Awards for April 2007

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Spirit of Youth Award

For: Individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to America’s youth.

By: National Runaway Switchboard.

Winner: Rapper and actor Chris “Ludacris” Bridges and The Ludacris Foundation. Ludacris’ recent Grammy-winning album, “Release Therapy,” includes a song about runaway youth called “Runaway Love.” The Ludacris Foundation has worked to promote positive youth development through such programs as the “Stand Up Initiative,” for youth with disabilities; the “Goal Setting Program,” which emphasizes financial literacy; and “Healthy Lifestyle,” a nutrition education program.



Soros Justice Fellows 

For: Outstanding scholars, advocates, reporters and attorneys, who receive 12- to 18-month stipends to work for communities marginalized by criminal justice policies.

By: The Open Society Institute.

Winners Include: Patricia Allard, attorney, Rebecca Project for Human Rights and Vera Institute for Justice, New York, to work on family reunification of foster children and parents who are incarcerated or are at risk of incarceration; Ruben Austria, advocate, W. Haywood Burns Institute, the Bronx, to support alternative-to-detention programs for poor youth of color; Alison Little, advocate, American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, to promote the rights of children with emotional disturbances and to research the “school-to prison pipeline” caused by “zero-tolerance” educational policies; Johonna McCants, scholar and advocate, Institute for Community Peace, Washington, D.C., to engage women and youth in using art to create community solutions to violence.

Contact: (212) 548-0600,


Joyce Awards 

For: Artists of color working with cultural organizations in the Midwest.

By: The Joyce Foundation.

Winners Include: Wayne State University and Tyree Guyton, who used abandoned objects to transform a once-blighted street in his neighborhood into an indoor/outdoor art gallery called the Heidelberg Project. The Joyce Award will support a four-part art project at the university that will include implementing art workshops at local elementary and middle schools.



Nestle Very Best In Youth Award 

For: Youth ages 10 to 18 who have demonstrated good citizenship and strong academic records and have made a special contribution to their schools, churches and communities.

By: The Nestle Very Best in Youth Foundation.

Winners Include: Geneva Ann Johnson, 17, of the Bronx, who started a program called Bring It On, to encourage community service projects and to promote youth leadership; Benjamin Carpenter, 12, of Brandon, Fla., who, despite spinal muscular atrophy, has achieved academic honors and spent countless hours volunteering; Rebecca Espinosa, 17, of Miami, Fla., who organizes high school students to tutor at a home for pregnant teenagers; Niharika Jain, 16, of Shreveport, La., 16, who has done extensive research on the affects of garlic on different diseases, organized book drives for underprivileged high schools, and created a youth partnership called GUTS (Generations United to Succeed) with the Shreveport Women’s Commission.

Contact: (818) 549-6677,


Awards Available

World of Children Awards

For: International child advocates, with awards in three categories: Health Award, for contributions in health, medicine or science for a minimum of 10 years; Humanitarian Award, for social services, education or humanitarian services work for at least 10 years; and Founder’s Award, for a person under 21 who has made outstanding contributions to other young people.

By: World of Children.

Deadline: Nominations by May 4.

Contact: (614) 328-7008,


Bower Youth Awards 

For: Achievements in environmental and social justice in three areas – conservation, preservation and restoration – by activist leaders in North America, ages 13 to 22.

By: Earth Island Institute.

Deadline: May 15.

Contact: (415) 788-3666, ext. 144,,


Project Ignition

For: High school students who create service-learning projects to promote safe driving habits among teenagers. Twenty-five proposals will be funded at $2,000 each. The top school will receive a grant of $10,000.

By: State Farm and the National Youth Leadership Council

Deadline: April 15.

Contact: Kathy Bardine, (877) 541-9363,


Tu Voz My Venture Contest 

For: Groups of two or more legal residents of the United States, 13 to 20 years old, who develop creative ideas for after-school programs and other activities that encourage Latino youth to stay in school and prepare for college. Winning teams will receive up to $1,000 for their projects. The top five teams will receive $5,000 in scholarships.

By: MTV Networks.

Deadline: June 29.