The Reiser Youth Service Awards, awarded annually, recognize and celebrate extraordinary youth volunteerism and community engagement by metro Atlanta youth. In doing so, the CVC honors Carol Reiser’s visionary legacy by instilling the spirit of community and purpose to inspire the next generation of service-oriented leaders.
2021 Reiser Award Chair: Lauren Abbott, King & Spalding
Congratulations to our 2021 Carol D. Reiser Youth Service Award Winners!
2021 Elementary Winner: Rose Marie Robbins
Rose Marie Robbins, a 9-year old who attends Barack H. Obama Elementary Magnet School of Technology, was concerned about the wellbeing of unhoused neighbors in her community, so she decided to do something about it by filling backpacks with useful items. In one month, she distributed more than 200 Blessing Bags of Warmth which included hygiene products, food and a warm blanket. She learned that when we work together, we can do great things!
2021 Middle School Winner: Chris "C.J." Matthews
CJ Matthews, a 14-year old who attends Luella Middle School, is a sports enthusiast and community advocate who hosts an annual “Giving Bowl” charitable 7-on-7 flag football game and blanket/food drive for "Blankies 4 My Buddies." During COVID, he decided that “kindness has not been cancelled” and persevered with his event. On event day, more than 50 participants donated 1,000 blankets and fed 500 hungry people. Chris also recently published a book, And Then There Was One: A Story to Help Kids Cope With Grief and Loss.
2021 High School Winners: Kara Stevens and Gabrielle Tobin
Typically, the Reiser Award committee selects only one winner for each age group. However, in 2021, the committee recommended co-winners!
Kara Stevens, a 16-year old student of The Westminster Schools, recognized that during the pandemic, many children with Downs Syndrome were falling behind with critical skills such as crawling, walking and talking due to lack of ability to attend in-person physical therapy sessions. Her solution? She created a lending library of physical therapy equipment with instructions for families to use at home in partnership with Gigi’s Playhouse. Kara also raised $3,000 through grants and sponsorships to help purchase the equipment and is currently President of Gigi’s Playhouse’s Junior Board.
Gabrielle Tobin, a 15-year old who attends The Lovett School spent more than 230 hours creating “For Math’s Sake: Peer-to-Peer Videos” to improve math proficiency for 6th graders in Georgia and beyond for her Girl Scout Gold project. She spent an extra 40 hours translating these videos into Spanish so that she could reach more students. To date, her math videos have been utilized by more than 13,000 students in Georgia, North Carolina and The Bahamas and are accessible to millions more thanks to recent coverage on Good Morning America! Gabrielle also founded the 40 Mustard Seeds Foundation so that she can build support to continue this important work.
Congratulations to our 2021 Carol D. Reiser Youth Service Award Finalists!
Elementary School: 10-year-olds Zoie Tilford and Aubrey Johnson learned that there is a high failure rate for recently homed rescue dogs. They hosted a supply drive and were able to create 25 “welcome home” kits for recently adopted dogs to help them adjust and be successful in their new homes. They also donated surplus supplies to Dirt Road Doggies Rescue.
Middle School: 11 and 12-year-old Girl Scouts, Anne deShazor, Sophia Williams, Rachel Weitz, Katherine Kringelis, Alex Pruvenok, Kate Benson and Ava Memmolo decided to support homeless animals in their community by supporting local nonprofit, FurKids. These determined Scouts hosted a donation drive for a local thrift store benefiting Fur Kids and also hosted a yoga-a-thon to help raise much needed funds for animals in need.
High School: 16-year-old Sabrina Yeh realized early in the pandemic that remote support systems for family members with differences were not sufficient. She decided to do something about it, and initiated an online program for True Love for Special Need Families. She started a virtual book club for 5thgraders, a get-up-and-move club, soft skill club, special Toastmasters club and sibling-to-sibling club for the young people served by True Love. Sabrina organized friends and trained 70 new volunteers to provide more than 280 hours of online programming, a truly impressive undertaking.
The Corporate Volunteer Council of Atlanta (CVC) is proud to present the third annual Carol D. Reiser Youth Service Awards, named in loving memory of CVC co-founder and past president, Carol Reiser. Reiser enjoyed a long career with Rich’s/Macy’s and established the company's innovative “Partners in Time” volunteer program, which is still active today.
The Youth Service Awards, awarded annually, recognize and celebrate extraordinary youth volunteerism and community engagement. In doing so, CVC honors Carol Reiser’s visionary legacy by instilling the spirit of community and purpose to inspire the next generation of service-oriented leaders.
Winners will be awarded with a $500 personal stipend and a $1,500 donation in their name to the valid 501c3 nonprofit or accredited school of their choice.
Note: If a group is selected as the winner, the group members will split the $500 personal stipend and decide as a group on the charity which will receive the $1500 donation.
