Governor’s Office on Service and Volunteerism Announces New Youth-Focused Service Awards

News Release, Governor’s Coordinating Offices

Awards Recognize Youth for Service to Maryland Communities

ANNAPOLIS, MD – The Governor’s Office on Service and Volunteerism today announced the inaugural Youth Service Awards, an awards program aimed at recognizing Maryland youth and youth groups for their significant volunteer contributions to the state and its citizens, and for their work to change Maryland for the better. This awards program is a new initiative from the director of the Governor’s Office on Service and Volunteerism, Van Brooks, developed with guidance from Julie Ayers, a service-learning specialist for the Maryland State Department of Education. Up to 10 youth and youth groups will be selected to receive an award at a special ceremony in the summer.

“We are excited to present the Youth Service Awards as the Hogan Administration seeks to expand the recognition of youth volunteers and shine a brighter light on their contributions to Maryland communities,” said Van Brooks, director of the Governor’s Office on Service and Volunteerism. “The purpose of this new program is to strengthen the culture of volunteerism among young people in our state. We know that they care deeply about improving their community, so this is an opportunity to foster their do-good spirit and encourage service into adulthood.”

The Youth Service Awards will recognize Maryland youth and youth groups, ages 11 to 18 years old, for service occurring in 2018 and 2019. The program will expand upon the Youth and Exemplary Service-Learning categories formerly included in the annual Governor’s Service Awards program.

In 2018, the Office on Service and Volunteerism honored exceptional youth volunteers, including Christina Zhou and students of Gaithersburg High School, both previous Governor’s Service Awards recipients. Christina, a senior at Atholton High School in Columbia, founded the nonprofit Teach the Future to provide free, one-on-one tutoring to differently-abled students. Students at Gaithersburg High School in Montgomery County volunteered in a service project making supply cases for youth in foster care in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service. The experience transformed student attitudes toward service, encouraging a surge in service-learning.

The deadline to submit a nomination for the Youth Service Awards is Friday, June 7, 2019. To learn more about the awards programs and submit a nomination, visit

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David M. Higgins II

David M. Higgins was born in Baltimore and grew up in Southern Maryland. He has had a passion for journalism since high school. After spending many years in the Hospitality Industry he began working in Digital Marketing, eventually leading him back to his passion. David started The Southern Maryland Chronicle in December 2017 and has grown it to become the #1 news source in Southern Maryland.

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