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2022 Youth Service Awards

“We are proud to celebrate the journey of service that our Youth Service Awards recipients are embarking on,” said Governor Larry Hogan. “These young Marylanders represent innovative and impactful leadership that is truly making a difference today while forging paths ahead for the leaders of tomorrow.”

Since 2019, the Governor has presented Youth Service Awards as a component of the Governor’s Service Awards. Recipients are selected via a competitive review process and are representative of multiple service areas. This year’s awards were presented during a virtual summit as part of a new participant format.

This year’s honorees made exceptional contributions to Maryland as change agents for women in STEM, for cancer patients, for seniors in technology, for civic engagement, for access to food and essential resources, and for composting in schools. (Read more in the press release).

2022 Esteemed Honorees: 

Compostology, serving Frederick and Montgomery Counties
Compostology Founders Angelina Xu and Advika Agarwal Compostology is a youth organization making food waste the next frontier for environmental action, education, and equity. We initiate food rescue & diversion programs at schools to redistribute unopened food to the community and divert food scraps from incinerators to compost facilities. As founding members of the Maryland Coalition to Re-Imagine School Waste, we received a $48K grant from the World Wildlife Fund as well as other grants from local organizations, and have since started these programs at 7 schools. We also co-authored Maryland House Bill 150 / Senate Bill 124 and sent 6000 handwritten postcards from students across 8 counties to their legislators supporting the bill. SB124 was recently signed into law after passing unanimously in the Senate and with bipartisan support in the House! SB124 establishes an annual $250K grant program run by MAEOE for schools to reduce and compost waste. By collaborating with school systems and government officials, and creating new environmental and leadership development opportunities for students of all ages, we are committed to reducing carbon footprints, fighting food insecurity, and leading legislative change and greater community action around food waste. Compostology supporting environmental improvement and education

Roah Hassan, serving Baltimore County

Roah Hassan (she/her) is a Muslim-American, activist, and the daughter of Egyptian immigrants. Calling Baltimore County home, she works diligently to give back to the community that raised her and encourage other young people to do the same. Roah serves as a youth activist, organizing youth-led rallies for racial justice at the local and state level. She founded and directs Mic Up, Maryland, a youth organization aimed to amplify the youth voice and empower the next generation of leaders and activists to pursue the change they believe is imperative. Roah, in her pursuits, has pushed for safer learning environments in Maryland and Baltimore County. She advocates for the presence and importance of women in STEM and in leadership and unwaveringly promotes youth involvement in civic engagement and the power of their respective voices. 

Roah serves as the 42nd Baltimore County Public Schools Student Member of the Board-Elect, to be sworn in on July 1st where she will continue to work to guarantee youth involvement in civic spaces and advocate for the undeniable needs of students across the county. Taking her passion to every civic space she encounters, Roah looks forward to uplifting the next generation of youth in service.

Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Students of the Year Program, serving Queen Anne’s County

Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Students of the Year Program, serving Queen Anne’s County: Rachel and Nicole Rickabaugh and Molly Kroeger, along with their peers, raised money in the seven week campaign to contribute to the $800,000 in total funds raised statewide. The money raised went directly towards the mission of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, or LLS, which is to cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, and to improve the quality of life of patients and their families. Events were held across Queen Anne’s County and Talbot County, collecting life-saving funds for this amazing program through the generosity of the community. The Students of the Year program allowed Rachel, Nicole, and Molly, to learn many valuable life lessons, as well as the large impact that a single person can have on an entire community.  A donation from each of the 50 states was collected, meaning that not only were the local counties reached in their efforts, but the entire United States. Through almost a year’s worth of work, they reached many goals and major accomplishments, including receiving the Mission Integration award at the Grand Finale event wrapping up the 2022 LLS Students of the Year campaign. Team Answer 4 Cancer raised a total of $45,243, crushing their goal of $40,000.

Ethan Li, serving Baltimore County

Ethan is the founder of Requinity, an initiative offering free virtual technology workshops for older adults to bring the power of technology to seniors and prevent social isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic. He hosted 11 virtual workshops including Understanding GMail, Recommended Apps, Downloading and Uninstalling Apps on the iPhone, and more. See recorded content on the YouTube page!

When faced with adversity, Ethan learned new technology skills alongside the participants, and his nominator from the Baltimore County Department of Aging noted that he earned the respect of his peers and influenced participants with his steady encouragement and creative leadership. His impact resulted in more than 25 regular participants feeling more empowered to engage with the digital world. Please join me in giving Ethan a round of applause, reactions, and messages!

