The Reiser Youth Service Awards, awarded annually, recognize and celebrate extraordinary youth volunteerism and community engagement by metro Atlanta youth. In doing so, the CVC honors Carol Reiser’s visionary legacy by instilling the spirit of community and purpose to inspire the next generation of service-oriented leaders. More information on the award criteria and recognition can be found below.
We are now accepting nominations for the 2023 Carol D. Resier Youth Service Award! To submit a nomination, please click here.
Nominations are due Friday, October 13, at 10:00 PM
The Corporate Volunteer Council of Atlanta (CVC) is proud to present the fourth annual Carol D. Reiser Youth Service Awards, named in loving memory of CVC co-founder and past president, Carol Reiser. Reiser enjoyed a long career with Rich’s/Macy’s and established the company's innovative “Partners in Time” volunteer program, which is still active today.
The Youth Service Awards, awarded annually, recognize and celebrate extraordinary youth volunteerism and community engagement. In doing so, CVC honors Carol Reiser’s visionary legacy by instilling the spirit of community and purpose to inspire the next generation of service-oriented leaders.
Winners will be awarded with a $500 personal stipend and a $1,500 donation in their name to the valid 501c3 nonprofit or accredited school of their choice.
Note: If a group is selected as the winner, the group members will split the $500 personal stipend and decide as a group on the charity which will receive the $1500 donation.
Winners will be recognized onstage with a check presentation ceremony at the CVC’s annual Holiday Luncheon on Tuesday, December 5th.
Winners will also be recognized at next year's CVC IMPACT Awards (fall 2024)
Winners will also be featured on CVC's social media, website, and other publications
Applicants must be school-aged youth (individuals or groups) ages 6 - 18 living in or attending school in the Metro Atlanta area (Butts, Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, Coweta, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Forsyth, Fulton, Gwinnett, Henry, Paulding or Rockdale)
Applicants must have displayed extraordinary service to their community through unpaid acts of service benefiting others (inclusive of virtual volunteerism)
Applicants must be able to demonstrate clear impact through their service and/or community engagement efforts
All or part of the service must have been completed within the last 12 months (service can be ongoing)
Deadline: Friday, October 13 at 10:00 PM
Congratulations to our 2022 Carol D. Reiser Youth Service Award Winners and Finalists!
2022 Elementary Winner: Charlotte Custer
5th grader, Charlotte Custer of Fifth Avenue Elementary School in Decatur, learned about LifeLine Animal Project, a foster and adoption agency for animals, and knew immediately that she wanted to get involved. As an animal whisperer, she knew she’d found her people. However, disappointment set in when Charlotte realized that she was younger than their minimum age for volunteering with animals. But Charlotte didn’t let that stop her. Instead, she started a pet sitting business in her neighborhood for “any size” donations, and she donates the proceeds directly to Lifeline. Please note: Charlotte would prefer NOT to keep pets that require being fed other live animals, but otherwise, she is ready to help care for your beloved pets.
2022 Middle School Winner: Sriram Iyer
7th grader, Sriram Iyer of Dodgen Middle School, is passionate about Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) and recently discovered the world of 3D printing. He has worked with teachers and local librarians to create a 3D printing and CAD design lab where peers can achieve their dreams and build prototype projects from their wildest dreams. Sriram encourages peers to create fun and useful items for others through STEM workshops and has inspired others to create for senior citizens and differently abled youth in their community. (No photo available)
2022 High School Winner: Virginia Hernandez
12th grader, Virginia Hernandez of The Westminster Schools, has volunteered with Agape Youth and Family Center for 5 years. After serving as a summer counselor, food server and tutor and participating in backpack give aways and holiday gift drives, Virginia decided to create a teen philanthropic program called Agape Teen Leaders (ATL). The program launched in fall of 2021, and the teens successfully raised $52,760 for Agape programs. ATL continues to grow and now includes 52 teens. Virginia’s goal is for Agape Teen Leaders to have a sustainable structure that will continue for years to come.
Congratulations to our 2022 Carol D. Reiser Youth Service Award Finalists!
