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Youth Service Awards

Young Marylanders are uniquely positioned to be trailblazers in service and volunteerism, in part, due to the robust, intertwined communities across our state and the built-in supports from the service-learning requirement. The Governor’s Office on Service and Volunteerism had the distinct pleasure to recognize a few such trailblazers in the inaugural Youth Service Awards and the 37th Governor’s Service Awards.

The 2021 Youth Service Awards will recognize exemplary Maryland youth and youth groups, from 6th to 12th grade, who rise up and lead Maryland through service with significant and direct volunteerism. This year, the awards will recognize volunteer service occurring in 2020 and 2021. Up to 10 recipients will be selected to be recognized virtually in late spring.

Recipients of the Youth Service Awards should exemplify the following characteristics:

  • Understanding of the community needs through community input and/or lived experience;
  • Effective in creating an action plan and/or engaging others;
  • Represent exceptional acts of empowerment, empathy, and inclusion; and
  • Through volunteerism, have made an impact.

The nomination period for the Youth Service Awards is OPEN!

Eligibility

Any individual youth or youth group volunteers, from 6th to 12th grade (generally ages 11 to 18 years old), who have demonstrated commitment and dedication to Maryland through significant and direct volunteer service in 2020 and 2021 can be nominated. The nominee’s volunteer service must have occurred in Maryland and must have been for the direct benefit of Maryland citizens and/or the environment. The volunteer service must not be provided for the sole benefit of a for-profit business.

  • Nominees must have been in 6th to 12th-grade during 2020.
  • Volunteer service must be performed outside the context of the nominee’s paid employment.
  • Past recipients of the Governor’s Service Awards or Youth Service Awards program may not be nominated for the 2021 Youth Service Awards.
  • Youth should not be nominated for their financial contributions or fundraising, political advocacy, or for administrative roles in the nominating agency.
  • No more than three nominations will be accepted from any individual nominator.
  • Multiple submissions for the same individual by the same nominator will not be accepted (i.e., do not submit two or more nominations for the same nominee).

The Nomination Process

Each nomination must include contact information for the nominee and nominator, details about the youth or youth group nominee, and a nomination narrative. Nominators are expected to notify the individual or group before submitting their nomination for consideration and are highly encouraged to ask the youth or youth group nominee to submit a supplemental self-nomination using the same link. 

Late or incomplete submissions will not be reviewed.

For each question in the nomination narrative, please describe the nominee’s service and contributions to the community. Each answer should contain under 1,000 characters (roughly 120-180 words). The questions in the nomination narrative are:

  1. Provide a brief summary of why you chose to nominate the individual/group. (What motivates them? Who are they? What stood out to you?)
  2. Describe the need the individual/group meets and the community impact. 
  3. Quantitative Data: What were outcomes of the nominee’s volunteerism between January 2020 and April 2021? Provide quantitative data citing number of masks sewn, number of virtual events held, volunteer hours tutoring siblings, etc., that shows results of the volunteer service activities.
  4. Qualitative Data: What made this nominee’s volunteer service extraordinary? Provide anecdotal information, such as stories and testimonials to demonstrate the non-measurable impact of the nominee’s volunteerism on our communities.

NEW: The nomination process has been expanded to collect and consider the perspectives of the nominees, themselves. Our Office understands that each person’s unique goal, impact, and experience is best told through their own voice. We highly encourage youth to share their own perspective as a form of supplementary self-nomination. 

The questions in the self-nomination narrative are: 

  1. What community need did you identify?
  2. What actions did you take to meet the need?
  3. What was the impact of your service?

The narrative will be the only information used to select the recipients of the Youth Service Awards. View an outline of the nomination form.

In addition to the nomination review, the Governor’s Office on Service and Volunteerism will use the narrative in parts or its entirety on social media, on the website, and in awards event materials.

Review, Selection, and Notification

Each nomination received by the posted deadline will be reviewed by a panel of community leaders, volunteers, and staff of the Governor’s Office on Service and Volunteerism. Nominations will be scored and ranked, based on eligibility. Following a fact-checking process, the Governor’s Office on Service and Volunteerism will notify each recipient of their selection. 

Please note: All selected recipients must provide digital photographs for promotional use on social media, website, and in awards event materials upon notification of award selection.

Questions?

Contact Joanna Chen, Outreach & Communications Coordinator, Governor’s Office on Service and Volunteerism by email at gosv@maryland.gov