Young San Diego County leaders recognized for service to community

Pierson Cepeda, Assistant Web & Social Media Manager


CSUSM, partnered with the San Diego Foundation, hosted 25 & Under: Young Leaders to recognize individuals and projects that have positively impacted and served the San Diego community.

This event was hosted at U-Hour on Feb. 18 in the USU Ballroom and brought three young leaders together to discuss their personal projects that will impact the future of San Diego.

Nitya Timalsina, Francisco “Panchito” Martinez and CSUSM student Sean Griser comprised the list of guest speakers.

Each of the speakers gave presentations giving background information on the important issues they sought to address and explained their respective projects.

Sean Griser of CSUSM’s undergraduate class of 2016 was recognized for his work as a Service Learning student volunteering at Sunshine Care, an assisted living community focused on Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Griser developed music therapy for Alzheimer’s and dementia patients.

“The parts of the brain associated with processing music are the last to go,” said Griser.

Griser’s music therapy involves speaking to patients about the music they remember and individualizing playlists for them. His presentation included clips of his patients singing songs from their playlists and recalling memories of those songs.

Part of Griser’s mission is encouraging young caregivers to help what he calls “hidden communities.”

Martinez, the second speaker, emphasized another one of these “hidden communities” in his presentation.

He is a graduate from the Barrio Logan College Institute (BLCI), a program that aims to help underprivileged students obtain a college education. Having entered the program in the fourth grade, he now works with the program as a Leadership Program Specialist.

Martinez and other BLCI leaders have developed the Executive Director’s Leadership Council (EDLC), which strives to bring out the leadership qualities in their members.

The final guest speaker of the event was Timalsina, founder of One Step Projects (OSP).

“I wanted to create change,” said Timalsina.

OSP seeks to resolve environmental issues of communities with poor living conditions. A project that they have been working on involves helping the village of Badegaun develop sustainable earthquake-proof practices.

These sustainable practices are achieved by helping young minds put their technical and engineering skills into action. Theses practices are then tailored to a specific community by identifying the particular problems of each respective community.

Following the presentations, the speakers held a Q&A session.

Subjects covered during the session included the struggles the young leaders encountered on the way to their successes, what leadership looks like and why they each focused on vulnerable populations.

Each of the speakers agreed that every person has the potential to be a leader. The young leaders also encouraged young people in attendance to get involved, make a difference and have a lasting impact on their community.

“San Diego will be the hub of social entrepreneurship,” said Timalsina.