Santa Rosa’s Gabe Ferrick was one of five young Californians to each win $36,000 after being selected for the 2011 Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Award. Ferrick’s interview ran Monday and can be seen by clicking here.

Here is a brief bio on another young person to receive one of this year’s awards: Liza Gurtin of Francis Parker School in San Diego.

Liza Gurtin has helped provide clean drinking water to more than 500 people in Nicaragua and 1,000 people in Tanzania.

Liza was a second-grader when a Holocaust survivor shared in her religious class not long after Sept. 11, 2001. It was then that she first learned about the Jewish concept of Tikkun Olam, or “repairing the world.” It helped her understand the importance of making a difference in the life of another.

A recipient of the Presidential Community Service Award, Liza has led or participated in dozens of community service projects, all of which are prelude to her current passion – bringing clean, safe water to thousands of impoverished families whose young daughters cannot attend school because they spend their days walking for hours on end to retrieve water needed for their families’ survival. Liza spearheads an initiative called Walk for Water – a 5K walk where participants carry buckets of water in order to simulate conditions that women and children around the globe endure daily. She restructured the San Diego Walk for Water event to include sponsorships that resulted in raising nearly $35,000. Along with providing clean water, her efforts for Nicaragua and Tanzania have helped teach villagers how to adopt improved sanitation and hygienic practices, greatly improving the health of each community.

High School: Francis Parker School, San Diego

Favorite Movie: Risky Business

Favorite Subject: Calculus

Favorite Place: New York City

Favorite Activity: Rowing

Favorite Sport: NFL Football

Favorite Team: Pittsburgh Steelers

Favorite Food: Italian (Pasta)

Favorite Book: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close