Fresno Councilman Oliver Baines presented Shawn Riggins, director of Fresno EOC’S Local Conservation Corps (LCC), with a special surprise at the Fresno City Council meeting last week. Dec. 13, 2018, was proclaimed Shawn Riggins Day, in honor of the work he has done with Fresno EOC and youth in the community.
“Shawn is our friend, our buddy and our pal, but what a lot of people don’t know is how Shawn’s life is dedicated to our community,” Baines said.
Shawn began with Fresno EOC as the Recycling Manager in 2001 and became program director of LCC in 2010. He and his staff work to provide young adults with job skills and educational opportunities.
“Even though I do not feel that I deserve it, I would like to thank my daughter, Jade Riggins, who worked to make this possible,” Shawn said.
Shawn along with two other Fresno EOC programs, Employment & Training and Sanctuary & Youth Services, created Proving Our Parents Skills (POPS). POPS was a program at Fresno EOC for fathers and children that came to an end after five successful years. Shawn is an alumni of the 2012 cohort American Express Leadership Academy in New York. He was also awarded YouthBuild USA National Director of the Year in 2012.
For Shawn, service comes naturally. He often meets with national leaders and organizes monthly food distributions for those in need. Shawn’s father, Reverend Chester Riggins, was the pastor of St. Rest Baptist Church for 46 years and a well-known community activist in Fresno.
“We helped the poor because we were poor that’s just who we are,” Shawn said. “It’s about not forgetting where you came from and that we are here for a reason.”
Although Chester passed in 2009, he was honored in the local African American Museum and has a street named after him, Reverend Chester Riggins Ave., about five minutes from LCC.
Jade Riggins, Shawn’s daughter, saw many of her grandfather’s accolades come after his passing and wanted her father to see all he has done for the community.
“I don’t want my dad to pass away to be honored,” Jade said. In November, she began thinking of a Christmas gift for him and started calling the mayor’s office. The information written in the proclamation was gathered from an interview Jade did with Shawn for what he thought was a class project.
Seeing the work her father has done inspires Jade to serve others. This year Jade is Philanthropy chair in her Fresno State sorority, Phi Mu. She is currently working on fundraisers with Valley Children’s Hospital.
“I know he says he’s not deserving but he’s done so much for not just the community but for me and my family,” Jade said. “I’m very thankful that this hard-working, leader, and community activist is my father.”