Since 1996, Connecting Youth in Chittenden South (CY) has honored community volunteers who have dedicated their time to supporting youth and families. The evening is called the “Aw Shucks” Awards Night because of the humble nature of most of the recipients. This year the event was held on April 6 and was a huge success. CY honored nine individuals and one business, bringing the 19-year Aw Shucks total to over 200 honorees committed to youth and families in Charlotte, Hinesburg, St. George, Shelburne, and Williston. “With as much as CY does in our communities we are far from the only program or people to have a positive impact on the lives of our youth,” said CY Director Christine Lloyd-Newberry. “The number of suggestions we receive as we prepare for the event is always inspiring. There is no shortage of committed individuals in our midst, but on April 6 we recognized a group of exceptional people who have gone above and beyond in so many ways.”
This year, Aw Shucks Awards were presented to Shelburne residents Jim Brangan and Zynnia Seidita.
In the 19 years CY has been holding their Aw Shucks Volunteer Recognition night, they have never recognized an individual or business more than once. This year they broke with tradition. In 2006, CY first honored the Claytons and Shelburne Supermarket with a CY Aw Shucks Business Award. Their nomination then, holds true today; “For over  years these community members have donated their time, and resources…Of particular note is the amazing generosity of this couple and how they have opened their business to help students, teachers, residents, and various causes. Their donations of food, money, and time is immeasurable, and probably unprecedented…this couple have created in their business, and among their staff, a warm, friendly welcoming, generous atmosphere that is a part of the fabric of the local community.”
With Steve Clayton’s recent passing, CY voted to rename and dedicate in his memory the Aw Shucks – Business Award as the Steve Clayton Business Award. From here forward this award will honor businesses that are leading by example in helping to promote a caring community environment for youth and families.
Finally, each year at the Aw Shucks Celebration CY honors one dedicated volunteer from the CY Mentoring program with an award in honor of Dr. O’Regan; past CSSU Superintendant. Dr. O’Regan was a long-time believer in fostering caring, supportive youth-adult connections, and was a mentor at Shelburne Community School (SCS). When he retired from CSSU, he asked community members to contribute to a “CY Mentoring Program Trust” as a lasting gift to the children of the district. This year’s recipient was Jane Kay at SCS.
Aw Shucks awardees also included Caroline Slater and Julie Wade, both of Charlotte, Hinesburg residents Susan Lepple and Dan Opton, Larry Pillsbury and Randy Zuwallack, both of Williston, and Inga Kindstedt, a youth recipient.
For more information about CY please visit www.seewhy.info or Facebook at www.facebook.com/connectingyouth.