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National Honor for On Track Founders

October 21, 1998|GREG HERNANDEZ

The co-founders of Orange County On Track, a group dedicated to celebrating cultural diversity and reducing crime, will be honored this week in Washington with the President's Service Award from the Points of Light Foundation, the organization announced Tuesday.

Terry Thompson and Claire Braeburn, who are mother and daughter, will receive medallions from President Clinton during a ceremony Friday at the White House. They leave for Washington today.

"We're just thrilled," said Thompson. "We didn't believe it at first and thought it just couldn't be real. We feel very honored to have been chosen."

The award, established in 1982, honors people and groups who participate in voluntary community service addressing unmet human, service, educational, environmental and safety needs.

On Track aims to empower fourth-, fifth- and sixth-graders by teaming them with high school mentors for afternoons of conflict resolution training, tutoring and sports.

The organization, now in its fourth year, also publishes a free magazine, On Track, which features profiles of everyday heroes and provides information on teens, adults and organizations. In addition, it has founded On Track Teen Council clubs on high school campuses, where students meet to discuss cultural awareness and debate issues related to violence.

The presidential award came as a result of a nomination by Orange County Superior Court Judge David O. Carter, a member of the group's honorary board of directors.

"I thought their focus was in the right place and that they were very committed people who were genuinely interested in the youth of Orange County," Carter said Tuesday.

The judge said he was most impressed with the group's proactive approach in trying to reach kids while they are in elementary school through the help of high school peers who sometimes "seem to have as much influence as parents hope to have."

"I believe I will see less young criminals coming to my courts because of the long-term impact Terry and Claire will have on youth," Carter said.

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