The Duke of Edinburghâ€™s International Award is pleased to recognize five outstanding participants in the United States with the Infinite Potential Commendation. The organization is the worldâ€™s leading youth achievement program since 1956 and operates in over 130 countries and territories with over one million global participants. These US participants are being celebrated for their demonstration of perseverance, creativity, and high level of achievement while working on their Award.
The Duke of Edinburghâ€™s International Award is a global, personalized youth development program for 14- to 24-year-olds that complements formal classroom learning and focuses on setting progressive goals that build essential life skills such resilience, confidence, creativity, leadership, civic competence, and communication. There are three progressive levels of the Award that when successfully completed lead to a Bronze, Silver, or Gold Award. The Award challenges young people to develop new skills, get physically active, cultivate a sense of adventure in the outdoors, volunteer in their communities, and get outside their comfort zone.
The five Award participants receiving the Infinite Potential Commendation are Ashley Nevison of Kentucky, Ujjani Saha of Massachusetts, Jonathan Sim of Pennsylvania, Amrita Singh of California, and Miriam Talalay of Maryland. They were selected for their exceptional work on their Award programs out of over 1,000 US participants. Each of their inspirational stories were documented in a video series that was featured on Award USAâ€™s social media channels and website, and they will be receiving their commendation certificates on February 4th, 2022. â€śWe are delighted to recognize the contributions of these five extraordinary young peopleâ€ť said Buffy Higgins-Beard, CEO of The Duke of Edinburghâ€™s International Award USA. â€śWe are inspired by their efforts and celebrate the impact of their work for themselves and their communities. We are honored to hear their stories of achievement and celebrate their persistence, resilience, personal development and community involvement.â€ť
Ashley Nevison is a Silver Award participant and a freshman in high school in Louisville, Kentucky. As part of the skills section of the Award, she has published several childrenâ€™s books dealing with topics such as diversity, service, and bullying. She is currently working on her fourth childrenâ€™s book. Ashley explained that setting goals to work on the program â€śreally pushed me to get my books published. I donâ€™t think I would have been able to get my two books published in 26 weeks without the Award.â€ť For the service section of the Award, Ashley is committed to making an impact in her community. Ashley started her own nonprofit group, Sargeantâ€™s Army, that provides hygiene bags filled with toiletries for people experiencing homelessness. To date, Ashley has provided over 16,000 hygiene bags to the community. Ashley also organized a nationwide outerwear drive in November that collected over 1,610 items for donation.
Ujjaini Saha is a senior at the British International School of Boston. She is a Bronze and Silver Award Holder and is currently working on her Gold Award. For the service section of the Award, she volunteered at her schoolâ€™s aftercare program where she worked with young children. When the pandemic separated her from her school and the children she mentored, Ujjaini found a new way to serve, becoming a Digital Transcriber for the Smithsonian Institute where she worked to make historical documents and biodiversity data more accessible to the public. Ujjaini explains the positive impact the Award had on her. She said, â€śIn completing the requirements of the Award, I learned to strive for higher goals and to be more ambitious, which I had previously struggled with. In terms of skills, I have not only learned to be more resilient when faced with challenges, but also learned to be more confident about myself and become a better communicator.â€ť
Jonathan Sim is a senior at Central Bucks High School South in Warrington, Pennsylvania. He is a Bronze Award Holder and is currently working on his Silver Award at the Philadelphia Outward Bound School. For the skills section of the Award, he learned web design and coding. He also volunteered at the Free Library of Philadelphia and now tutors English online to a student in Venezuela through a youth-led nonprofit, SynYouth. Jonathan explains how his work on the Award broadened his perspective on himself, others, and his community. He said, â€śI now recognize the importance of health and wellbeing while balancing academics, extracurriculars, and everything else significant in my life.â€ť Jonathan also explains the impact of the voluntary service aspect of the Award. He said, â€śThis experience has helped me to recognize the quality of life throughout other parts of the world, which has opened my mind to the work that needs to be done to improve the world for all. Without the award, I would not have learned and acknowledged the critical values I now know today.â€ť
Recent college graduate Amitra Singh of El Dorado Hills, California is Bronze Award holder and is currently working on her Silver Award. For her physical recreation section, she was part of a dance team at her university and is currently working on a solo performance of Bhangra (Indian Folk Dance). For her adventurous journey, she studied the effects of tourism on the natural landscape of Lake Tahoe. Amrita described how the Award supported and challenged her to achieve her goals: â€śWhen I first started my Award, I was a recent college graduate and was navigating entering the professional world, while also trying to continue my personal hobbies and interests. The Award pushed me to continue to be involved in activities that I enjoyed and to try new things. The way the program is designed, having an Award leader to guide you through completing the Award and having assessors or mentors for each section of the program, gave me the chance to share my goals with other people who can support me and help me to achieve them. I can see within myself personal growth and development over time.â€ť
Miriam Talalay completed her Bronze and Silver Award and is a senior at Dulaney High School in Timonium, Maryland. For the voluntary service aspect of the Award, she spent over 3,000 hours fostering more than 200 animals through the Maryland SPCA in Baltimore. Miriam appreciates being part of a global community while working on the Award. She said, â€śThrough the Award, I have learned to think bigger. The Award made me realize that I am part of an international community. I love knowing that, as I work toward my goals, others around the country and around the word are working toward their goals. The Award kept me motivated and organized.â€ť Miriam has been recognized by Governor Hogan of Maryland and Points of Light for her contributions to animal welfare.
Congratulations to the five young people receiving the Infinite Potential Commendation from The Duke of Edinburghâ€™s International Award.
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For more information, case studies or Award content in the United States, contact Lisa Metzger-Mugg, Vice President of Program and Operations at firstname.lastname@example.org or 773.209.5958.
Note to Editors on The Duke of Edinburghâ€™s International Award USA
- The Duke of Edinburghâ€™s International Award is the worldâ€™s leading youth achievement award, equipping young people for life. With a proven framework operating in more than 130 countries and territories around the world, the Award is available for all young people ages 14 to 24, regardless of their background, culture, physical ability, skills and interests. It is a fully inclusive program and has no social, political or religious affiliations.
- Its US division,#AwardUSA,Â is now in its fifth year, established in 2016.
- As todayâ€™s young people face the unprecedented challenges from COVID-19 and beyond, as well as calls to address racial injustice, the Award is dedicated to ensuring that young people will have what they need for the future: to benefit from great non-formal education and learning.
- The Duke of Edinburghâ€™s International Award is a global, non-formal education framework which challenges young people to develop new skills, get physically active, learn about teamwork and leadership through adventurous journey and volunteer within their communities.
- It was founded by HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh in 1956, in conjunction with German educationalist Kurt Hahn and Lord Hunt.
- There are currently more than a million young people completing their own unique Award program, via hundreds of thousands of youth-focused partners and operators, including schools, youth organizations, examination boards and youth offender
- For more information on the impact of the International Award, including recent social value analysis, please visitÂ https://usaward.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Changing-Lives-in-the-Changing-World_PwC-Report_June-2019.pdf
- National and international case studies, imagery and additional video content are available on request.
Links to Individual Infinite Potential Commendation Videos