Celebrating our Student Heroes
This month, the YESS Institute awarded $1,000 cash prizes to three Denver-area students for their volunteer efforts, making them the first-ever recipients of the YESS Hero Challenge Scholarship. The YESS Hero Challenge recognizes local students who have taken steps to create positive change in their community, supporting the YESS vision that students become caring and productive members in their communities. The $1,000 Scholarships were made possible through the generosity of the Lori Rickert Insurance Agency, State Farm.
“These students are the next generation of leaders,” said Carlo Kriekels, Co-Founder and Executive Director of YESS. “We received dozens of incredible nominations for this award, just in its first year. That says a lot about our local students—when communities have active, engaged citizens who give back through volunteering, everyone wins.”
The 2021 YESS Hero Challenge Scholarship Recipients include:
Skarlett Cha, Tennyson Knolls at Westminster Schools
A strong believer that little things can make a big difference, Skarlett Cha serves her local Denver-area community by teaching and supporting younger students from pre-K to 5th grade through academic tutoring activities and playing outdoors with them. Skarlett also helps clean up her neighborhood by picking up trash and encouraging others to do the same. Giving back to her community is an important part of her life.
"It has always been a passion of mine to be able to help where I am needed, especially working with other kids."Skarlett Cha
Avery Hudson, George Washington High School
After conducting a survey regarding high schoolers’ attitudes toward rape and sexual assault culture that generated almost 2,000 responses, Avery Hudson initiated a campaign to change the sexual education curriculum at the state level. By hosting peer education workshops, lobbying legislators and creating awareness videos, she hopes to create better sexual health training in her local community and eventually everywhere. To read more about Avery's efforts, check out her published article here on the Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault (CCASA) webpage.
"My goals include furthering my knowledge on how to implement sexual health training in my local communities, and eventually everywhere."Avery Hudson
Kaitlyn Nguyen, Tennyson Knolls at Westminster Schools
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Kaitlyn Nguyen has regularly served her Denver-area community. Some of her volunteer work included helping older residents with chores around their house and assisting with local food and clothing drives for people experiencing homelessness. In addition to these efforts, Kaitlyn and also works with younger students as a teacher’s helper, volleyball coach and academic tutor.
"I will always ask others if they need help. The best thing about helping younger students is watching them improve and get better."Kaitlyn Nguyen
The YESS Institute commends the heroic deeds described in all of the 2021 YESS Hero Challenge Scholarship applications. It is clear that students give back to their communities in a variety of ways, and we have every confidence that they will continue positively impacting those communities while embracing the values of YESS.
“At YESS, our philosophy focuses on creating leadership from within, engaging students with trained peer mentors who share their ‘cultural zip code’,” added Kriekels. “But it doesn’t stop once they finish high school. We want to help students build skills and connections that will assist in supporting them throughout their lives to help build better communities.”
The YESS Hero Challenge Scholarship will be held annually. All general scholarship inquiries can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Interested in learning more about the YESS Institute? Click here to read about the many impactful programs offered by the YESS Institute.