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Commission on the Status of Children and Youth Celebrate SWAGGER Winners 2016

November 23, 2016

For more information, please contact:
Nancy Woolery, Staff Liaison, City of Bloomington Commission on the Status of Children and Youth, 812-349-3851

Commission on the Status of Children and Youth Celebrate SWAGGER Winners

Bloomington, Ind.- Mayor John Hamilton presented four Monroe County youth the Commission on the Status of Children and Youth 2016 S.W.A.G.G.E.R. Award at a ceremony on November 15 at City Hall. S.W.A.G.G.E.R. stands for Students Who Act Generously, Grow, and Earn Respect. S.W.A.G.G.E.R. Award winners received a personalized proclamation from the City of Bloomington and prizes donated by local businesses. The annual awards recognize students who have a commitment to certain causes or displayed actions that have improved their lives and/or the lives of others around them. The four S.W.A.G.G.E.R. recipients are Mariah Busch, Ava Santner, Kira Axsiom, and Becca Smith.

Mariah Busch was the recipient in the 4-6 grade category for demonstrating acts of generosity at Girls Inc. of Monroe County. Mariah welcomed a new Girls Inc. member who had an intellectual disability, and helped her adjust to this new environment. Mariah donated many of her toys and clothes to Girls Inc. for those in need of these items. She has a strong voice among her peers, and through her leadership skills and stands up for what she believes, gaining respect from her peers and adults in the community.

The 7-8 grade category recipient, Ava Santner was nominated for her commitment to support a project to make fleece blankets that could then be donated to not-for-profit organizations. Ava wrote a grant and worked closely with several teachers to ensure the application was of high quality. She is a strong leader in the National Junior Honor Society Leadership Council. In this position, Ava has demonstrated exceptional leadership skills by generating ideas and developing plans to completion of the projects.

Kira Axsiom and Becca Smith were recipients in the 9-12 grade category. Kira was nominated for being a tutor to students who are wrestling with challenges in their studies. Kira has dedicated time to fundraising activities utilizing her musical talents at school and in the community. Her fundraising activities have benefitted charities such as Backpack Buddies, The Exotic Feline Resource Center and the National Breast Cancer Foundation through her work as president of the Bloomington High School South Dr. Who Club.

Through her work with Prism Youth Community, Becca Smith has shown an incredible commitment to serving the community. She is dedicated to encouraging education on issues that affect LGBTQ+ youth. Prism Youth Community has delivered trainings to thousands of youth-serving professionals on how to create a safer and more inclusive space for minority students. Becca has also volunteered with the Interfaith Winter Shelter, Mother Hubbard's Cupboard, Hoosier Hills Food Bank, Middle Way House, and the LGBT Aging and Caring Network.

The City of Bloomington Commission on the Status of Children and Youth extends a special thanks to the following businesses for their generous support of these deserving students: Cardinal Stage Company; Downtown Bloomington Inc.; Hartzell's Ice Cream; IU Cinema; IU Memorial Union-Bowling; Ivy Tech Center for Lifelong Learning; Mother Bear's Pizza; and Wonderlab.

The City of Bloomington Commission on the Status of Children and Youth's mission is to promote connections in our community which empower, enhance, and nurture children and youth. Please contact Nancy Woolery at 812.349.3851 or for more information about the SWAGGER Awards or the Commission on the Status of Children and Youth.