Arusa Malik, serving Anne Arundel County

Arusa Malik is a senior at South River High School. Her first memory of serving was with her local mosque in middle school. She and her sister attended a camp that had a focus on volunteer work. She recalls making meal bags that were sent to a local homeless shelter for distribution. Her passion for service was ignited though through her time volunteering with Arlington Echo last summer. She served with Ms. Sheen Goldberg as a land steward where she helped restore aquatic wildlife, remediate plants, and ensure that no invasive species grew too large. When the summer ended she still wanted to find more ways to get involved, so she signed up for the AACPS Service Learning Portal, which provides students with options for various opportunities to serve.

The list of organizations that Arusa supports is extensive. Through the Service Learning Portal, she has been introduced to Bello Machre, Ronald McDonald House, Operation Gratitude, and NASA Goddard Environmental Task Force. With some of her classmates, she co-founded an organization called Backpacks for Baltimore. They collect school supplies that they put in backpacks for low-income students in Baltimore City. Her generous heart has touched the lives of so many. Arusa shared that some of her favorite causes include,  “equity and social justice in Anne Arundel County, equal access to education, and environmental volunteering.” She is able to support these causes through her involvement on the Anne Arundel County Executive’s Youth Advisory Council.

Not only is Arusa involved in serving her community, she is also a leader in many extracurricular groups. She is on the Service Learning Leadership Team, the President of her school’s SGA, President of the Chesapeake Regional Association of Student Councils (CRASC), community liaison for Let’s Talk Justice, President of the Key Club, and a volunteer tutor.

Everything that Arusa does is done with joy, a smile, and commitment. Her CRASC advisor, Mrs. Stacy Pellegrin said, “Arusa’s kindness, service, and positivity make her the perfect ambassador.  She makes students want to get involved!” When asked to share a few words about Arusa, her teacher, Ms. Shaila Kulkarni stated, “Arusa represents the future – she is an activist, she is an intellectual, she is an empath, she is a seeker, she is a dreamer, and she encapsulates everything that AACPS would want to represent the student body of our school system. I am lucky to have her as a student in my Calculus class and as an officer for the club I advise.”When she isn’t serving, Arusa enjoys traveling with her family. She loves exploring other cultures and enjoys the thrill of learning new things. She even once stated that she would prefer going to a museum over an amusement park. The knowledge that she has gained through her experiences has truly given her a wonderful perspective on life and allows her to give back to her community.

Mahlet Mesfin, serving Baltimore City and Anne Arundel County

“Hello, my name is Mahlet Mesfin! I’m a junior at Crofton High School in Gambrills, MD and I’m involved in numerous groups and organizations directed towards service! I’m a part of the AACPS Student Service Leadership Team as the project committee co-chair, NASA Environmental Task Force, AACPD Minority Youth Advisory Council, and more. I’ve organized numerous service projects and co-created a research paper on the effects global warming has on migratory patterns. I’m very excited to be chosen as an honoree for the 2022 Youth Service Awards!”

Kinsley Potts, serving Baltimore City and Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Harford, and Montgomery Counties

Creator of Art From The Heart, Kinsley holds free workshops to spark creative change in her community. With a passion to serve people and animals, she volunteers in 6 counties across the state of Maryland. As an Ambassador for the Baltimore Humane Society she has held food and supply donation drives, volunteered at numerous community events to raise money for the animals at the shelter and volunteers at the local shelter weekly. At 13, Kinsley is one of the youngest Teen Leaders for The Y of Central Maryland that plans and serves at community events across the region. She has also helped plant and harvest over 2 million pounds of food with First Fruits Farm that is donated to churches, food banks, senior centers, and shelters.

Sumiya Rahaman, serving Carroll County

“My name is Sumiya Rahaman and, I am a student leader in Carroll County Kids for Equity.  I am currently a junior at Westminster High School. I am passionate about research and identifying social issues. As an education equity advocate, I surveyed and identified the issues within my school system. I am currently developing resolutions and connecting youth in my county with local efforts.”

As a leader of Carroll County Kids for Equity, Sumiya surveyed more than 300 students to identify and address issues within the school system. As a result, she helped to establish pathways towards resolution through advocacy and strategic planning. She is also a Strong Schools Maryland Team Leader.

While balancing her academic responsibilities and part-time employment, Sumiya volunteered for more than 300 hours to provide leadership in raising student voices to effect lasting change for equity and inclusion, and the consequent issues of discrimination, underrepresentation, and lack of safe space. 

She has presented results at the school district’s Equity & Inclusion conference and held meetings with school district leaders and administrators. She has hosted discussions with Carroll Citizens for Racial Equality and McDaniel College and collaborated with Carroll County Youth Services Bureau. As a junior in high school, Sumiya is currently partnering with the NAACP to host a town hall and social justice summit to foster increased middle school youth engagement. Please join me in giving Sumiya a round of applause, reactions, and messages!

Missed the ceremony? Recordings available soon here!

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