Contact: Joe Vargo, Perris Public Information Officer
Phone: 951-956-2120
jvargo@cityofperris.org

Shelly Yarbrough Honored by the Community

Shelly Yarbrough discusses her Woman of Achievement honor with Riverside County YWCA President Rebeccah Goldware
Shelly Yarbrough discusses her Woman of Achievement honor with Riverside County YWCA President Rebeccah Goldware.

Longtime Perris community activist, business owner and school board member Shelly Yarbrough was hailed this week as a strong and decisive leader whose commitment has helped empower women and stamp out racism.

The event was a press conference featuring Yarbrough and five others named as “Women of Achievement” by the YWCA of Riverside County. The six answered questions from print and electronic media representatives, talked about their life stories and accomplishments and spoke of their dreams for the future.

Later, Yarbrough was the subject of a radio interview on KTIW-590, a news talk station based in San Bernardino.
It was a day to remember for Yarbrough, a Native American Indian who was told as a youngster by a teacher to keep her goals modest as an adult.

“I am pleased to be recognized for the hard work I’ve done,” Yarbrough said during a conversation at the Victoria Country Club in Riverside. “I’m very proud to be recognized. I certainly
did not get involved in the community to receive awards.
But it is nice to know people appreciate it.”

Yarbrough chats with KTIE radio personality Louis Desmond chats on his “IE News Hour” program
Yarbrough chats with KTIE radio personality Louis Desmond chats on his “IE News Hour” program.

Yarbrough is owner of Champion Towing and Swedish Speed, an automotive repair business.

She has served as a trustee for the Val Verde Unified School District for nine years. In 2008, she also took the reins of the Perris Valley Chamber of Commerce, signing on as CEO. She has also served on the Rotary and Optimist clubs and helped organize numerous community events, including the annual Christmas parade and Easter Egg Hunt where her children helped stuff plastic eggs for distribution to Perris youngsters.

Other recipients included Sally Andriamiarisoa, Riverside Community Health Foundation; Cheri Curzon, a retired 911 operator; Jane Farmer,  La Vista Recovery and Wholeness Center for Women; Susan Strickland, retired elementary school teacher and Jody White-Judkins, a community advocate. All will receive trophies at a Sept. 17 luncheon at the Riverside Convention Center.

YWCA representatives said they reviewed 29 applications before selecting the six Women of Achievement for 2009.  YWCA spokeswoman Andrea Crawford called them “pillars of the community.” She singled out Yarbrough as “a poster child” for the award, calling her work “phenomenal.”

“She reaches out to the community to make positive changes,” Crawford said. “She embodies the qualifications that speak to the YWCA’s mission—empowering women while eliminating racism.”

Later that day, Yarbrough completed a radio interview with KTIE-host Louis Desmond, who regularly features Inland residents for his “IE News Hour” program. During the interview, Yarbrough related that several of her friends made cruel remarks when they learned of her Native American ancestry. She also told of a teacher who told her she should not expect much in the way of a career when she graduated. Yarbrough met the teacher at a high school reunion and told her of her success in business, education and civic responsibility.

“I think I’ve done pretty well,” Yarbrough said.

See a short video clip