Announcing the 2016 4-H Youth in Action Award Recipients

By _Amaya_Collins_ April 19, 2016

After receiving more than 250 outstanding submissions from youth across the country, National 4‑H Council is proud to announce the four winners of our Youth in Action Awards. These four youth exemplify the life skills 4‑H’ers are mastering across the country and the types of lasting impact 4‑H’ers are having in their families and in their communities. It is our honor to formally introduce these true leaders as they will serve as ambassadors for the collective 4‑H movement over the next year and showcase nationally what it means when we say, true leaders aren’t born, they’re grown.

The 2016 Youth in Action Award winners are:

Agriculture and Animal Sciences

Jacob Shuman, through Ohio State University Cooperative Extension, is the 2016 Agriculture and Food winner. He earned this award by creating TEACH B’s (Teens Educating Adults and Children about Honey Bees), a program that educates people about the importance of honeybees in pollinating crops and the need to help them survive in changing climates.


The winner of the 2016 Citizenship pillar is Lexie Lerblance, through Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension. As her 4‑H Project of Excellence, Lexie created TLC Wig Closet, a non-profit that provides wigs, head coverings, bras and prosthesis for women suffering from breast cancer. Through her 4‑H experience, she has spoken at the Pink Ribbon Luncheon and gave presentations to the Federal Board of Education.

Healthy Living

Ruwanthi Ekanayake, through University of California Cooperative Extension, is the 2016 winner in the Healthy Living pillar, sponsored by Molina Healthcare. As a member of the National 4‑H Healthy Living Ambassador team, Ru has been instrumental at bringing 4‑H’ers across the country together. She has also launched The Fourth H blog and created a Healthy Living Youth Summit for nine counties in Southern California.


This award, sponsored by HughesNet, is awarded to Thaddeus Hughes, through University of Illinois Cooperative Extension. Thaddeus has been a mentor for FIRST Lego League and Illinois State Robotics Competition teams for four years. Over the course of his work in 4‑H, he has helped to introduce STEM and robotics to more than 6,000 youth across Illinois.