2019 Bridges Over Awardees

Ms. Carolyn Cooper

Bridges Over Health

Coping with the Odds, A Mother’s/Grandmother’s Story

A parent of three children, one was emotionally disabled, and one was developmentally disabled. In 1993, she mounted a campaign to get special education services for her incarcerated son that was hard for prison officials to ignore. As a mother and grandparent of children with disabilities, Carolyn Cooper has fought hard to get services they needed to live in the community.

Personal experience has made Ms. Cooper an expert on health, education and the legal systems that often failed to meet the needs of children with emotional and behavioral difficulties. With a vision of helping other parents navigate those systems on behalf of their children, Ms. Cooper and two other mothers formed a non-profit organization in 1993 called United Advocates for Children of California (now called United Advocates for Children and Families of California). Although her children are now deceased, they live on in Ms. Cooper’s inner strength and resolve.

As a new member of the Mayfair Seventh-Day Adventist Church, Ms. Cooper presented her mission to her pastor, Dr. Lanston Sylvester. There is now a “Mental Wellness” ministry at Mayfair SDA Church. With 27 members, who have been trained for Mental Health first aid and four staff members with Ms. Cooper as Ministry Leader with three members trained to do “Parent Cafes”.

Pastor Ivie Gonsalves

Bridges Over Faith

Pastor Ivie Gonsalves, alongside her husband of 43 years, Pastor Frank Gonsalves, is Co-Founder and Co-Pastor of Harvest Church Ministries in Stockton, California. 

Her life’s enduring purpose is to love God, and love people, by any means necessary. As a testament to the fact that women can indeed take leadership roles professionally and in ministry, she is committed to the work of developing and nurturing the leader in other women, and to ultimately see them do the same for others, so the cycle may continue. As co-pastor of Harvest Church Ministries, she has been instrumental in launching several women’s ministry programs, a leadership development class series, a thriving music ministry (she is a trained musician and vocalist), and a robust health ministry focused on promoting healthy eating and active living, among other things. 

As a supporter of higher education and advancement, Ivie Gonsalves obtained a Master of Science degree in Speech-Language Pathology, certifications and credentials in Special Education and Administration. Her career in education spanning 25 years, provided her the opportunity to serve students and their families as a Language Speech and Hearing Specialist, Special Education Program Specialist, school site administrator, and finally as a Lodi Unified School District level management, where she oversaw the district’s health services program, speech and language services, and other special education services and student support services. She retired from the field of education to devote full-time to the increasing demands of ministry.

She aspires to see women be the leaders that God designed them to be, both in the church AND community, boldly and without reservation. She’s in the process of penning her first book, and looks forward to sharing it with the world soon.

Angela Phillips

Bridges Over Education

Angela Phillips is a mother, wife, minister, and educational leader. She began her career in 1994 as a school teacher with Stockton Unified School District. Over the next 25 years she worked in numerous classrooms, with Community based  organizations, and  with her congregation at the Open Door House of Prayer to make a positive impact on the lives of Stocktonians. She has joined forces with other community leaders to bring about change in our city and state – Gospel Rescue Mission, NAACP, PICO, Delta Sigma Theta, Be Smooth, Inc. Bread of Life, BEASUSD, and the Black Graduates Celebration.

Angela considers herself a servant leader and has had the pleasure of leading and working in the community as a tutor, mentor, teacher, coach, principal, PTA President, Sunday School Teacher, Youth Ministry Director, Women’s Ministry Director, School Board President, board member for Bread of Life and Be Smooth, Inc., as well as founder of Girls Loving Our Worth (G.L.O.W.).

She believes her greatest accomplishment was raising for amazing children. Jordan, Janet, Jonathan, and Joycelyn with her loving husband, Henry. She is currently serving as Director of Education at TEAM Charter. One of her favorite quotes is ” If a child cannot learn in the way we teach, we must teach in a way the child can learn.”

Samuel “Sammy” Nuñez

Bridges Over Social Justice

Samuel Nuñez, founded Fathers & Families of San Joaquin 15 years ago as a catalyst for policy and systems change, reaching youth and families who are entangled in a complex web of systems that confine and hinder their human potential. Sammy has inspired national funders and cross-sector partners to lead with love and to invest in people as a primary tool for community transformation.


Program Awards

  • AAAWLC Scholarship – Alyssa Townsell 
  • Brandon Harrison Power and Purpose Scholarship – Abraham Garyeazon
  • Empowered Women of Excellence Award – Courtney Coleman 
  • Girls Loving Our Worth Award – Armena Finney

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