintridge Coordinating Council recognizes residents and organizations every year who have donated their time to helping others. The ceremony, held at Jet Propulsion Laboratory's von Karman Auditorium, begins at 7 p.m. on Monday, May 13. The awards are named for Leslie C. Tupper, a man who moved to the city in 1954 and served as a member of the school board, the La Cañada Chamber of Commerce's board and as president of the Coordinating Council.

For more information on the awards ceremony, visit www.lcfcc.info.

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