Four young leaders from across the country receive $5,000 scholarships for outstanding achievements and community impact
WASHINGTON, DC (October 2, 2023) – National 4-H Council today announced the winners of the 2024 Youth In Action Awards, a national program sponsored by Bayer that recognizes four diverse young leaders who have made a positive impact in their communities.
The winners will each receive a $5,000 higher education scholarship and spend 2024 inspiring other youth by telling their 4-H story. In addition, they will have opportunities to showcase their work nationally, network with prominent 4‑H alumni, and serve as official 4-H spokespeople for Youth in Action.
The announcement was made during National 4-H Week, held October 1-7, 2023 to celebrate and showcase the opportunities and impact that 4‑H offers young people across the country.
The winners of the 2024 4-H Youth in Action Awards are:
- Katie Collins, 19, Charlotte, Tennessee: Growing up as a mixed-race girl on a dairy farm, Collins often felt like she didn’t quite fit in. In 4-H, she found a sense of belonging and an outlet to be her true self. Collins has since completed hundreds of hours of leadership training and dairy-related volunteer work. Through her leadership as 4-H Honor President, Collins created See Yourself in Ag, a program designed to expose diverse and rural youth to the many aspects of agriculture and ag-related careers. Her program has reached more than 672 4-H’ers, successfully introducing a diverse audience of young people to the agricultural industry; 53 percent of participants were female, and 68 percent were young people of color.
- Amiyah Elam, 17, Waycross, Georgia: Self-described as a little girl with a big voice, Amiyah found a way to amplify her voice through Georgia 4-H and its prestigious show choir, Clovers & Company. With a desire to have a positive impact on young girls in her hometown, she developed “I AM,” a nonprofit focused on mentoring at-risk girls by equipping them with opportunities, skills development, and confidence. Elam’s program empowers students through lessons in emotional wellness, self-care, personal finance, and career readiness. Amiyah’s partnership with local nonprofits and professionals in their monthly meetings has instilled confidence and self-worth in the participating girls.
- Harold “Reed” Marcum, 18, McAlester, Oklahoma: After facing struggles around social anxiety and speaking because of his ADHD, Marcum gained confidence and found his voice in 4-H. He used his newfound courage to organize programs to address the needs of his community, organizing multiple annual events including a Book Bag giveaway and Toy Drive that benefit underserved populations in McAlester. After a young neighbor lost his life to pediatric cancer, he started a foundation and organized an annual silent auction to raise funds for pediatric cancer research and supporting affected families. Marcum’s community has rallied around his leadership, allowing him to grow his projects exponentially every year, estimating a total donation and fundraising efforts close to $3.5 million overall.
- Avani Rai, 17, Bloomington, Illinois: After witnessing the shortcomings of addressing food insecurity in her community at a young age, Rai became an integral part of 4-H’s Food Advocacy Team, a youth-led initiative to improve equitable access to healthy foods and champion food security. Avani and team organized healthy food drives, meal packaging events, and educated others through community seminars. Avani later expanded her service to overall healthy living, including mental and physical health through yoga. Reaching all elementary schools in her district, Avani’s ‘Super Yoga’ curriculum has been shared with more than 1,300 children. She has also served on the Illinois Department of Agriculture’s USDA-Sponsored Local Food Purchase committee and spoke on a roundtable alongside Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff and White House Domestic Policy Advisor Susan Rice at the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health.
“The 2024 Youth in Action Awards honor four incredible young people, each of whom are model examples of their generation – embodying a commitment to service, a love of their communities and a passion for leadership that represent the best of 4-H,” said Jill Bramble, President & CEO, National 4-H Council. “We are proud that Cooperative Extension’s 4-H programs have offered Katie, Amiyah, Reed, and Avani these opportunities to lead and tools to succeed, which they have used to make a positive impact on their communities and inspire other 4-H’ers to do the same.”
The 4-H Youth in Action Awards, sponsored in part by Bayer, began in 2010 to recognize young people who overcome challenges and use the knowledge they gain through participation in 4-H to create a lasting impact in their community.
To learn more about Youth in Action, please visit http://4-h.org/parents/4-h-youth-in-action/.
4-H, the nation’s largest youth development organization, grows confident young people who are empowered for life today and prepared for careers tomorrow. 4-H programs empower nearly six million young people across the U.S. through experiences that develop critical life skills. 4-H is the youth development program of our nation’s Cooperative Extension System and USDA and serves every county and parish in the U.S. through a network of 110 public universities and more than 3000 local Extension offices. Globally, 4-H collaborates with independent programs to empower one million youth in 50 countries. The research-backed 4-H experience grows young people who are four times more likely to contribute to their communities; two times more likely to make healthier choices; two times more likely to be civically active; and two times more likely to participate in STEM programs. Learn more about 4‑H at 4-H.org and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Bayer is a global enterprise with core competencies in the Life Science fields of healthcare and agriculture. Its products and services are designed to benefit people and improve their quality of life. At the same time, the Group aims to create value through innovation, growth, and high earning power. Bayer is committed to the principles of sustainable development and to its social and ethical responsibilities as a corporate citizen. In fiscal 2015, the Group employed around 117,000 people and had sales of EUR 46.3 billion. Capital expenditures amounted to EUR 2.6 billion, R&D expenses to EUR 4.3 billion. These figures include those for the high-tech polymers business, which was floated on the stock market as an independent company named Covestro on October 6, 2015. For more information, go to www.bayer.com/.