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Outstanding Young People Sought for Community Service Awards

Community service projects are eligible for prizes exceeding $100,000 in value.

The Jefferson Awards for Public Service’s Youth Service Challenge is seeking outstanding young people, ages 5-25, who are involved in meaningful community service projects throughout the Pittsburgh region.

Participants in the Youth Service Challenge are eligible to receive local and national recognition, as well as cash prizes and celebrity visits. One group will win a trip to be honored as the “Youth Service Challenge Project of the Year” at the Jefferson Awards National Ceremonies in Washington, D.C. in June.

Participants can sign up at www.YouthServiceChallenge.net. The deadline to enter is April 30.

“Not only are we challenging young people to get involved in the issues they care about most, we are helping supercharge their efforts by giving them access to great project templates, media toolkits and social networking tools,” said Rebecca Farabaugh, Pittsburgh regional coordinator for the Jefferson Awards. “We can’t wait to see—and highlight—all the great things they’re doing to make the Pittsburgh region, and the world, a better place.”

The goal of the Youth Service Challenge is to honor and recognize excellence in youth service wherever it is found: in schools, non-profits, faith-based organizations or inspired individuals wanting to give back. Everyone under the age of 25 is eligible. Projects coordinated by individual students, teams or groups, or those that involve entire schools or clubs are eligible.

Submitted projects need to have taken place between Oct. 1, 2012 and April 30, 2013. Entries will first be judged on a local level, with the top projects rising to the national competition.

The Youth Service Challenge is led by The Jefferson Awards for Public Service and seeks to promote youth leadership and volunteerism in several areas—including animal rights; community building and citizenship; education and literacy; elder care; environment and sustainability; health and wellness; hunger, homelessness and poverty; peace and justice; and service to youth—or through projects of the students’ own choosing. The Youth Service Challenge is a nationwide effort to shine a light on students in service and to engage one million youth over three years in student-led service projects.

Students interested in leading or participating in a service project can find “How To” kits on the Youth Service Challenge website. The online kits have been designed to train students to lead a project. Students also can register a project of their own.

The U.S. Conference of Mayors is participating as a national outreach partner. Through the U.S. Conference of Mayors, more than 130 mayors have participated in the challenge over the past two years by encouraging and highlighting service excellence in their cities.

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