2012 Utah Young Humanitarian – $5,000 Winner

Lisa Moynihan, Senior at the University of Utah

“Men and women working for and with others” – this Jesuit motto has inspired Lisa’s commitment to service. Lisa, a senior at the University of Utah, will graduate with a BA in History and an Honors Certificate. Lisa served as the Intern for Youthlinc’s Real Life in Salt Lake City program which is a mentoring program for refugee teens. She is also a member of the Youthlinc 2012 Peru Team traveling to Yanamono, Peru this July. Lisa has organized a school wide food drive for the Utah Food Bank in 2008. She has been a College Buddy for the Best Buddies Program which fosters friendships between students and young adults with intellectual disabilities. She also participated as a mentor in the International Rescue Committee’s Youth program. In 2010 she was a member of the Youthlinc Kenya team and contributed over 100 local service hours before her trip to Kiamuri, Kenya where she taught, started a library, helped build a school, and fulfilled a lifelong dream of dancing in Africa!


$1,000 Finalists

Whitney Smith, Sophomore at the University of Utah

Whitney has raised funds to serve in El Salvador where she promoted healthy living, nutrition, and dance therapy lessons for troubled youth and orphans. During her stay, she started to grasp an understanding of global poverty in Central America, but also in many places around the world. She continued her service for the next few years in the Fijian Islands, Russia, and Uganda. In her endeavor to fight poverty, she has found opportunities to serve locally. Last year she worked as an AmeriCorps volunteer promoting healthy living to low-income families and currently mentors African women refugees with the Salt Lake City Chapter of the International Refugee Committee. With her desire to continue living altruistically, she has since returned to school for a second bachelor degree to study nursing at the University of Utah. With a background in health, she plans to continue advocating for the less fortunate while finding opportunities to improve health education.

James Baird, Sophomore at  Utah State University

James is currently a student at Utah State University and will be transferring to the University of Utah in the fall of 2012. In 2005 James cofounded with his parents Youth Making A Difference (YMAD) and helped take 20 high school students to Northern India to work with four different orphanages. In August 2009 he moved to Kulu India for four months and opened The Home for Peace, YMAD’s first orphanage. While there, he moved seven children into the facility, enrolled them in school, taught English, and helped build a sustainable curriculum for the orphanage. James is still very involved with YMAD and serves as an active member of the board of directors and as Country Director for summer college expeditions.

McKenzie Weeks,  Senior at Lehi High School

McKenzie has served as the Student Body Service Officer, a National Honor Society Representative, a Sports Marketing Team member, and Girls Soccer team captain. McKenzie organized a yearlong project called “Ordinary Mary’s Extraordinary Deed Mission” where the group found ordinary ways to make extraordinary differences in the lives of others. She recognizes that often times some of the most meaningful service opportunities come as people are just going about their daily lives. Serving is a big part of her life and has taught her how to sincerely care about the circumstances of others. She has learned that she can always make a difference in the life of a friend, family member, leader, teacher, acquaintance, and even a stranger.