Rotary International Recognizes Golden Valley High School Teacher Jennifer Yamauchi 

Educator Receives Highest Honor Bestowed Upon Non-Rotarians

Jennifer Yamauchi, a teacher from Golden Valley High School in Bakersfield, was recognized today with the Award for Excellence in Service to Humanity, the highest honor Rotary International bestows upon any non-Rotarian.  Fewer than 550 people around the globe each year are recognized with the award, making Yamauchi, one of a relative few world-wide that receive the highly-regarded honor.

Jennifer Yamauchi (or “Ms. Yammy” as her students call her), subscribes to the ideals of Rotary and passes those on to her Interact students, the next generation of leaders and community service volunteers.  Interact is a type of “junior Rotary” that brings together students between the ages of 12 and 18 years of age to foster leadership skills and a spirit of Service Above Self.  

The Golden Valley Interact Club is sponsored by Bakersfield Breakfast Rotary Club (BBRC), which assists the students in their service projects and also includes them in Rotary efforts as well.

A year ago, Yamauchi’s service and commitment caught the attention of Rotary district leadership.  

Sandi Schwartz, 2018-19 District Governor of Rotary District 5240 (which covers four Southern California counties, including Kern County), nominated Yamauchi for the Rotary International award because “she exemplifies the ideals Rotary is based on,” she said.  “Jennifer also also has small children at home and she could easily use that excuse to not devote so much time to Rotary. Still, she not only donates her time and talent, so does so with enthusiasm and heart.”

In her role at Golden Valley, Yamauchi leads a cadre of 100-plus students in their activities which include serving meals to low-income residents, road clean-up days, and helping at community events. 

 Yamauchi also volunteers as an Instructor at the four-day Rotary Youth Leadership Academy (RYLA), and she is a leader with the Kern Youth Empowerment Summit (Kern YES) for students from throughout the county.  She also serves as an instructor at the Simi Valley YES Program.