Nominations are now closed. Rockstar Awards 2019 winners will be announced in December.
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.
On Friday, July 27th, 2018, we honored this year’s Rockstar Awardees at the Training Institutes in Washington, D.C. We could not be more proud to recognize the following individuals and organizations who are living proof that the youth movement is stronger than ever.
Hear from Our Youth Awardees
Couldn’t make it to Training Institutes? Watch the speeches from our Tricialouise Gurley-Millard Youth Advocate of the Year and our Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Award for Health Equity recipient.
Cante Waste Win Zephier
Youth MOVE Detroit
Youth MOVE Chapter of the Year
While Youth MOVE chapters are diverse in their program offerings and approach, each is working to meet the needs of youth in their particular community. From offering personal development opportunities, delivering leadership and advocacy training, to providing youth peer support, Youth MOVE chapters are bringing community and connection to youth across the country. This chapter has grown from a small program to a chapter that engages youth across their city. This chapter provides specific opportunities for personal growth and empowerment for each of its members. The commitment Youth MOVE members have to this chapter is astounding, when funding was in short supply, youth readily gave up their stipends to continue their chapter’s work.
3:11 Youth Housing
Organization of the Year
3:11 Youth Housing is a youth-driven organization that provides housing to youth and young adults who are experiencing homelessness. What excited us most when we saw this nomination was the level of authentic youth voice that exists across all levels of this organization. Youth are not just receiving services, but they’ve informed policies, they’ve informed their entire model. There are four essential components to their model: (1) Safe and affordable housing, of course; (2) House mentoring; (3) Case management; and (4) Alumni support. Youth alumni come back to the organization and serve on their Board of Directors and as mentors for other youth who are just starting out. For these reasons and many more, we proudly present the Organization of the Year award to 3:11 Youth Housing.
Dr. Gary M. Blau Professional of the Year
Erica Padilla’s nomination opened with: “She is a superhero and pioneer in our state for youth empowerment and youth engagement.” She began her work as a state youth coordinator for a Systems of Care grant, almost ten years ago. Her leadership and advocacy led New Mexico to develop a state youth coordinator at their Children, Youth, and Family Department. She served in this role for 3 years. Erica has done the important and hard work of building transition plans and building a foundation for sustainable youth engagement to leave as her legacy. Specifically she led the development of a statewide Youth MOVE chapter and created a youth empowerment training that is utilized across the state.
Marlene Matarese Advocate for Youth of the Year
Amnoni has a résumé that stunned us. She has worked on improving conditions for people experiencing homelessness; has traveled to South Africa to teach class, race, and gender studies; participated in the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute’s foster youth internship; was a White House Policy Council intern, where she worked with a team to include foster youth in the annual Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day ceremony for the first time; and she has dedicated her life to improving the conditions for youth in the foster care system and those who age out of the system too.
Her mentee Rosalina describes her special quality as, “Someone who has fallen short of achieving her goals many times. But instead of giving up, she was empowered by her desire to ensure that other young people do not have similar poor experiences as herself.” And all of her colleagues and friends describe her as someone you know is destined to do incredible things.
Tricialouise Gurley-Millard Youth Advocate of the Year
If you ever meet our 2018 Youth Advocate of the Year, they’ll be the first person to tell you they’re very upfront with describing themselves as a queer, non-binary, disabled person with mental health challenges. This intersectional lived experience drives and supports their advocacy work of educating service providers on LGBTQ terms and LGBTQ compentency. Even when they open the floor for additional questions and get what they describe as “questionable questions.”
“I’ll answer that,” they say. “But please don’t ever ask another youth these questions. Or anyone.” Once, after a session where they were educating on asexuality, a woman came up to them and said: “Thank you for finally giving me a term to describe myself. I’ve gone my whole life thinking I was broken.” They have done so much to improve health conditions for youth living at the intersections of minority identities by supporting providers in working with those youth in competent ways.
Cante Waste Win Zephier
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Award for Health Equity
At 17 years old, she has done tremendous work in her tribal communities—both urban and reservation-wide. As someone who acknowledges generational trauma, she uses her voice of experience to ensure that other young women know they are not alone. For the past four years, she has volunteered as a youth mentor at traditional youth healing camps on her reservation, the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. She is so dedicated, that after finding out about the low funding for these camps, she came up with a T-Shirt design and sold more than 750 shirts on social media, raising more than $10,000.
She has been invited to speak on countless panels to discuss being a youth mentor and leader. And she is the co-chair of the Northern Colorado United National Indian Tribal Youth Council whose mission is to foster the spiritual, mental, physical, and social development of American Indian and Alaska Native youth and to help build a strong, unified, and self- reliant Native America through greater youth involvement.
Without a doubt, our Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Award for Health Equity recipient has ratified health disparity barriers.