Rockstar Awards 2021
Welcome to the Rockstar Awards for 2021
Since 2011, Youth MOVE National has presented the Rockstar Awards to youth advocates, advocates for youth, and organizations who have made great strides in improving the lives of youth and youth-serving systems. We are ready to celebrate youth who are taking action across the nation with our 2021 awards.
Check out the 2020 Rockstar Page & the 2020 RAVE Roundup to see past awardees and achievements of youth making change!
Watch the 2021 RAVE
Meet the 2021 Rockstars!
Jo Dee Nicosia
Gary M. Blau Professional of the Year
Jo Dee Nicosia is the Director of Programs with the Pinellas County, Florida, affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and serves as the supportive adult to the Youth MOVE Pinellas chapter. In this capacity, she supports youth and young adults who lead collaborative community projects to improve and increase the volume of youth voice within systems of care. For 20 years, she has developed as a social services professional with extensive experience in mental health education, system of care and coalition building, program development, coordination, and evaluation. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Western Illinois University. Mrs. Nicosia is married and is the mother of two beautiful daughters, a Freshman at Florida Atlantic University and a first grader. Her lived experience as a caregiver to her loved ones has gained her the credential of a Certified Recovery Peer Specialist with a family endorsement.
Her work of passion is promoting awareness and enhancing access to recovery services which improve the overall wellness in the community. She advocates for consumer-driven systems and has invested her time to be a trainer, facilitator, and coach for the High-Fidelity Wraparound process. One of her many talents includes bridging the linguistic communication gap between individuals who do not understand the professional speak within our systems of care. This attribute has earned her a reputation of being a fierce advocate for peers, individuals with lived experiences. Jo Dee has several leadership awards from the Girl Scouts of West Central Florida, where learning by doing is the model to engage youth. However, learning the ladder of youth engagement through Youth MOVE National allowed for the extension of her advocacy pathway for so many youth and young adult peers to find their voice. To that end, she is so honored to be a recipient of the 2021 Gary Blau Professional of the Year Award
Check Out Jo Dee’s Rockstar Spotlight!
Kenisha E. Anthony
Marlene Matarese Advocate for Youth of the Year Award
Kenisha E. Anthony is a child welfare professional, award-winning foster care advocate, and author. Known for being resilient and bold, she’s an outspoken activist utilizing her experiences to empower others. As a foster care visionary, she published her eye-opening memoir, LABELED, and starred in the documentary, Foster Shock. Kenisha has been featured in notable publications such as NPR, Essence Magazine, The Miami Times, and The Miami Herald. When she isn’t working, you can find Kenisha trying something new or sharing memorable moments with family and friends. You can visit her online at www.kenishaanthony.com.
Rose Amina Daniels
Tricialouise Gurley-Millard Youth Advocate of the Year Award
Moving from Long Island, New York to Wilkes-Barre Pennsylvania in 2016 where I began working with youth at the Catholic Youth Center. In 2017 I decided to speak up and advocate for enriching activities for the newly opened Youth Drop-in program after hearing about struggles the teens were facing outside of the program. This advocacy led me to become the program coordinator and truly invigorate the teens the way I knew would truly make a difference. From there I was inclined to look into working for the systems of care grant as a youth task lead in 2018. In my role I was in charge of a leadership group called Youth Advocacy Squad where we met 2 times a month to discuss ways to improve mental health services in our county with eachother and with professionals taking part in our grant initiative. We also ran support groups as well as empowerment groups with local group homes and homeless shelters for youth. Today I am still running the youth drop-in as well as a new position called Cultural Implementation & youth Engagement specialist. Our focus is on building diversity in our systems of care in our community that truly represent the people who reside here. I am also currently studying Fine Arts in hopes to become an artist for change through my community arts program Breakout Art Movement which is focused on uplifting the youth through creativity as well as giving people of all ages safe, fun, and intellectually stimulating community experiences.
Youth MOVE Minnesota
Chapter of the Year Award
As co-coordinators of Youth MOVE Minnesota, Matt Organisak Jenson (they/them) and Mariah Larkin (they/them) have had somewhat of an uphill battle. After launching their programming at the end of February 2020, all the plans they had developed needed to pivot very quickly in order to continue in the face of the global pandemic. With artists backgrounds in theatre and dance, the new programming focus quickly emerged: an online magazine featuring the artwork of Minnesota youth artists; Youth Voices of Experience. Alongside their Youth Advisory Council, Jenson and Larkin developed a process by which youth artists would have the opportunity to work alongside a professional artist mentor, deepen their artistic process, and receive commissions for the pieces they developed. With the magazine well underway, the Youth Advisory Council shifted their focus to develop additional content for youth, as well as expand their own understanding around how our mental health care systems work today, and the many ways they can make a difference. With a series of guest speakers, as well as an upcoming video series, Youth MOVE Minnesota is setting its sights on the continued development and support of youth mental health advocates through a wide variety of content and program opportunities.
Organization of the Year Award
Teenage siblings Shreyaa Venkat, 19, and Esha Venkat, 16, co-founded 501©3 nonprofit NEST4US as a philanthropic platform built upon kindness, generosity, and social good. As Gen-Z social activists and nonprofit leaders, they advance dialogue and inspire others to take action in local, national, and global communities. Through NEST4US, they tackle a plethora of societal issues that focus on global hunger, climate change, quality education, poverty, sustainability, women empowerment, equity, and more through NEST4US’ five core programs (NEST Nurtures, NEST Tutors, NEST Kares, NEST Buddies, and NEST Inspires). In just five years, their volunteer family has grown to over 2,500 people of all ages and backgrounds who have contributed over 1 million dollars in value of volunteer hours!
As Points of Light Youth Network Leaders, Giving Tuesday Spark Chapter Heads, Be Strong Global Representatives, Good Deeds Day Ambassadors, DoSomething Research Council Representatives, and Global Peace Delegates, this sister duo empowers people worldwide to actively shape their future through engagement in global service movements! Their overall vision is to empower people of all ages and backgrounds to create a more compassionate and inclusive world by instilling a passion for service in their communities through acts of kindness!
Robert Johnson Wood Johnson Foundation Award for Health Equity
Anagha Talluri is a high school sophomore, poet, avid reader, artist and volunteer, based in St Johns, Florida, USA, Giving back has been an integral part of her past 5 years in the USA, India, Ethiopia and Barbados. The very second Youth ambassador of PURE – People for Urban and Rural Education, a non-profit focused on empowering underprivileged children through education founded in 2016.
Robert Johnson Wood Johnson Foundation Award for Health Equity
Sanjana Buddi is a junior at Rutgers University-New Brunswick studying IT with a minor in Political Science. She has dedicated the past four years of her life to volunteering and helping expand a non-profit called the People for Urban and Rural Education and has taken on the Director of Global Outreach position. Not only has she traveled to India and Barbados in order to address and end period poverty, but she has also raised funds in order to provide assistance to improve schools in Nepal, Ethiopia, Uganda, and Trinidad and Tobago. Her experience interacting with students in India inspired her to deliver a TEDx talk in order to encourage other students to volunteer and make a lasting impact and advocate to promote equity in classrooms across the globe. Sanjana intends to continue her advocacy work for students in underserved nations and communities to guarantee that they do not face any barriers while attending school.
Check Out Sanjana Buddi’s Rockstar Spotlight!‘s Rockstar Spotlight!