Washington, DC, May 15, 2017 --(PR.com
)-- Outstanding Youth for Human Rights International volunteers and national advocates were honored with Presidential Volunteer Service Awards in a Capitol Hill ceremony marking the finale of Youth for Human Rights International's 14th annual World Education Tour.
Ambassador Don Bliss, President of the United Nations Association of the United States of America, National Capital Area Chapter, acknowledged President and Founder of Youth for Human Rights International (YHRI), Dr. Mary Shuttleworth, for her tireless efforts to educate youth around the world on their basic human rights for the last 16 years and presented her with a Presidential Volunteer Service lifetime achievement award.
A representative from Congresswoman Ann Wagner’s office presented Founder and Executive Director of the Foundation for a Slavery Free World, actor Marisol Nichols, with a Presidential Volunteer Service Award to honor her activity as a passionate advocate in the fight against child trafficking. Nichols (Riverdale, NCIS, 24) was the keynote speaker for the event, capturing the attention of audience members with gritty stories of her undercover work highlighting less well known aspects of the child prostitution network, making it clear that more needs to be done about this pressing issue.
A representative from Congressman Brad Sherman’s Office also presented a Presidential Volunteer Service Award to two of their constituents for their human rights work.
Members of the diplomatic community, congressional office representatives, dignitaries and humanitarians were on hand for the presentations.
Erica Rodgers, the Director of the Youth for Human Rights Washington DC Chapter, was the master of ceremonies for the event.
Recipients of the 2017 Presidential Volunteer Service Awards included Bob and Irina Kaye of California; Emma Ashton of Florida; the Washington DC Youth for Human Rights Chapter; the Delphian School Youth for Human Rights Chapter, of Oregon; and actor Marisol Nichols, of California. These individuals and groups were each acknowledged for their work promoting and educating on human rights, and shared their stories of inspiration.
The event was co-hosted by Youth for Human Rights and the Church of Scientology National Affairs Office.
“Education is vitally important, especially in the arena of human rights. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was written, agreed upon and meant to be disseminated in all areas of society. Broad human rights awareness can change the world. Lack thereof is one of the main factors for where we are today,” Beth Akiyama said. Akiyama is the Executive Director of the Church of Scientology National Affairs Office, a partner in the event.
The President’s Volunteer Service Award was started by the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation in 2003 as a way to thank and honor Americans who, by example, inspired others to engage in volunteer service. The Council is no longer, but the program continues as an initiative of the Corporation for National and Community Service and is administered by Points of Light. The Gold PVSA represents a minimum of 250 hours of public service in a year.(1)
Youth for Human Rights International (YHRI) is a nonprofit organization founded in 2001 by Dr. Mary Shuttleworth, an educator born and raised in apartheid South Africa, where she witnessed firsthand the devastating effects of discrimination and the lack of basic human rights. The purpose of YHRI is to teach youth about human rights, specifically the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and inspire them to become advocates for tolerance and peace. YHRI accomplishes this through simple yet empowering, high-quality human rights education materials for youth, teachers and officials in more than 20 languages.
The Church of Scientology engages in collaborative efforts with government agencies and nongovernmental organizations to bring about broad-scale awareness and implementation of the 1948 United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Central to Scientology beliefs is a conviction that all humankind is entitled to inalienable rights. Inspired by Mr. Hubbard’s words that “Human rights must be made a fact, not an idealistic dream,” Scientologists support what has become one of the world’s largest nongovernmental human rights education initiative.