MONROE CO., N.Y. — On October 28, outstanding Monroe County citizens were honored at the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Monroe County Annual Meeting. Monroe County Legislators and the Monroe County Youth Bureau Director gathered to acknowledge the outstanding recipients. The Young Citizen of the Year and Willie W. Lightfoot Youth Advocate of the Year Awards represent two of the highest honors for youth and adult leadership, community service, advocacy and perseverance. These awards pay tribute to outstanding citizens who exhibit remarkable leadership, perform extraordinary acts on behalf of others, or have served as a role model for youth advocacy.
Six youth and one adult volunteer from the Monroe County 4-H program were honored for their impact on and advocacy for the youth in our community. The 4-H Program, offered through Cornell Cooperative Extension of Monroe County, encourages youth to engage in hands-on activities and opportunities that encourage the development of life skills. This experiential learning helps to build leadership skills, including public speaking, personal development, decision-making, self-management and citizenship. In return, youth who participate in 4-H find a supportive and inclusive environment led by caring adults dedicated to providing 4-H youth with the positive experiences they need to become tomorrow’s leaders.
Shawna List was honored with the Willie W. Lightfoot Youth Advocate of the Year Award. Shawna was a past member of 4-H, and now, as an adult, continues to inspire youth to improve themselves and their community. Shawna is the leader of the Mariah Meadows 4-H Club, where youth can learn about and care for horses while growing into caring, competent citizens. Shawna is creative, having made her own crafts, games, and 4-H merchandise, all on her own budget. Shawna is dedicated to working with the schedules of each child’s family to make sure they can participate. At horse shows, Shawna ensures each youth feels special, encouraging children to try their best and taking as many pictures of them with their ribbons as she can. She is an inspiring leader, supportive, and embodies sportsmanship.
Two of the recipients of the Monroe County Legislative Youth Citizenship Award are from the 4-H UNITY program at Eugenio Maria de Hostos Charter School (EMHCS). They are part of Ibero-American Action League’s Aspira Mentoring Program. Laila Perez and Josearis Lopez have both received recognition.
Laila Perez is dedicated to social justice and improving her community. Through 4-H UNITY, Laila has helped create a school garden, participated in a Harry Potter Leadership Seminar, and decorated the sidewalk of the elementary school to inspire younger youth.
Laila is a leader, and has been pivotal in driving conversations about race and the Black Lives Matter Movement. At Crew, a period during the day where students have conversations such as this, Laila brought up the topic of protests in the city following Daniel Prude’s death. Laila also initiated a conversation about a decision made by the school. Laila was both polite and honest, and under her lead, the challenging conversations have remained productive. Laila will continue to lead her peers and community into adulthood.
Josearis Lopez is involved in the 4-H UNITY Program with Aspira at EMHCS, and is dedicated to youth advocacy and supporting her peers. EMHCS is a bilingual institution, with many of the students immigrating from other countries without knowing much English. When Josearis has finished her work, she helps other students by translating directions for them.
Josearis is a youth leader, and advocated within her school to start a beautification project. She asked permission from the principal to start the project and sought out opportunities to work with the greater school community. Josearis is an excellent motivator, and was not only able to collaborate with other members of the school to start the project, but kept them involved throughout the project. Although she was the supervisor of the project, Josearis could often be seen shoveling and working with the rest of her class. Wherever Josearis goes in the future, she will change the world for the better.
Two of the recipients for the Monroe County Legislative Youth Citizenship Awards are from the Busy Bee 4-H Club at Mary Cariola Center. This club is led by dedicated volunteer, Kathy Lee.
DeAshaney Holloway is a student at Mary Cariola Center, and has been involved in 4-H for five years. DeAshaney is creative, and always takes an active role in every community service project. Some of the projects have included supporting the Monroe County 4-H Virtual Petting Zoo and creating art to support the environment.
DeAshaney has also given 4-H public presentations for three years, presenting her dream board this year, holding an accessory fashion show, and being a collaborator for a song and music video. What makes this remarkable is that DeAshaney is non-verbal, non-ambulatory, and uses an Augmentative Communication Device to communicate. DeAshaney is a ray of sunshine in her club, classroom, community, and with friends, and a shining example of kindness.
Shamell Campbell is another member of the Busy Bee 4-H Club. Shamell has been an active member of 4-H for five years, and has worked past his physical limitations to be an active community member. Shamell is non-verbal, non-ambulatory, and uses an Augmentative Communication Device to communicate. This year, Shamell presented on his dream board and was a collaborator for a song and music video. He pushed himself during his Speech and Therapy Music sessions to complete his presentation, trying his hardest in everything. Shamell is a positive force in his club and classroom.
Two recipients of the Monroe County Youth Legislative Youth Citizenship Award are part of the Posh Ponies 4-H Club. This club focuses on a number of community service projects each year.
Adeline Whilden is an active member of the club. With Posh Ponies, Addie has helped cook dinner for and feed people without homes, collected donations for Agape Haven of Abundance, and helped plant trees at Ellison Park. Addie also excels at school, and loves animals. She and her family often adopt animals through rescue programs and Addie has brought animals to the Mary Cariola Center to share with the students. Addie encourages younger kids to try out new activities, and is always a pleasure to work with.
Madeline Basset is a member of the Posh Ponies 4-H Club. She is an excellent student, and a member of the JV volleyball team. Madeline has been a member of 4-H since she was 8, and is a model citizen to the younger members. Even after Covid-19 limited volunteer opportunities, Maddie still found ways to support others. Maddie helped to pull water chestnuts (an invasive plant species), out of Braddock Bay, cleaned up litter off the trails at Turning Point Park, and walked in a fundraiser for NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness).
Maddie is also a participant of the 4-H Public Presentation Program, and has presented in many county and district level public speaking events, winning several Outstanding Speaker Awards. Maddie is a positive force in her club and will continue to be a great help to her club and community.
4-H UNITY (Urban Neighborhoods Improved Through Youth) is part of the Children, Youth and Families At-Risk (CYFAR) Program. The project is supported by Smith Lever funds, National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research, New York State 4-H and Cornell University. 4-H UNITY is conducted in Endicott and Rochester by Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) of Broome County and CCE of Monroe County in close partnership with New York State 4-H, Cornell University.
The Monroe County 4-H Program is offered through Cornell Cooperative Extension to the youth of Monroe County. 4-H is a worldwide youth development program open to all youth aged 5-to-19, who want to have fun, learn new skills, and explore the world. In return, youth who participate in 4-H find a supportive environment and opportunities for hands-on or “experiential” learning about things that interest them.
Learn more about 4-H at http://monroe.cce.cornell.edu/4-h-youth-development.
–CCE Monroe County