Out of nearly half a million people to choose from in two counties to receive a special award from the state, California State Assemblyman Katcho Achadjian selected Allan Hancock College employee Terri Lee Coleman. The assemblyman awarded Coleman the 2016 Community Impact Award for the 35th Assembly District. The recognition acknowledged her exceptional volunteerism and countless contributions to the college and numerous non-profit organizations.

“I am humbled and honored to receive the award. I have the utmost respect and admiration for Assemblyman Katcho Achadjian,” said Coleman, who as an advancement specialist, pursues external grants, resources and partnerships to benefit students at Allan Hancock College.

Achadjian, who is closing out his third and final term as a state assemblyman, honored Coleman for her decades-long dedication to community involvement.

“There are few people that I have met who have the energy and community spirit that Terri Lee Coleman exhibits daily,” said Achadjian, who represents nearly half of Santa Barbara County and all of San Luis Obispo County. “Terri Lee can be found at most all of the community events benefiting families and children. She serves on the Boys & Girls Club and Santa Maria Police Council boards. She sat on the YMCA Board for 20 years and many others. She is always willing to make a difference in someone’s life.”

Coleman, an alumna of Allan Hancock College, started volunteering in the community more than 25 years ago. Since then, she has dedicated her time and energy to nearly one dozen civic and non-profit organizations that include Boys & Girls Club of Santa Maria Valley, California Women for Agriculture, Leadership Santa Maria Valley, Santa Maria Police Council, Santa Maria Valley YMCA and the Rotary Club of Santa Maria.

Coleman said a passion for helping others compels her to stay actively involved in the community.

“It is rewarding to know my efforts are making a significant impact. As an Allan Hancock College employee, I pledged to ‘change the odds’ for our students, and the commitment is universal for everything I do,” added Coleman, who has been recognized over the years by the Guadalupe City Council, Rotary Foundation of Rotary International, City of Santa Maria, Boys & Girls Club, Santa Maria Police Department, as well as the Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce.

For the last five years, Coleman focused on fulfilling the financial and resource needs of the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programs at Hancock. Starting in October, Coleman will join the college advancement team that aims to increase the understanding and support for the college through alumni relations, public and governmental relations and fundraising. In addition to pursuing grants on behalf of the Allan Hancock College Foundation, she will assess and identify the community’s agricultural needs. Coleman also will help recruit new members to the President’s Circle, a key group of community members whose donations provide additional support to Hancock students and programs.

“I have seen firsthand how the efforts of a few individuals can transform lives. I take every opportunity to be involved and encourage others to do the same. The Santa Maria Valley is a generous and giving community. I am blessed to be a part of making a difference in my hometown,” said Coleman.