Westside teen takes road less traveled: Service & becomes Utah’s Young Humanitarian
“If it hadn’t been for the Mestizo Arts and Activism Collective (MAA), I would have either been in prison or dead,” says Israel Santana, Salt Lake Community College student and recipient of the 2015 Youthlinc Utah Young Humanitarian Award.
As a high school senior, Santana became involved with MAA where he used poetry, photography, and other mediums to share his experience growing up on the west side of Salt Lake, where many teens are at risk of drug and gang involvement.
Instead of taking those roads, Santana now mentors younger students. He writes, “My leadership in Salt Lake City has focused on empowering young people of color to pursue a higher education, become politically aware, and maintain a sense of pride in their cultures, all while pursuing positive social change.”
Peter Ingle, Westminster College Dean of the School of Education, states, “Israel is going to change the world.” Santana’s recommender agrees, “Israel is dedicated to changing the odds for underrepresented students to help them achieve a higher education and build a future that is better than that of their predecessors.”
On Saturday, May 16th, Santana was named the 2015 Utah Young Humanitarian and received a $5,000 scholarship. The Utah Young Humanitarian Award, sponsored by the service leadership nonprofit Youthlinc, is the largest service-based scholarship in Utah, offering one $5,000, one $3,000, three $1,000 and five $500 scholarships. Funding for these scholarships comes from the George S. & Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation, Robert D. Kent Jr. Trust, and Shaun Michel.
Youthlinc Local Service Director Jerika Mays believes this is a particularly important Award because “it celebrates young people who excel at giving back in their community, in hopes of inspiring more youth to volunteer.”
Visit the Youthlinc website for more details www.youthlinc.org.
For more information about this Award, please contact Jerika Mays, Youthlinc Local Service Director, firstname.lastname@example.org.