National 4-H announces Youth in Action Award winners


A shout out to these four exceptional 4-H members who recently received the 2017 4‑H Youth in Action Awards from the National 4-H Council.

The 4‑H Youth In Action Awards began in 2010 to recognize 4‑H’ers who have overcome challenges and used the knowledge they gained in 4‑H to create a lasting impact in their community. This award highlights youth in each of 4‑H’s core areas of Agriculture, Citizenship, Healthy Living, and STEM. These four pillars represent the fields in which 4‑H youth excel on a national level and align with the mission mandates of National 4‑H Council.

All four winners will receive a $5,000 scholarship for higher education and will serve as an advocate and spokesperson for 4‑H. They will be officially recognized as the 2017 4‑H Youth in Action Pillar Winners at the 4‑H Legacy Awards in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, March 21, 2017.

This year’s Youth in Action Award winners are:

STEM: Ava Lonneman, 17, Mogadore, Ohio

Since Lonneman began high school, she has engaged more than 1,000 of her peers in large-scale events designed to help young people develop interest in STEM fields. Last year Lonneman built on this success by founding the Bio-Med Science Academy 4‑H Afterschool Makers Club. Through the club, she and her classmates use hands-on learning to both deepen their STEM skills and help other young people find a passion for STEM. The club’s mentoring project reached more than 600 middle schoolers last year, and Lonneman is planning to expand its reach this year.

Citzenship: Amelia Day, 18, Fort Valley, Georgia

Day is recognized nationally for the true leadership she has demonstrated as founder of the Operation: Veteran Smiles (OVS) community service initiative that she started at age 13. In five years, Day has grown OVS from a local program in Dublin, Georgia into a regional initiative that has served more than 4,000 veterans and engaged more than 6,500 volunteers nationwide to hand-deliver custom care packages, notes of encouragement, and musical therapy to veteran patients.

Agriculture: Samuel Sugarman, 18, Encinitas, California

Sugarman will be nationally recognized for his true leadership through agriculture education and his free Farm Tour Program. Sugarman created the Farm tour Program to connect youth in his community with animals and nature. Over the past five years, Sugarman led hundreds of farm tours, educating youth about sustainable agriculture, where food comes from, and respect for animals and the earth.

Healthy Living: Bryanne Sanchez, 18, Imperial, California

In an effort to address the 62 percent obesity rate in her county, Sanchez annually hosts the Imperial County 4‑H Color Me Green run. The race, which also includes a local business health fair, gave away more than 90 boxes of fresh produce to runners and their families in 2017. As a California 4‑H State Ambassador, Sanchez organized a “Text Talk Act” campaign to bring awareness to mental health issues. She also organized the educational component of the California State Leadership Conference’s All 4‑Health Fair, working with organizations to present about various healthy living topics.

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