Elementary School: 6-year-old Kollin Mathews wanted to do something to help kids in foster care, so he hosted a sock drive along with 7 of his friends. Their goal for this year was to collect 2,022 pairs of cozy socks to donate to foster kids so that they feel loved and appreciated. He also helps with his family’s foundation, Blankies 4 My Buddies, and is considering creating his own sock line so that he can donate a portion of the proceeds to help others.
Middle School: 7th grade Caden Jackson used to have nightmares, and he was fortunate to have his family around him to help him work through his fear and make him feel safe and loved. He wanted to pass this feeling along to others, so he collected 3,000 hats and scarves to help area kids feel warm, loved and protected. Caden donates collected items to local shelters, schools and foster homes including the Home of Hope at Gwinnett Children's Shelter. He hopes to get friends involved and host more collection drives in the future.
High School (Two Finalists):
12th Grader Evan Ebrahimi of Decatur High School is of Afghan descent and his Baba, or grandfather, grew up in Afghanistan. Evan is autistic, but he knows that he can still help others in need. When many Afghan refugees began moving to Metro Atlanta, Evan and his family began volunteering with the Afghan American Alliance of Georgia. It was then that Evan identified his superpower…his physical strength! Evan has been flexing his muscles for several months now, helping 101 families physically move donated furniture into their housing. Evan’s self-confidence has grown tremendously through his volunteer work, and he proves that everyone has something special to contribute.
11th grade Mandy Yang of Lambert High School worked with the Ocee Library in Alpharetta to create the “Un-Judge” campaign. Mandy invited people of different political views, races, religions and living styles to tell their stories on social media and through recordings. Participants can borrow human books (or stories) through Mandy’s “Life-brary” to learn about others, create dialogue and break down stereotypes. Mandy hopes to expand her project to other libraries in the future and will address topics such as bullying, drug abuse, body image and more.
Congratulations to our 2021 Carol D. Reiser Youth Service Award Winners!
2021 Elementary Winner: Rose Marie Robbins
Rose Marie Robbins, a 9-year old who attends Barack H. Obama Elementary Magnet School of Technology, was concerned about the wellbeing of unhoused neighbors in her community, so she decided to do something about it by filling backpacks with useful items. In one month, she distributed more than 200 Blessing Bags of Warmth which included hygiene products, food and a warm blanket. She learned that when we work together, we can do great things!
2021 Middle School Winner: Chris "C.J." Matthews
CJ Matthews, a 14-year old who attends Luella Middle School, is a sports enthusiast and community advocate who hosts an annual “Giving Bowl” charitable 7-on-7 flag football game and blanket/food drive for "Blankies 4 My Buddies." During COVID, he decided that “kindness has not been cancelled” and persevered with his event. On event day, more than 50 participants donated 1,000 blankets and fed 500 hungry people. Chris also recently published a book, And Then There Was One: A Story to Help Kids Cope With Grief and Loss.
2021 High School Winners: Kara Stevens and Gabrielle Tobin
Typically, the Reiser Award committee selects only one winner for each age group. However, in 2021, the committee recommended co-winners!
Kara Stevens, a 16-year old student of The Westminster Schools, recognized that during the pandemic, many children with Downs Syndrome were falling behind with critical skills such as crawling, walking and talking due to lack of ability to attend in-person physical therapy sessions. Her solution? She created a lending library of physical therapy equipment with instructions for families to use at home in partnership with Gigi’s Playhouse. Kara also raised $3,000 through grants and sponsorships to help purchase the equipment and is currently President of Gigi’s Playhouse’s Junior Board.
Gabrielle Tobin, a 15-year old who attends The Lovett School spent more than 230 hours creating “For Math’s Sake: Peer-to-Peer Videos” to improve math proficiency for 6th graders in Georgia and beyond for her Girl Scout Gold project. She spent an extra 40 hours translating these videos into Spanish so that she could reach more students. To date, her math videos have been utilized by more than 13,000 students in Georgia, North Carolina and The Bahamas and are accessible to millions more thanks to recent coverage on Good Morning America! Gabrielle also founded the 40 Mustard Seeds Foundation so that she can build support to continue this important work.
Congratulations to our 2021 Carol D. Reiser Youth Service Award Finalists!
Elementary School: 10-year-olds Zoie Tilford and Aubrey Johnson learned that there is a high failure rate for recently homed rescue dogs. They hosted a supply drive and were able to create 25 “welcome home” kits for recently adopted dogs to help them adjust and be successful in their new homes. They also donated surplus supplies to Dirt Road Doggies Rescue.
