Incoming Ward Melville High School junior Riley Meckley has earned the gold medal in the Suffolk County Legislature’s 2020 Distinguished Youth Award program. Meckley was nominated to participate in the program by Deputy Presiding Officer Kara Hahn and this latest achievement comes only a year after the Port Jefferson teen earned silver in the program.
Now in its third year, the Distinguished Youth Award program recognizes local teens who have set and worked toward goals in at least two of four areas: Volunteer Service, which requires volunteering 200 hours to benefit members of the community; Personal Development, which requires assessing one’s own skills and spending 100 hours toward personal improvement; Exploration, which requires visiting 15 Suffolk County parks; and Physical Fitness, designed to increase participants’ level of physical activity through 100 hours of promoting physical and mental well-being. Participants work closely with local elected officials and mentors to lay out goals for each category as well as a plan to accomplish them.
Participants are awarded a medal based on the number of categories they complete. A bronze medal is awarded to participants who complete two of the four listed program areas, while a silver medal is awarded to individuals who complete three of the four areas. Participants who successfully complete all four areas are awarded the highest level of achievement, a gold medal.
In addition being a Distinguished Youth Award gold medal recipient, Riley also serves as an American Legion Auxiliary Junior Member, volunteers at the Stony Brook Veterans Home delivering books and clothing and cuts coupons each month to send overseas to military bases and service members around the country.