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Rockstar Awards 2019: Open for Nominations

Know some awesome people and organizations doing great work with youth? Now’s your chance to celebrate them.

Youth MOVE National presents the Rockstar Awards to people and organizations who have made an outstanding contribution toward the improvement of youth or youth-serving systems—like mental health, juvenile justice, education, and child welfare.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • There are award categories for youth, for advocates for youth, and for professionals. Read the descriptions to find the category that best fits your nominee.
  • Rockstar Awards can be given posthumously.
  • Self-nominating is encouraged!
  • Rockstar Award recipients do not need to be Youth MOVE members.
  • Current members of the Youth MOVE National Board of Directors and National Leadership Team are not eligible, neither are previous Rockstar Award recipients.
  • The deadline to nominate is Wednesday, July 31, at 11:59 p.m. PDT

Find the official rules here.

Watch the 2017 Rockstar Informational Webinar recording to learn more about the categories, how to submit a successful nomination, and what exactly we mean by health equity in regards to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Award for Health Equity.

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Award for Health Equity

This is our fourth year partnering with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to present the Award for Health Equity.

This award is presented to a Rockstar (one person or a team of two people) who has made health equity their priority. They’ve successfully broken down health disparity barriers and improved outcomes for youth via a systems-change approach. We aim to recognize work particularly done in the area of access to quality care, education, employment, income, community environment, housing, and public safety.

Plus, the recipient(s) of this award will receive a $3,000 unrestricted* cash prize! 

(*That means you can do whatever you want with it.)


  • Nominees must be citizens or legal residents of the United States;
  • Thirteen (13) years of age or older;
  • Not a trustee, director, officer, stakeholder, employee, contractor, agent, representative, affiliate of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Youth MOVE National, selection committee, or the spouse/domestic partner, parent, sibling, child, or grandchild of any of the foregoing;
  • Have not previously received any Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Award for Health Equity from any sponsor organization in any year.

Tricialouise Gurley-Millard Youth Advocate of the Year

If you know a 14–29-year-old with experience in youth-serving systems (including the mental health system, juvenile justice, education system, and child welfare) who has used their voice as an advocate, we want to hear about them. If they’ve had any outstanding contribution in youth-led projects and groups aimed to increase awareness of these systems, then we really want to hear about them!

This Rockstar has been recognized amongst their peers and adults alike for their exemplary leadership skills and commitment to authentic representation of youth voice through advocacy, social media, creative arts, youth supports groups, or any other activity.

Marlene Matarese Advocate for Youth of the Year

This champion for youth voice has outstanding relationships with youth because they are committed to being a support person for youth involved in systems-change advocacy. They’ve shown an outstanding contribution in facilitating youth voice by being involved in youth-led projects, trainings, and other activities. This Rockstar may have once been a youth advocate, but is now ensuring the next generation of youth leaders have their voices heard.

Dr. Gary M. Blau Professional of the Year

This award is for the—ahem—experienced professionals in the field. Think of the seasoned professional who has shown a career-long dedication to the youth movement. They’ve spent much of their life’s work ensuring youth voice is meaningfully and authentically integrated into what they do. They’re committed to youth engagement and they’ve shown it in any number of ways: through exceptional creativity, innovation, leadership, scholarship, or something else completely out of the box.

We also aim to recognize any professionals who have completed outstanding research or published works that contribute to further understanding authentic youth voice engagement as well as a teacher in the field of social services or a closely related field.

Organization of the Year

This organization is leading the way in authentic youth engagement work. When you think “youth-driven,” you think of this organization. They’re recognized as the standard for promoting youth voice in all levels of the organization.

This can be shown in a lot of ways, but particularly through written policies and procedures, presence of youth on governing authorities, and as reported by youth in the program.

Continued support of a recognized Youth MOVE chapter through the creation of youth and adult partnerships doesn’t hurt, either.

Youth MOVE Chapter of the Year

This is where we get to brag just a bit. This award goes to a recognized Youth MOVE chapter in good standing for at least one (1) year. This chapter is respected within their statewide or local community as a youth-run group that upholds the mission and vision of Youth MOVE National.

They’re committed to authentic youth voice and have shown this commitment through various activities involving advocacy, social media, creative arts, youth support groups, and more!

This chapter has participated in innovating thinking that contributed to the field of youth engagement and increased awareness of best practices of mental health, juvenile justice, education, or child welfare issues.

In short, this exemplary chapter is doing some pretty impressive work.

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