The Student Ambassadors Receive Award & Present at Teen Leadership Conference

NJHI 2017: Next Generation Community Leaders Student Ambassadors for Community Health

The 4-H/Middle Earth Student Ambassadors for Community Health (SACH) received Safe + Sound Somerset’s “Speak Out” award presented during the Teen Leadership Conference held at Raritan Valley Community College in February 2020. Safe + Sound is an organization that provides a continuum of trauma-informed care, counseling, crisis intervention, housing, community education and advocacy. Their mission is to stop domestic abuse once and for all.

This award is presented to teen-led initiatives that demonstrate the leadership values of shared power, personal growth, independence, trust, communication, respect, and accountability. The Student Ambassadors embodied these values in their service project featuring the Mariposa Park revitalization, Storybook Trail, street murals, and crosswalks that enhanced the beauty of Bound Brook. Read more about the Student Ambassadors for Community Health team’s work

The conference theme was “I’ve Got the Power” and featured workshops for teen leaders about equality, a talk of turning pain into power by Dr. Norma Bowe from Kean University, as well as a talk by Somerset County Freeholder Chanel Robinson detailing her personal story of becoming a leader and finding her power in politics. During a youth panel discussion at the conference, the Student Ambassadors and representatives from other youth groups had an opportunity to share their accomplishments and strategies for becoming successful leaders. Other panelists included Kaity Assaf, who, as a high school senior, successfully advocated for the Clifton Board of Education to add the Muslim holy day, Eid Al-Adha, to the district’s calendar of school holidays. 

Since that conference, the Student Ambassadors for Community Health received the news that the National Association of 4-H Youth Development Professionals Association (NA4-HYPD) has recognized their team as New Jersey state winners in the following categories:

  • 2020 State Winner for the Citizenship in 4-H Youth Development Award
  • 2020 State Winner for the Excellence in Healthy Living Award
  • 2020 State Winner for the Beyond Youth Leadership Award

As the state-level winner, the team advanced to the regional level of judging in each of the three categories and received the 2020 Beyond Youth Leadership Award for the Northeast Region. Joining youth programs from the Southern, Western and North Central regions of the United States, the Student Ambassadors for Community Health are now being considered for the 2020 National Beyond Youth Leadership Award.

In addition, the New Jersey Association of 4-H Agents recognized the 4-H/Middle Earth SACH program with a 2019 Program of Excellence Award.

Connect with the Student Ambassadors for Community Health alumni and follow the team’s progress on Twitter. Track all of the Next Generation Community Leaders teams through the hashtag #NJLeaders2030.

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Kristine Manganelli
4-H/Middle Earth Student Ambassadors for Community Health