2017-02-16 / Schools

Student receives MLK award

By Stephanie Bertholdo

Bjorn Yearwood Bjorn Yearwood Bjorn Yearwood, a Calabasas High School senior, received a surprise when he was chosen to be honored by the MLK Committee of Ventura County Jan. 16 during the 31st annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration in Oxnard.

Bjorn also received certificates of appreciation from representatives of the state Legislature and U.S. Congress.

The Martin Luther King Jr. Committee was established in 1986 to keep the spirit of King’s work alive and to celebrate his dream by recognizing residents who strive for and achieve positive change by volunteering and through activism.

Bjorn fits the bill. The teen, who is a member of the CHS Academy of Media and Entertainment, is active at school and in the community. Although he doesn’t consider himself an activist, he believes in the value of volunteering and helping wherever needed.

For instance, Bjorn serves as a Link Crew volunteer to help freshmen transition from middle to high school. In class he produced a documentary with other students that focuses on activism.

This year he produced a series of public service announcements for the Thirst Project, a nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing safe drinking water to communities throughout the world.

Bjorn also works as a gymnastics coach, and his work with a child who has autism inspired his school counselor, David Rivas, to highlight the senior’s work in a college admissions letter.

“Through his compassion and dedication to this student, Bjorn was able to get him to participate and enjoy the sport of gymnastics,” Rivas wrote.

Closer to home, Bjorn helped a woman in Hidden Hills who was thrown from her horse last April and hit a fence before landing on the ground.

“Naturally I immediately climbed over the fence to help her,” the teen said in an email to The Acorn.

“I sat by her side and prayed for her health as my mom tried to call the woman’s friends,” Bjorn said. But months went by before he and his family found out what had happened.

“She told us that she had broken all of her ribs, had a broken vertebra and a punctured lung that was slowly filling up with blood,” Bjorn said of the accident. “She told us that the doctor said that had I not (helped) her when she fell off of her horse . . . she would’ve died on that horse path. This event made my entire family and I feel so happy that we were able to help this woman and that we happened to be in the right place at the right time.”

Bjorn said being honored by the MLK Committee came as “quite a shock.”

“I was beyond excited to be receiving this recognition,” he said. “I didn’t even expect the extra recognition from the state Legislature and the U.S. Congress. It really gave me a confidence boost and let me know that whatever I am doing is working. I am proud to be a part of my community, and I will continue to serve it well.”

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