13-year-old Jonas Corona from Long Beach California received the “Dynamic Youth Award” at the 16th annual Latino Spirit Awards in Sacramento on May 2nd.
“As the grandson of Mexican immigrants, I am very proud to represent our culture and be a part of this important day celebrating California’s Latino heritage,” said Jonas. The Latino Spirit Awards have taken place annually since 2002 at the State Capitol to recognize positive role models in the Latino community.
After meeting a homeless child on Los Angeles’ Skid Row at the age of 6, Jonas started his own charitable organization called Love in the Mirror, which provides disadvantaged youth and their families with basic necessities such as food, clothing and learning materials. Over 45,000 homeless people have been impacted by his fundraising and donations.
“Jonas is a role model for all students,” Mike MeCey, Coalition Manager for California Parents for Public Virtual Education (CPPVE), said. “He has demonstrated the importance of being active in the community and making a difference in the lives of others.”
Jonas wouldn’t be able to dedicate as much time as he has to raising money and helping others without California Virtual Academy (CAVA). His day-to-day activities often include attending meetings with homeless associations and various shelters.
“Online school allows Jonas the flexibility to go out and speak to students at schools and just have different hours to go to meetings,” Jonas’ mother, Renee Corona said. “If he had to go to a traditional school, it probably wouldn’t work.”
Jonas believes that everyone can make a difference, no matter how old they are. That is exactly what Jonas proves to the world every day, especially for students just like him.
“He truly is an inspiration to the thousands of online students who also seek to make a difference in their communities,” said McCey.
Jonas Corona with Senator Ricardo Lara (R)