Teen receives $36K award

Joshua Toch

Live Oak High School graduate Joshua Toch—who will attend UC Berkeley in the fall—was named one of only 10 nationwide recipients of the prestigious 2014 Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Awards for his participation in a student-run, anti-bullying initiative.
Toch—who served as the LOHS Associated Body Vice President for the Class of 2014—was selected June 30 through a program titled Mind Before Mouth, a group of five speakers who share their past experiences dealing with teen issues and helping others become more aware of their words and the impact they may have. The group traveled to more than seven schools and has helped empower 3,000 teens with moving speeches, according to a press release from the Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Awards organizers.
Born with cerebral palsy, the 17-year-old Morgan Hill resident visited local schools to speak out about the impact that bullying has on others. For his efforts, Toch will receive a $36,000 award that recognizes teens for their commitment to social good and volunteer service.
Toch was one of five California teens to be recognized, according to the press release. Now in its eighth year, the Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Awards has given nearly $2 million to 55 Jewish teens who are tackling global issues and creating lasting change through tikkun olam—the vision of Bay Area philanthropist Helen Diller and The Helen Diller Family Foundation.
Toch, whose disability impacts his speech and fine motor coordination, was also the Morgan Hill Chamber of Commerce’s 2014 Student of the Year and a recipient of a Rotary Club of Morgan Hill general scholarship.
Last year, Toch was selected to attend the American Legion Boys Nation 2013—an annual conference in which 98 young leaders from 49 states receive an education on the structure and function of federal government. As a representative for the state of California at the Washington, D.C. conference, Toch—who was the first ever to represent Gilroy’s American Legion Post 217—met President Barack Obama, Senator Dianne Feinstein and other senior officials of the U.S. government in the nation’s Capitol.

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