People are moved to tears by so many things. For some it’s Beauty. For others it’s Truth. For me it’s - Goodness. There was plenty of goodness on this day as I emceed the National Liberty Museum's Young Heroes Award sponsored by TD Bank. The Awards recognizes and rewards young people who have championed liberty through civic engagement, conflict resolution, promoting diversity and school or community leadership.
Fourteen were honored. They ranged from Ying-Ying Shang - a 12th grader from Paoli who has already racked up a resume at her young age that would blow anyone away. Harvard was among them – she’ll be going there this fall. Ying-Ying has advocated against the sexualization of girls and women, is a teen advisor to the United Nations Foundation Girl Up campaign and was a Girl Advisor to the Girl Scouts of SE PA Board of Directors.
The 4th-6th Graders at TM Pierce Elementary School's Young Heroes' Club won the Troy Ray Johnson Award for their work to increase the peace. The award is named after a young man who worked for the National Liberty Museum and was gunned down in North Philadelphia in an act of senseless violence.
Luke Sliwinski is a 7th grader from Warminster PA who started a nonprofit called Honor and Courage to raise awareness of veterans with disabilities. A modest and impressive young man – when I spoke to him he said the real heroes are the men and women who serve our country in the military.
Thanks to the generous support of TD Bank 12th Grader Nyseem Smith from Philadelphia received $1000.00 and an iPad. His mom was there to receive the award because Nyseem is already at Millersville University this summer.
I truly started welling up when I heard about the youngest awardee - Kindergartener Halle Steinberger from Yardley, PA who received the award for her many acts of simple kindness and support for students with intellectual disabilities.
These were just a few of the remarkable young people who were acknowledged for making a difference in the world. Mohammed Ali once said “Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.” These fourteen young people have paid in full and their lives are just beginning. I can’t wait to see the difference they will make in this world. www.libertymuseum.org. Loraine Ballard Morrill