Created in 2002 by the ALA national Children & Youth Committee, the Youth Hero and Good Deed awards are presented annually throughout the year to recognize the heroism and helpfulness of youths under age 18.
Junior members Kyra Webb and Tamika Lode, both 13 of Montana Unit 70, are two of those Good Deed Award winners. They were working toward their Girl Scout Silver Award by raising money and collecting donations for military overseas and for new veteran housing in Helena, Mont. — not knowing their helpfulness would be applicable for an ALA Good Deed Award nomination.
The two have been working on the project since last fall. They’ve used the donation money to buy items like lamps and kitchen utensils for the veteran housing and have put together care packages for troops overseas.
“The project motivated me to get more involved in the Auxiliary,” Lode said. “We should help our veterans and other people in our community.”
Lode said she hadn’t heard of the award prior to receiving the nomination.
“I was proud for what I’d done to earn it,” she said.
Like Lode, Webb didn’t know about the award beforehand.
“I was pretty proud that someone recognized the effort we put into this project,” she said.
The project is ongoing for now as the girls continue to work the ALA mission. It has been a great learning experience, they both said.
“I learned there are a lot of veterans in need and that people are very willing to help,” Webb said. “They just have to be asked.”
The second type of award, Youth Hero, is given to a youth who demonstrates a physical act of valor. Examples include Heimlich, CPR, first aid, and rescuing from fire or water peril.
Junior member Stephaney Kostenko of Unit 45 in Connecticut saved her family from a house fire.
On Feb. 9 around 9:30 p.m., she got hungry and went downstairs to get a snack.
“I saw red and smelled smoke,” she recalled. “I woke up my mom and sisters and helped them get out of the house, which was on fire.”
The 1872 two-story farmhouse was destroyed, along with all their belongings and the family cat was killed. The family and family dog escaped without injuries.
In the aftermath, Kostenko was nominated for an ALA Youth Hero Award. She was surprised when she found out— she didn’t know about the award prior to the fire.
“It was nice,” she said of being nominated.
Kostenko said although she misses her house, she learned from her experience.
“Always be aware of your surroundings,” she said.
Youth Hero Award
- May be a Junior Auxiliary member or someone eligible for membership, but eligibility is not a criterion for consideration.
- Demonstrates a physical act of valor (Heimlich maneuver, CPR, first aid, rescuing from fire or water peril).
- Serves as an inspirational role model for the ALA and the community.
Good Deed Award
- May be a Junior Auxiliary member or someone eligible for membership, but eligibility is not necessary for consideration.
- Donates time and/or money toward a worthy cause such as troop support, Locks of Love, a food drive, etc.
To learn more about the awards or to nominate a deserving youth, visit www.ALAforVeterans.org.