Winners will be recognized onstage with a check presentation ceremony at the CVC’s annual Holiday Luncheon in December
Winners will also be recognized at next year's CVC IMPACT Awards (fall of 2022)
Winners will also be featured on CVC's social media, website, and other publications
AWARD CRITERIA & GUIDELINES
Applicants must be school-aged youth (individuals or groups) ages 6 - 18 living in or attending school in the Metro Atlanta area (Butts, Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, Coweta, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Forsyth, Fulton, Gwinnett, Henry, Paulding or Rockdale)
Applicants must have displayed extraordinary service to their community through unpaid acts of service benefiting others (inclusive of virtual volunteerism)
Applicants must be able to demonstrate clear impact through their service and/or community engagement efforts
All or part of the service must have been completed within the last 12 months (service can be ongoing)
The nomination should be completed by the young person. If the applicant requires special assistance, a trusted adult may help capture and input their words.
*The 2021 application period is now closed. Please check back in 2022 for our next award cycle.*
Congratulations to our 2020 Carol D. Reiser Youth Service Award Winners!
2020 Elementary Winner: Izzy McMillan
Isabelle "Izzy" McMillan, an 8-year old, 3rd grader at Ruth Hill Elementary School, saw a way to give back when she realized that many kids in her community might not be able to attend an exciting upcoming student program. Camp Invention Connect, sponsored by the National Inventors Hall of Fame, requires tuition to attend, and Izzy wanted to make sure that all students in her community could afford to attend. Izzy prepared her pitch and went out to local businesses to request donations and raise money for students who could not afford the tuition. Izzy was able to raise nearly $2000, enabling 10 of her classmates to attend. Izzy will share her $1,500 honorarium gift with the National Inventors Hall of Fame, allowing 8 classmates to attend their upcoming camp session!
2020 Middle School Winner: Harrison Williams
Harrison Williams, a 13-year old, 8th grader at Lost Mountain Middle School and Boy Scout, wanted to help keep staff and students at local schools safe as they returned to in-person schooling in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Harrison and his friends made hand sanitizer foot pumps out of PVC pipe, then donated them to four local schools, benefitting thousands of students, teachers, and staff. Harrison is now teaching others how to make the foot pumps so that he can help more school communities across Metro Atlanta. Harrison will share his $1,500 honorarium gift with Family Promise of Cobb County.
2020 High School Winner: Bethany Gibson
Bethany Gibson, an18-year old senior at The Campus, found a unique way to benefit those facing hardship, by creating "B's Pet Food Pantries" in local neighborhoods to support pet owners that may be struggling to make ends meet. Bethany was inspired when she learned that pet abandonment was particularly high at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Knowing the importance of pets to mental wellness and stability, Bethany’s goal was to help struggling pet owners afford to keep their beloved pets. Bethany’s pet food pantries, available in 10 pantries across the Metro Atlanta area, are stocked with various types of dog and cat food and have benefitted over 200 pet families to date. Bethany will share her $1,500 honorarium gift with Grace Community Fellowship Church Pantry to help feed more hungry Atlantans and their pets.
Congratulations to our 2020 Finalists:
Katelyn Jones, a 10-year old 5th grader at Cliftondale Elementary School, wanted to address in-school bullying and make schools more inclusive. Along with members of her Girl Scout Troop, Katelyn built and installed Buddy Benches for students at Chattahoochee Hills Charter School. These Buddy Benches serve as a safe space for a student to go when they feel left out or need help.
Kate Ding, an 11-year old 6th grader at SKA Academy of Art & Design, was inspired by the COVID-19 pandemic to start the One More Kit, One Less Hungry Child Project. Through the project, she has funded, assembled, and distributed 200 emergency hunger kits, which include healthy snacks, water, hygiene items, and an uplifting card. These packs have been distributed to children in need in Kate’s community.
Shelby Mullen, a 16-year-old junior at Our Lady of Mercy Catholic High School, created a program called “Get Safe with Your Girl Shelby: Water Safety Essentials” following the death of a classmates’ brother by drowning. The program, through digital platforms, an annual water safety community fair, summer camp workshops, and a YouTube web series and channel, aims to increase awareness of drowning prevention by providing water safety trainings to kids between the ages of 5 and 13 years old.
Sofia Varmeziar, a 17-year-old senior at Starr’s Mill High School, worked with her local police department to educate elementary school students on the dangers of vaping. Sofia did extensive research on the dangers of vaping and the response to peer pressure, and lead 2 educational Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) sessions for 66 5th graders at Oak Grove Elementary School. Sofia also created a companion educational website and donated her lesson plans to the police department for future use.
Congratulations to our 2019 Carol D. Reiser Youth Service Award Winners!
