Are you Utah’s Young Humanitarian?

If you are a young person who strives to serve your com­munity, a $5000 college schol­arship might be the reward you never expected for your efforts.

Those who serve are gener­ally too humble to seek recog­nition,” says Youthlinc Execu­tive Director Judy Zone “but what receives attention in our society is what others will imi­tate.”

Promoting humanitarian service among youth is the rea­son behind this annual tribute, sponsored in its sixth year by George & Dolores Eccles Foundation, US Bank, and Deseret News. Zone encour­ages those who know altruistic young people to urge them to apply. “Ironically, all of our fi­nalists are students who were basically forced to apply by mentors who knew they de­served this Award.”

Three outstanding young hu­manitarians will receive $1000 Awards and Utah’s Young Hu­manitarian 2011 will receive a $5000 college scholarship. Ap­plications are open to all Utah resident secondary and undergraduate college students who are U.S. citizens or legal residents and are available at Deadline is March 23, 2011.

Over the past six years, Utah Young Humanitarian ap­plicants have been involved in a variety of service activities, raised thousands of dollars for charities, helped thousands of people, and involved hundreds of their peers in service.

2010 finalists included: Brian Johnson of Southern Utah University has volunteered locally and in Uganda, Jerika Michel of Westminster College teaches English to refugees and grows food for local charities, Hanne Paine of West H.S. volunteers at the Christa McAuliffe Space Education Center, U of U student Ryan Johnson volunteers at The Children’s Center.

“Our goal is to recognize excellence in service all over the State,” says Youthlinc Local Service Director Julia Wee. “There is no town in Utah without a young person who is an unsung hero.”

Last years winner, Kajsa Vlasic, loves to immerse herself in any culture or situation where there is a need. While attending West High, Kajsa volunteered with Big Brothers Big Sisters, ESL tutoring, Girls on the Run (acting as a mentor and coach to at risk teens), and the International Rescue Committee, mentoring refugee families in Salt Lake City. While juggling all these service activities, she was able to graduate with an International Baccalaureate diploma. While dedicating many hours each week to serving locally, she has also found time to serve internationally in Kenya and Costa Rica, with Youthlinc and Amigos respectively. Kajsa says, “I see myself as a humanitarian because I am happiest when I serve. The experience I have had serving others has helped me to be both more independent and more humble.”

“Though recognition is not the motivation for service,” says Pamela Atkinson, who has served on the Selection Committee and is one of Utah’s most active and honored hu­manitarians, “this Award pro­gram raises awareness and en­courages more young people to consider the value in helping others.”

The idea for this Award arose from the Youthlinc pro­gram, which requires Utah students to contribute up to 100 hours of local service, in order to receive a sponsorship which offsets the cost of an in­ternational service experience. “In the last eleven years, we’ve seen almost 1,000 young people pass through our program and become really turned on to ser­vice,” Zone says. “This Award is designed to recognize and celebrate the dedication of Utah’s young humanitarians.”

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