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35th Annual Chemung County Youth Bureau Awards

2018 Chemung County Youth Bureau Award Winners

ELMIRA - Each year the Chemung County Youth Bureau and Board, recognize the good work of individuals and agencies in delivering quality youth services in Chemung County. Tuesday evening, Chemung County Executive Tom Santulli and Youth Bureau Director Bob Harris presented the awards at the 35th Annual Awards Reception at the Clemens Center in Elmira.

The Donahoe Award is given annually to an adult to recognize and honor outstanding contributions made to the youth and families of this community.  The award was established in 1984 and is named in honor of its first recipient, the Honorable Judge Daniel J. Donahoe. The 2017 Donahoe Award was presented to Anita Lewis.

Anita began working for the Economic Opportunity Program in 2000 as the Director of the Ernie Davis Community Center. Early on, she became a driving force at the Center to serve the needs of youth and families in our community and provide them with the tools they need to succeed. Today, she is the Vice President of Donor and Community Relations for the Economic Opportunity Program. If you have ever had any interaction with the EOP Ernie Davis Community Center, New Day/Center for Excellence, Community Food for Jobs Program, Head Start or the Energy Service Bureau, then chances are very good that you have seen or worked with Anita Lewis.

Anita serves as a role model who inspires our area’s youth in ways that are delivered not only through direct interaction with them, but also through a strong, dedicated work ethic that frequently finds this individual in action well into the evenings and weekends to help our young citizens overcome their difficult challenges.

She is the devoted wife of Terry, and mother of Payton. She serves on several community boards such as ARC and Community Dispute Resolution. She is an entrepreneur and has her own small business as well as being a vocalist in her band “Top Shelf”.   

2018 Donahoe Award Winner - Anita Lewis and Company

 2018 Donahoe Award Winner - Anita Lewis

The Summer Cohesion Synergy Award was established in 2004 to recognize an individual, group or organization that has best demonstrated or exemplified the overall true meaning of partnership and collaboration as it affects the Chemung County Summer Cohesion Program. The 2018 Summer Cohesion Synergy Award was given to Chemung County Buildings and Grounds and John Herrick for the Harris Hill Park and Pool.   

Each summer, between 12 and 14 field trips are scheduled and over 500 Summer Cohesion kids enjoy a day at the park. Kids line up to take the swimming test hoping to pass and wear the coveted ‘green’ wristband to be in the deep end but mostly they just want to play in the kiddie pool. The daily amount of work it takes to maintain the largest pool in Chemung County is no easy task but it is greatly appreciated and has meant so much to the kids in Summer Cohesion. 

2018 Summer Cohesion Synergy 2 

The Program Excellence Award recognizes the special efforts of local youth service projects, programs, and events.  The award was established in 1987. Nominees and Certificate of Recognition winners for the Program Excellence Award included CASA – Trinity Prevention Services, the Ernie Davis Community Center Music Consortium, Gold Shoe Step It Up Challenge and March Out Hunger. This year’s award winner is the The GST BOCES Culinary Arts Program at the Bush Campus.

For the past 45 years this program has introduced students to careers in food service and teaches them the basic skills and knowledge they need for success in this industry. On the job training and experience coupled with a dynamic and comprehensive curriculum fuel this program. High school students experience all aspects of operating and managing a food service establishment and build good business and management skills that are transferrable to other industries. The course content for this program is aligned with National Restaurant Association standards and the curriculum is based on Pro Start through the New York State Restaurant Association Education Foundation.

In this program students are introduced to food & workplace safety, kitchen essentials, stocks, soups & sauces, communication, management essentials, fruits & vegetables, service, potatoes and grains, building a successful career in the industry, breakfast foods & sandwiches, nutrition, cost control, salads & garnishing, purchasing & inventory, meat, poultry & seafood, marketing, deserts, sustainability & global cuisine. In addition, this program maintains articulation agreements with several post-secondary centers for learning to include the Culinary Institute of America.

In 2015, students in this program received 1st place in the NYS Restaurant Association Educational Foundation ProStart Invitational held at the Culinary Institute of America. In 2016, they received 2nd place and this year again received 2nd place in the state level invitational.

As with any program what often makes the distinguished difference is the staff that operate the program and have the day to day contact and interaction with its participants. The GST BOCES Culinary Program is no different and is extremely fortunate to have an outstanding culinary instructor, Karen Mecum that goes above and beyond each and every day and has a wonderful connection with her students.

 2018 Program Excellence

The Polly Sanders Youth Scholarship was established in 1995 for youth who have made a unique or significant contribution to the community or who have overcome a major obstacle in their personal life.   In 2002, the Chemung County Youth Bureau and Board renamed this scholarship in honor of Chemung County’s first Youth Bureau Director, Polly Sanders, who was a strong advocate for youth.  The two $750 scholarships were awarded to Mystyca’ Lynn Neu and Ashley Shultz.

Mystyca’ Lynn Neu is a senior at Elmira High School. She is also a student in the GST BOCES Culinary Arts Program at Bush Campus. Mystica is a member of the National Honor Society and National Technical Honor Society. She has worked very hard to gain a place in the top 20% of her class.  Mystica is the granddaughter of Sandy and Tom Slaght. She will graduate from Elmira High school this June and looks forward to attending Corning or Tompkins Cortland Community College in the fall. Mystyca plans on pursuing a career in the field of Business and Hospitality.

Mystica has participated in numerous community service projects and her dream is to someday own her own bakery. She is being recognized this evening for her extraordinary level of resiliency and her ability to transform the personal challenges in her life into building blocks of character and strength that has helped to shape the outstanding individual and role model she is today.

2018 Polly Sanders Scholar - Mystyca Lynn Nia 2


Ashley Shultz is a senior at Waverly High School. Ashley is the daughter of Joan Shultz and the late Tim Shultz. She will graduate from Waverly High School this June and plans to attend St. Bonaventure University in the fall where she intends on pursuing a degree in Elementary Education.

Ashley demonstrates a perfect balance in her academic achievements, extra-curricular activities, community service and youth leadership opportunities. She is an honor student and member of the National Honor Society, a four year participant of the senior high concert and marching bands, a member of the Waverly High School Leadership CREW Program and an active member of Chemung County 4-H. Ashley is being recognized this evening for her outstanding school and community citizenship and standing as a role model for other youth in our community.

2018 Polly Sanders Scholar - Ashley Shultz 2


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Chemung County
203 Lake Street
Elmira, NY 14901

County Executive Christopher Moss