HAUPPAUGE, N.Y. – More than 30 teenagers earned medals of honor through a Suffolk County Legislature program aimed at engaging local youth in their communities and helping them embrace personal development. Three of these future leaders reside in the 12th Legislative District, Sanjivani & Shriyans Singh of Smithtown, and Melody Lou of Commack.
At a Zoom ceremony, Suffolk lawmakers congratulated all participants on completing the 2019-2020 Distinguished Youth Award program, through which youth ages 13 to 18 work with local officials and mentors, connect with their communities, and set and work toward personal development goals over the course of a year. Medals were given to students during outdoor, drive-up presentations last week.
The Distinguished Youth Award program, established in 2017, invites teenagers to set and work 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 and 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. This year, 14 participants took home a gold medal, five earned a silver medal, and 12 achieved a bronze medal.
Registration for the 2020-2021 Distinguished Youth Award class is open through September 30. Applications and an information packet are available online at the Suffolk County Legislature website at www.scnylegislature.us/896/Distinguished-Youth-Award. For more information, email DistinguishedYouthAward@suffolkcountyny.gov.