(Left to Right: Temple Lester, Augusta Dailey Martin, Presley Lemons)
2019 Elementary Winner: Presley Lemons
Presley Lemons is a 5th grade student at Heirway Christian Academy. Through her own experience getting her period for the first time at 10 years old, Presley learned that few girls her age even knew what it was, and many didn’t have the support that she received from her mother to learn more. When she began watching documentaries on the topic, Presley discovered that some girls do not have access to the feminine hygiene products that she does every day. Through her research, Presley was introduced to The Homeless Period Project and their efforts to collect supplies and pack baggies to provide to girls who can’t afford or don’t have access to these products. Presley regularly attends "Period Parties" with her mom and they collect the supplies and the funds required to pack feminine hygiene bags for girls in need. Presley is speaking up publicly about a topic that most adults don’t even talk about in private! She brings her message to her school, her church, and any group she can to end the stigma associated with menstruation and to garner donations of these much needed products. Presley plans to donate her $1,500 grant to The Homeless Period Project and to continue her good work speaking out.
2019 Middle School Winner: Temple Lester
Temple Lester is in the 7th grade at Midtown International School and her mission is to make sure young people – especially girls and minorities – learn that science is cool and fun! Temple conducts free STEM workshops, experiments and programs for youth throughout Metropolitan Atlanta. Temple calls her movement “STEM Girl Swag” and she has a website and social media channels that encourage others to get involved in learning more about science-related fields and careers. Temple has shared her love of science as an exhibitor and speaker for STEM events in the community, and by speaking to more than 1,500 science teachers from across Georgia at the Science Teacher Association annual conference. She has also provided STEM workshops and demonstrations for more than 2,500 young people. Temple is currently working on developing a Science Box to provide to underprivileged kids so that they can have their very own science kit. Now THAT is what we call STEM Girl Swag! Temple plans to donate her $1,500 grant to Sheltering Arms Early Education and Family Center where she has volunteered and provided science workshops for 3 to 5 year olds.
2019 Middle School Winner: Augusta Dailey Martin
Augusta Dailey Martin is a 12th grader at Lakeside High School. Her simple act with a big impact was inspired by one interaction with a fellow student who she learned was homeless. Augusta created a Care Closet for students at her school who do not have consistent access to food, clothes and personal hygiene products. It started with one small location and has grown to two locations that serve more than 800 students who need assistance through the free or reduced lunch program at her school. This program also provides for students who might not exactly fit the government requirements for assistance but still may have a need. No one is turned away from the Care Closet! Augusta created flyers for her school, developed a website as well as several student surveys to help spread awareness about the need. She recruited volunteers from school clubs to run the Care Closet and she regularly speaks at churches and community groups to raise the funds and donated items needed to support the current locations as well as a planned third, larger closet. Imagine the impact if, like Augusta, everyone did just one thing to help the person next to them! Augusta is donating her $1,500 grant to Lakeside Foundation to pay for additional items in the Care Closet.
Congratulations to our 2019 Finalists:
Pamelyn Rose Rubin, an 8th grader at Duluth Middle School, raised more than $3,500 selling baked goods, homemade crafts, scrunchies, hats, scarves, and more to support the efforts of PlannedPEThood, a non-profit veterinary clinic, to spay and neuter stray cats.
Schena Pace, and a team of fellow Girl Scouts, all 7th to 9th graders, learned to sew and conducted sewing workshops -- surpassing their goal of creating 50 hats for cancer patients going through chemotherapy.
Skye Walker, a 12th grade student at North Atlanta High School, established H20 Life, a program designed to address the lack of access and affordability of swimming and water safety training and the drowning disparity among the African American community.
Information on the Carol D. Reiser Youth Service Award Nomination Process
The Corporate Volunteer Council of Atlanta (CVC) established the Carol D. Reiser Youth Service Award, named in loving memory of CVC co-founder and past president, Carol Reiser, in 2019. Reiser enjoyed a long career with Rich’s/Macy’s and established the company's innovative “Partners in Time” volunteer program, which is still active today.
The Youth Service Award recognizes and celebrates extraordinary youth volunteerism and community engagement. In doing so, CVC honors Carol Reiser’s visionary legacy by instilling the spirit of community and purpose to inspire the next generation of service-oriented leaders.
AWARD CRITERIA & GUIDELINES
Deadline: Sunday, October 18, 2020 (10:00 p.m.)
Note: If you do not have reliable Internet access and are unable to submit an online application, you may submit a manual application.
Contact Cheryl Kortemeier for details at 404-889-5112.
Carol D. Reiser Children's Book Award
Before the Carol D. Reiser Youth Service Award was established in 2019, the CVC presented an annual children's book award called the Carol D. Reiser Children's Book Award. This award has been discontinued. Please see below for an overview of our past winners, and please support these wonderful authors by purchasing their books!