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Local agencies, businesses and individuals will be recognized Wednesday for their commitment to area youth at the 19th annual Washington Health System Teen Outreach Awards.

The awards ceremony begins at 7 p.m. at the Common Ground Teen Center, 92 N. Main St., Washington.

Receiving 2021 awards:

Agency Award:

  • Washington Health System Foundation for exemplary commitment to Teen Outreach program. The award will be received by Sara Schumacher, executive director.

Alumni Award:

  • Emmett Patterson, for modeling outstanding education as an adult by carrying forward the communication, writing and facilitation skills he began as a peer educator.

Business Award:

  • Rhodes Carpet, for supporting the work at the Common Ground Teen Center and at the Teen Outreach office.

Community Award:

  • Anna Schlegel, for collaborating with ECHO (Educate Children for Healthy Outcomes) Program and providing one-on-one educational mentoring to children and teens.

Educator Award:

  • Kelly Berg, Canon-McMillan Middle School, for advocating for and educating her students above and beyond throughout the pandemic.

Fellowship Award:

  • Steve and Kim Smith of First Presbyterian Church, 1793, for rising to offer consistent, supportive, flexible virtual and in-person worship during the pandemic.

Inclusion Award:

  • David Ryan Bunting, professor at Washington & Jefferson College, for modeling inclusion and excellence in education for future teachers, and Michelle Walker of Lend an Ear Consulting, for providing outstanding education in ASL to young people at the Teen Center while modeling acceptance for people of all abilities.

Peer Educator Award Senior Peer Educators:

  • Mikey Veltri and Sophia Curry for dedication, commitment, and service above and beyond during the pandemic.

Power Award:

  • Dorothy and John Tecklenburg and Ken and Brian Burn-Elliott, for generously supporting Teen Outreach programming during challenging times.

President’s Award:

  • Al Vernacchio, sexuality educator, for serving as consultant author for “Nonnie Talks about Relationships” as well as Dr. Rueben Brock and Dr. Bob Selverstone serving as consultant authors for “Nonnie Talks about Mental Health.”

Service Award:

  • Teresa Babyak and Judy Devenney, for leading the Washington Health System’s vaccination efforts as they provided safe, equitable, and dedicated services to the community.

Spirit Award:

  • Carrie Richardson, for commitment while working with literacy and GED education for Teen Outreach young parents.

Social Justice Award:

  • Zhiere Patmon, former Peer Educator, and Black Lives Matter, Washington, for organizing and hosting a peaceful protest and standing for equity.

Youth Achievement Awards:

  • The following will be acknowledged for their commitment and achievement during a challenging year: Rowan Curry, Elizabeth Engle, Mikey Ewing, Jai Gough, Dylan Knox, Brycen McAdoo, Willow Maffio, Andrew Serback and Bailey Wheeler.

Youth Advocate Award:

  • Jane Zupanic, for exceptional commitment to the children and young people of our community through her many years at Children and Youth Services.

Volunteer Award:

  • Dorthy Curry, for making the Teen Center garden come alive; Damian Crowe for building the see-saw used at the See Saw Marathon in October 2020; and Kelly Travis Dembiczak, for a very popular and much enjoyed donation.

The public is invited to attend. Masks are required for the protection of unvaccinated young people.

To RSVP, email

If you have questions about the event, contact Mary Jo Podgurski at 412-877-4906.

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