Investing In Youth Today, Improving Conditions Tomorrow
Summer Service Awards
Congratulations to the 2014 Excellence in Summer Service Education Award Winners!
This summer looked and felt very different from other summers – the weather was cooler, the break was shorter, and the stakes were higher. Despite these changes, more than 35,000 youth found a constant safety net in their local summer programs. Summer programs provide young people with safe places to spend the day; opportunities to participate in informal reading, science, and math learning; exposure to arts, music, dance, sports, and nature; all led by caring, committed, and passionate staff who know how important summer can be for a young person’s growth and development.
Many of the summer program staff are young adults, students in high school and college, who are chose to spend their summer break helping and mentoring youth. These outstanding leaders were invited to apply for the Excellence in Summer Service Educational Award (ESSEA). Sixty-three applications were reviewed by a group of local panelists invested in youth development. Of all the applicants, 20 young adults were chosen to receive the $1,000 ESSEA to be used for educational purposes and recognition during a celebratory dinner on August 29th.
Sara Beanbloosm, an ESSEA applicant reviewer from Indiana Afterschool Network shared her thoughts on these amazing individuals “It is clear that great things are happening in Central Indiana for our youth in the summer, an essential time for learning and engagement. I am encouraged by the wealth of motivation and inspiration embodied by the 2014 candidates and ESSEA winners. They are positioned to be great role models for our youth and clearly will be leaders in the field as they continue on their path as youth workers.”
Young people working in summer programs also learn and benefit from these experiences. “Working with the youth has opened my eyes to different views of life. I’ve realized how important a good role model can be to children and that I can be that role model for them. I’ve learned how a small voice can create a big change and the importance to speak up and be heard,” says Eric James Jr., a student at Indiana State University, and summer employee of the John H. Boner Community Center. He says “The children can be role models to me as well. Children have shown me that life is worth enjoying the little things in life are worth cherishing.”
Members of the Summer Youth Program Fund (SYPF), a group of 11 local and national funding partners, which contributed more than $2.4 million to 170 plus local summer programs, honored the following 2014 ESSEA winners:
Zacarria Bailey Anglican Cathedral Church of the Resurrection
Makayla Bailey Concord Neighborhood Center
Amairani Beltran Campecine Youth Academy
Sabriah Benson YMCA Avondale Meadows
Candace Renee Carr Fay Biccard Glick Neighborhood Center
Angelica Figueroa Hawthorne Community Center
Anne Gouty Butler Community Arts School
Jamonte Hampton Marian University NASA
Eric James, Jr. John H Boner Community Center
Yodit Kibrom Felege Hiywot Center
Matt Klineman Felege Hiywot Center
Charnae Lasley Brightwood Community Center
Darian Latimore John H Boner Community Center
Jalynne Messer St Florian Center
Charnell Dominique Peters Indiana Writers Center
Jamie Scott Edna Martin Christian Center
Sonya Springfield East 10th United Methodist Church
Alicia Turner Jameson Camp
Chanel Archer Walls Mary Rigg Neighborhood Center
Alexius Weddle 100 Black Men
ESSEA allow us to recognize some truly exceptional young people and hold them up as examples to the central Indiana community of what young people are capable of accomplishing when given the opportunity and the guidance. John Brandon, President of Marion County Commission on Youth (MCCOY) says “These young people literally changed lives this past summer by exposing children to positive activities, by providing the children they served with role models and guides they could follow and emulate. Our city is fortunate to have these great young people stepping up to be leaders in our community.”
The Summer Youth Program Fund is a partnership of 11 area grant-making bodies. It seasonally funds local nonprofits that provide much-needed safe, engaging summer fun to thousands of Marion County youth - like recreation, camping, arts, academics, college and job readiness, and cultural enrichment. For more information, visit: www.summerprogramfund-indy.org.