2008 Utah Young Humanitarian – $5,000 Winner

Nicole Nguyen

A University of Utah Senior and Service Learning Scholar, Nicole has been involved in serving those affected by HIV/AIDS for the past four years. Starting as a volunteer in the Campus AIDS program, Nicole continued on to be the director and then led a year-long integrated service project with the Utah AIDS Foundation. This summer Nicole will take her background knowledge and offer training to rural communities in Kenya.

“I hope to learn more about the issue globally,” Nicole says of her work, “and gain hands-on experience working with highly affected populations. I have displayed a passion for the issue and am committed to serving this population.”

In addition to her work in this area, Nicole also serves as the U of U Senior Class President and in the Asian American Student Association at the University of Utah.

Carolyn Bliss, LEAP Program Director says of Nicole, “She conveys a sense that she finds those she interacts with interesting and important. She focuses attention fully on those she deals with and is careful, thorough, and dependable in fulfilling her obligations.”


$1,000 Finalists

Madison (Baugh) Hale

A senior at Viewmont High School, Madison lives by Leo Buscaqlia’s mantra:

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”

Madison works to spread these small acts of kindness to various communities whether as the Best Buddies President at her school, President of Youth of Promise in Utah , during her internships in special education classes or beyond to communities in Peru or the Dominican Republic.

Andrea Parker, a Special Education Teacher at Viewmont High School says of Madison, “She has worked tirelessly to make sure that the mission of Best Buddies has come to pass at Viewmont High and has really made a difference for many students with significant disabilities.”

Candace Hanks

An active member of her community, Candace gives service to various communities in Utah. Whether it is working with children at the Sharing Place, or Ronald McDonalad House, with the elderly at St. Joseph’s Villa, international communities in Zambia or Peru, or her peers as the TickTockers President in the National Charity League, this Olympus High Senior views service as a lifestyle.

Candace “tries to live compassionately, by serving and spending time with people from all walks of life. If people let down the walls they have built up by judgement, and accept that all people were created equally,” Candaces says, “the world would become a much better place.”

Cecilie Mattison of the Sharing Place says of Candace, “Her calm and pleasant approach to whatever she is doing creates a comfort zone for all those involved regardless of age. I feel that she is passionate about service.”

Bryndon Hatch

“I enjoy helping people and often feel I benefit from the associations I have with those I serve more than they benefit from me,” says University of Utah Senior and Service Learning Scholar Bryndon Hatch.

Bryndon helps an array of communities as the Coordinator of Health and Ability Service Program at the Lowell Bennion Service Center, Advisory Board Member of Best Buddies Utah, Director of the University of Utah Best Buddies Program and Volunteer with Intermountain Homecare Hospice.

Curt Larsen of the U of U Lowell Bennion Service Center describes Bryndon as one who is “significantly invested in improving the lives of individuals” “a tireless advocate for getting others involved” and “a powerful role model to his peers.”

Libbi Sorenson

“As I’ve grown and noticed the effects and importance of service, I have made it a key part of my life,” says East High School Senior Libbi Sorenson.

It is true that service is key in most all of Libbi’s activites. She has incorporated education about organ donation in assemblies in her Assembly Chair position, works as a Peer Tutor in her school’s Special Education Program, she is the President of SPOTS (Students Providing Others True Service) at her school and is an active member of National Honors Society and Key Club. Outside of school Libbi volunteers as a mentor in Salt Lake Peer Court and she is preparing for a humanitarian trip to Kenya this summer.

Patricia Jane Baskin of East High School says of Libbi, “She is a hard worker and she loves to serve. She is one of those individuals that will have a great impact on the world!”