August 22, 2019

Teens from across the state were honored for the good work they are doing in their communities at the 2019 Spirit of Youth Awards, which took place March 30 at the Anchorage Downtown Marriott.

The Spirit of Youth Awards is the organization’s premiere event, highlighting dedicated young people and unsung heroes from around Alaska. Now in its 20th year, the awards recognize the hard work and efforts of these future leaders who utilize this opportunity to share their inspiring and heartwarming stories.

Thank you to the Alaska Teen Media Institute for creating these radio stories!

Bai Thao — Anchorage, Phoenix Award

Bai’s parents came to Alaska as Hmong refugees. She is the eldest of nine children and Bai is responsible for taking care of her siblings and supporting her parents as they navigate their new state and country.

Story By Noon Elmostafa, Alaska Middle College School

Bergen Davis — Juneau, Humanitarian Award

Bergen is constantly seeking out those who are under-served and finds ways to meet their needs. From early childhood, he has donated a portion of his income. He contributes 20 percent of every paycheck to buying fresh produce for the Glory Hall Homeless Shelter and Soup Kitchen.

 Story By Rowan Lewis, Highland Academy

Carlee Rizzo — Nikiski, Visionary Award

Carlee created and established the Nikiski Children’s Fund, which is now expanding to become the Peninsula Children’s Fund. She has fundraised thousands of dollars for Nikiski North Star Elementary and Nikiski Middle/High School that teachers and staff can use whenever they see that a child or family has a need.

 Story By Noon Elmostafa, Alaska Middle College School

Natalie Fraser— Anchorage, Role Model Award

Natalie founded a new organization called Mental Health Advocacy Through Storytelling which uses storytelling to de-stigmatize mental health issues. She has also been actively involved in suicide prevention.

 Story By Kendrick Whiteman, Institute of American Indian Arts

Native Student Leadership Council — Anchorage, Dreamer Award

The Native Student Leadership Council at East High School is an active group of Alaska Native and American Indian students who want to share their pride, cultural values and traditions with the community. 

 Story By Rowan Lewis, Highland Academy

William Deering — Anchorage, Innovator Award

Will is avidly involved in science, including groundbreaking research and supporting youth STEM activities. One of his scientific endeavors was the development of synthetic honey that can be used in medical procedures which prevents bacterial growth. His unique ideas solve real world problems.

 Story By Quinn White, College of Mount Saint Vincent

Zero Landfill Ambassador Program — Denali, Discovery Award

The Zero-Landfill Ambassador Program is run by a group of middle and high school students at Tri-Valley School in the Denali Borough School District. This program was created to tackle sustainability issues at the school and in the Healy/McKinley Village area.

Story By Rowan Lewis, Highland Academy