Middle School: 11 and 12-year-old Girl Scouts, Anne deShazor, Sophia Williams, Rachel Weitz, Katherine Kringelis, Alex Pruvenok, Kate Benson and Ava Memmolo decided to support homeless animals in their community by supporting local nonprofit, FurKids. These determined Scouts hosted a donation drive for a local thrift store benefiting Fur Kids and also hosted a yoga-a-thon to help raise much needed funds for animals in need.
High School: 16-year-old Sabrina Yeh realized early in the pandemic that remote support systems for family members with differences were not sufficient. She decided to do something about it, and initiated an online program for True Love for Special Need Families. She started a virtual book club for 5thgraders, a get-up-and-move club, soft skill club, special Toastmasters club and sibling-to-sibling club for the young people served by True Love. Sabrina organized friends and trained 70 new volunteers to provide more than 280 hours of online programming, a truly impressive undertaking.
Congratulations to our 2020 Carol D. Reiser Youth Service Award Winners!
2020 Elementary Winner: Izzy McMillan
Isabelle "Izzy" McMillan, an 8-year old, 3rd grader at Ruth Hill Elementary School, saw a way to give back when she realized that many kids in her community might not be able to attend an exciting upcoming student program. Camp Invention Connect, sponsored by the National Inventors Hall of Fame, requires tuition to attend, and Izzy wanted to make sure that all students in her community could afford to attend. Izzy prepared her pitch and went out to local businesses to request donations and raise money for students who could not afford the tuition. Izzy was able to raise nearly $2000, enabling 10 of her classmates to attend. Izzy will share her $1,500 honorarium gift with the National Inventors Hall of Fame, allowing 8 classmates to attend their upcoming camp session!
2020 Middle School Winner: Harrison Williams
Harrison Williams, a 13-year old, 8th grader at Lost Mountain Middle School and Boy Scout, wanted to help keep staff and students at local schools safe as they returned to in-person schooling in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Harrison and his friends made hand sanitizer foot pumps out of PVC pipe, then donated them to four local schools, benefitting thousands of students, teachers, and staff. Harrison is now teaching others how to make the foot pumps so that he can help more school communities across Metro Atlanta. Harrison will share his $1,500 honorarium gift with Family Promise of Cobb County.
2020 High School Winner: Bethany Gibson
Bethany Gibson, an18-year old senior at The Campus, found a unique way to benefit those facing hardship, by creating "B's Pet Food Pantries" in local neighborhoods to support pet owners that may be struggling to make ends meet. Bethany was inspired when she learned that pet abandonment was particularly high at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Knowing the importance of pets to mental wellness and stability, Bethany’s goal was to help struggling pet owners afford to keep their beloved pets. Bethany’s pet food pantries, available in 10 pantries across the Metro Atlanta area, are stocked with various types of dog and cat food and have benefitted over 200 pet families to date. Bethany will share her $1,500 honorarium gift with Grace Community Fellowship Church Pantry to help feed more hungry Atlantans and their pets.
Congratulations to our 2020 Carol D. Reiser Youth Service Award Finalists!
Katelyn Jones, a 10-year old 5th grader at Cliftondale Elementary School, wanted to address in-school bullying and make schools more inclusive. Along with members of her Girl Scout Troop, Katelyn built and installed Buddy Benches for students at Chattahoochee Hills Charter School. These Buddy Benches serve as a safe space for a student to go when they feel left out or need help.
Kate Ding, an 11-year old 6th grader at SKA Academy of Art & Design, was inspired by the COVID-19 pandemic to start the One More Kit, One Less Hungry Child Project. Through the project, she has funded, assembled, and distributed 200 emergency hunger kits, which include healthy snacks, water, hygiene items, and an uplifting card. These packs have been distributed to children in need in Kate’s community.
Shelby Mullen, a 16-year-old junior at Our Lady of Mercy Catholic High School, created a program called “Get Safe with Your Girl Shelby: Water Safety Essentials” following the death of a classmates’ brother by drowning. The program, through digital platforms, an annual water safety community fair, summer camp workshops, and a YouTube web series and channel, aims to increase awareness of drowning prevention by providing water safety trainings to kids between the ages of 5 and 13 years old.
