4-H Youth in Action Awards


March 29, 2017

The National 4-H council honored four inspiring young people for developing original programs to benefit their communities. The 4-H Youth in Action Awards recognizes four 4-H’ers who have gained critical life skills through their 4-H experience and have utilized those skills to overcome challenges and to impact their communities. Each of the honorees are outstanding 4-H’ers who epitomize 4-H youth empowerment and leadership.

The 2017 awards highlight youth in each of our core areas. Through a formal selection process, one awardee is chosen within each pillar area: Agriculture, Citizenship, Healthy Living & STEM. One national Youth in Action Award winner is then selected from the four pillar winners.

Youth In Action Award Winner - Agriculture: Samuel Sugarman of Encinitas, CA

Over the past five years, Sugarman has educated hundreds area youth with his free Farm Tour Program. The program stresses sustainable agriculture, and respect for animals and the environment.

“When children grow up disconnected from their food, from animals, and from the earth,” says Sugarman, “they miss opportunities to develop qualities of stewardship, compassion, patience and gratitude.”

Youth in Action Award Winner - STEM: Ava Lonneman of Mogadore, OH

Throughout her high school career, Lonneman has been an advocate for STEM through large-scale events. But last year, she founded the Bio-Med Science Academy 4-H Afterschool Makers Club. The club provides hands-on learning and includes a mentoring project that has reached more than 600 middle schoolers.

“My goal is to help other young people - and especially other girls - realize that STEM is fun and that success is within your reach,” says Lonneman.

Youth in Action Award Winner - Healthy Living: Bryanne Sanchez of Imperial, CA

To address the 62% obesity rate in her county, Sanchez hosts the Imperial County 4-H Color Me Green run. The race includes a local business health fair and earlier this year, the event gave away more than 90 boxes of fresh produce to runners and their families.

“I recognized that I have the power to enact change by educating others,” says Sanchez, “and I plan to do so for the rest of my life. I want everyone to realize there is no better time than now to start living healthy.”

Youth In Action Award Winner - Citizenship and National Winner: Amelia Day of Fort Valley, GA

At 13, Day began Operation: Veteran Smiles (OVS) in an effort to support those recuperating in a local veteran’s hospital. Five years later, OVS is a regional initiative that has served more than 4,000 veterans with over 6,500 national volunteers who hand-deliver custom care packages, notes of encouragement and musical therapy to veteran patients.

“I saw that many veterans live far away from where they receive treatment,” says Day, “meaning that their family and friends are often unable to visit regularly. I realized that without regular visits and support from loved ones, many veteran patients feel isolated and even lack access to basic toiletries and comforts that family members would normally supply.”

Each Youth in Action pillar winner received a $5,000 scholarship for higher education and was featured as the 4-H Youth Spokesperson for their pillar area and an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C. to be recognized at National 4 H Council’s Legacy Awards.

Information about the 2018 4-H Youth in Action Awards application process will be available in April.