2011 Utah Young Humanitarian – $5,000 Winner

Cara Cerise, Sophomore at Westminster College

A humanitarian stands up against bigotry, is actively engaged in his/her community, embraces the humanity of others, and uses empathy to show the world we are one.” These words become daily action for Westminster College sophomore, Cara Cerise, who was awarded the title of the 2011 Utah’s Young Humanitarian.  Cara is dedicated to the equality and inclusion of all people no matter what age, race, social status, religion or sexual orientation.  She served as a camp counselor at Camp Anytown, a human relations/student leadership retreat ran by the Inclusion Center for Community and Justice and has been a dedicated volunteer since.  At age 16 she became president of her high school’s social justice club, BOND (Building One New Dream), and founded the Utah chapter of COLAGE: People with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Parents. After high school, Cara spent a year living in Paraguay working with the organization Amor y Esperanza where she worked hands-on with special needs elementary students in the rural villages.  Now she serves on the Board of Directors of the Inclusion Center for Community and Justice.  Cara is working toward HIV prevention as a Woman’s Health Intern at the Utah Pride Center where she is also a translator.

Scott Sommerdorf  |  The Salt Lake Tribune
Cara Cerise, 20, has been named the 2011 Utah Young Humanitarian. The $5,000 scholarship is funded by the George S. & Dolores Dore Eccles Foundation to recognize youths who give back to the community. Cerise is a longtime volunteer who sits on the board of directors of the Inclusion Center and works regularly with the Utah Pride Center. Photographed Thursday, June 2, 2011.

$1,000 Finalists

Andrew Hagedorn, Senior at East High School

Andrew Hagedorn has directed his passion for service toward the homeless in Salt Lake City. Has been involved with Youth for Youth for the last four years where they have been raising money for the Road Home and is president of the Youth Government Commission. Through his leadership, the groups met their goal of raising over $200,000. They have raised enough money to open two houses for aged-out foster care teens and are in the process of building housing units that will provide housing, case workers, and a transitional shelter for the homeless in Salt Lake.  Andrew has also has served with the Neighborhood House, Peer Court and The Children’s Center. He travelled to Mexico on a Youthlinc humanitarian trip in 2010. He believes, “A humanitarian works for change. A volunteer is someone who shows up to help.” Andrew continues to do both.

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Emily Gillespie, Senior at  Utah Valley University

Emily Gillespie was raised with a firm belief in hard work and service.  As a senior at Timpview High School she began and was president of the HOPE taskforce for three years where she worked with the school social workers and counselors to help at-risk students with depression.  Emily also volunteered at Canary Garden Family Grief Counseling Center helping those coping with the recent loss of a loved one. After high school she had the opportunity to spend time in Mexico working on projects in two orphanages and building homes for poor families.  As a student at Utah Valley University, she spent the summer of 2008 in Uganda with HELP International holding teacher improvement classes, building libraries and adobe stoves and working with children with disabilities and their care takers. She was able to help in the recovery efforts of the February 2010 earthquake in Machali while serving her LDS mission in Chile.  She has been volunteering with the Service-Learning community at UVU and plans to attend graduate school to study to be a recreational therapist and continue to serve.

Jeffrey Scott, Senior at  Judge Memorial Catholic High School

As a senior at Judge Memorial Catholic High School, Jeffrey is the development manager and founder of the Apache Project, a partnership between St. Charles Elementary on the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation and Judge Memorial.  When Jeffrey first visited the Apache Reservations he was appalled by the poverty and hopelessness.  Since that visit the Apache Project has sent over 3.5 tons of school supplies and clothing to the Reservation.  Jeffrey plans to study medicine and return to the reservation to work as a physician.  In addition to his dedication to the Apache Project, Jeffrey has also worked with the Ulster Peace Project since 2008 which promotes peace in Northern Ireland by hosting workshops in Salt Lake focused on communication and conflict resolution.  He is Student Body President at Judge Memorial and is a member of Rotary Interact Club.