Sofia Varmeziar, a 17-year-old senior at Starr’s Mill High School, worked with her local police department to educate elementary school students on the dangers of vaping. Sofia did extensive research on the dangers of vaping and the response to peer pressure, and lead 2 educational Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) sessions for 66 5th graders at Oak Grove Elementary School. Sofia also created a companion educational website and donated her lesson plans to the police department for future use.
Congratulations to our 2019 Carol D. Reiser Youth Service Award Winners!
(Left to Right: Temple Lester, Augusta Dailey Martin, Presley Lemons)
2019 Elementary Winner: Presley Lemons
Presley Lemons is a 5th grade student at Heirway Christian Academy. Through her own experience getting her period for the first time at 10 years old, Presley learned that few girls her age even knew what it was, and many didn’t have the support that she received from her mother to learn more. When she began watching documentaries on the topic, Presley discovered that some girls do not have access to the feminine hygiene products that she does every day. Through her research, Presley was introduced to The Homeless Period Project and their efforts to collect supplies and pack baggies to provide to girls who can’t afford or don’t have access to these products. Presley regularly attends "Period Parties" with her mom and they collect the supplies and the funds required to pack feminine hygiene bags for girls in need. Presley is speaking up publicly about a topic that most adults don’t even talk about in private! She brings her message to her school, her church, and any group she can to end the stigma associated with menstruation and to garner donations of these much needed products. Presley plans to donate her $1,500 grant to The Homeless Period Project and to continue her good work speaking out.
2019 Middle School Winner: Temple Lester
Temple Lester is in the 7th grade at Midtown International School and her mission is to make sure young people – especially girls and minorities – learn that science is cool and fun! Temple conducts free STEM workshops, experiments and programs for youth throughout Metropolitan Atlanta. Temple calls her movement “STEM Girl Swag” and she has a website and social media channels that encourage others to get involved in learning more about science-related fields and careers. Temple has shared her love of science as an exhibitor and speaker for STEM events in the community, and by speaking to more than 1,500 science teachers from across Georgia at the Science Teacher Association annual conference. She has also provided STEM workshops and demonstrations for more than 2,500 young people. Temple is currently working on developing a Science Box to provide to underprivileged kids so that they can have their very own science kit. Now THAT is what we call STEM Girl Swag! Temple plans to donate her $1,500 grant to Sheltering Arms Early Education and Family Center where she has volunteered and provided science workshops for 3 to 5 year olds.
2019 Middle School Winner: Augusta Dailey Martin
Augusta Dailey Martin is a 12th grader at Lakeside High School. Her simple act with a big impact was inspired by one interaction with a fellow student who she learned was homeless. Augusta created a Care Closet for students at her school who do not have consistent access to food, clothes and personal hygiene products. It started with one small location and has grown to two locations that serve more than 800 students who need assistance through the free or reduced lunch program at her school. This program also provides for students who might not exactly fit the government requirements for assistance but still may have a need. No one is turned away from the Care Closet! Augusta created flyers for her school, developed a website as well as several student surveys to help spread awareness about the need. She recruited volunteers from school clubs to run the Care Closet and she regularly speaks at churches and community groups to raise the funds and donated items needed to support the current locations as well as a planned third, larger closet. Imagine the impact if, like Augusta, everyone did just one thing to help the person next to them! Augusta is donating her $1,500 grant to Lakeside Foundation to pay for additional items in the Care Closet.
Congratulations to our 2019 Finalists:
Pamelyn Rose Rubin, an 8th grader at Duluth Middle School, raised more than $3,500 selling baked goods, homemade crafts, scrunchies, hats, scarves, and more to support the efforts of PlannedPEThood, a non-profit veterinary clinic, to spay and neuter stray cats.
Schena Pace, and a team of fellow Girl Scouts, all 7th to 9th graders, learned to sew and conducted sewing workshops -- surpassing their goal of creating 50 hats for cancer patients going through chemotherapy.
Skye Walker, a 12th grade student at North Atlanta High School, established H20 Life, a program designed to address the lack of access and affordability of swimming and water safety training and the drowning disparity among the African American community.