Susan Marie Smith was a Simi Valley resident who was a devoted wife and mother of two, who worked for the Simi Valley Unified School district for 16 years at five of the local schools. She loved life, had a passion for students, and touched the entire community with her warmth and nurturing personality before she became the unfortunate victim during the Las Vegas shooting in 2017.
In memory of Susan Marie Smith, the Susan Marie Smith Peace Builder Award recognizes local youth in the Simi Valley Unified School District for outstanding commitment to social change. Created by the Rotary Club of Simi Sunrise, this award seeks to change the focus away from violence and inspire students to speak out for peace and to work to end the hatred, ignorance, injustice, violence, and intolerance, by honoring courageous role models and leaders within the Simi Valley Unified School District.
This year, the award went to Simi Valley High School senior Ashlie Glantz. After a brush with suicide a few years ago, Ashlie decided she wanted to help other teens going through dark periods. So during suicide-prevention month in September, she set up a table at lunchtime to hand out suicide prevention information and yellow awareness ribbons. Ashlie created suicide-awareness videos for her school and spearheaded an anti-bullying drive.
She’s also worked at a local animal rescue charity, and she’s attained the rank of sergeant in the Explorer program at the Camarillo Police Department. She plans on pursuing a law-enforcement career after graduating from high school.
In Rotary Year 2015-16, District 5240 made a commitment to become a Peacebuilder District, and also made a commitment to wage peace wherever possible – in our local communities and in communities around the world. A Peacebuilder Club uses peace education and peace principles to guide the club’s service and development projects.