Andy Bonzi was completely surprised when he was told that Sunnyside United-Unidos was awarding him the Impact Award for empowering and impacting the youth of Sunnyside.
Bonzi is the business owner of Bonzi’s, which has a unique storefront offering everything for skateboard enthusiasts to providing the community postal shipping services. Bonzi is also known for his work putting together community events such as a yearly Easter egg hunt and occasional skate sessions.
“I was completely taken aback by the recognition. It is a fun acknowledgement for some of the work we do,” Bonzi cheerfully expressed.
Sunnyside United-Unidos awards the Impact Award quarterly each year. The process begins with nominations being submitted during coalition meetings, which the public is invited to participate in, followed by the executive board voting to award the chosen nominee.
“Our executive board decided to create this award two years ago to highlight people in our community that really go out of their way with positive actions that empower and influence our youth,” explained Brenda Barrios, Community Coalition Program Specialist for Sunnyside United-Unidos.
“We live in a rural town and many people feel that there is nothing to do here. We want to recognize individuals, golden stars, of our community that advocate for positive change and influence in the community,” Barrios further expressed.
Looking to the future, Bonzi’s eyes are focused on continuing to impact the community positively. He sees the potential of community events building to something much larger.
“I would love to see the skate park built. We have been having festivals downtown like the ale fest and it all felt like these little fires were igniting something larger,” Bonzi said optimistically.
With the COVID-19 pandemic, many events and fundraising for events have come to a halt. Bonzi realizes that things may be bleak for events at the moment, however, it’s only a momentary pause.
“This pandemic really has made us lose two years for fundraising and event planning. But it’s just a pause, things will come back.”
With more community advocacy to do, Bonzi keeps his eyes on the future inspired by the community.
“I love this community. I have been here for over 20 years, raised my family here, have my business here. This is home and we like to make the best of it.”