San Mateo County

San Mateo County Recognizes Tongan Woman For Anti-Gang Work

San Mateo County recognized eight individuals and organizations for their contributions to the community.

As an impressionable kid, Lisa Tatola-Joachim knew her life could have gone differently.

She credits community members’ support for getting her through school and on the right path.

Now, as an adult, she’s been recognized by San Mateo County for her countless hours spent giving back that same support to her community.

Tatola-Joachim has been involved with the Tongan Interfaith Council, an organization created to respond to gang violence among youth in San Mateo and San Bruno, and now works for the San Mateo Police Activities League after volunteering for various community initiatives.

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On a day-to-day, she can be found advocating for various efforts of the Peninsula Conflict Resolution Center, working on an annual violence prevention conference, or contributing to other programs and associations that support San Mateo County's high school and college students.

She says she likes to see people in the community, whether doctors, teachers or police officers, asking questions about why people do certain things and try to facilitate an understanding between one another.

An ‘Unsung Hero’

A quiet evening outside, but an undeniable energy inside, a room inside the Mills-Peninsula Medical Center was absolutely brimming with music, laughter and applause on Sept. 22 for the county’s first annual "Heroes of San Mateo County" award to recognize members of the Asian and Pacific Islander community.

With every seat filled and many standing in the back and near the lobby, the crowd gave a resounding applause to Tatola-Joachim when she stood up.

As an active volunteer and advocate for churches, councils and ground level organizations, Tatola-Joachim was recognized by her community as a valuable leader.

"It makes it easier to give when you're doing something that you enjoy," Tatola-Joachim said. “I wanted to give those opportunities that I had back to the kids that I work with.”

The awards were sponsored by the Peninsula Conflict Resolution Center and the Office of San Mateo County Supervisor Carole Groom.

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