On April 4th, Hopeworks joined four other nationally recognized organizations in Seattle, Washington as nominees of the Scattergood Foundation Innovation Award at the National Council of Behavioral Health Conference. With great surprise and gratitude – WE WON! The award was accepted by Gemyra Winn, a member of the Hopeworks Youth Healing Team. Below is her recount of the experience.
Winning the Scattergood Foundation Innovation Award has motivated me more than ever to keep striving for my goals. Traveling to Seattle for the awards ceremony was a big stepping stone for me and I was able to experience many firsts. For starters, this was my first time taking a plane. I was very nervous at first, but after that first plane ride I had it in my mind that I could do anything. The experience of flying alone motivated me to keep pushing toward my future and helped me see how brave I am.
It was also the first time winning a national award and receiving recognition outside of my school. While at the ceremony, I was anxious and was not sure if we were going to win. It was truly an honor to be the youngest person invited, let alone, be the one to win the national award. We were facing intense competition from organizations like the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Clifford Beers Clinic, Dartmouth Centers for Health and Aging, and Street Change. My heart and body filled with an unexpected burst of energy when they called the Youth Healing Team. Who would have thought a 17 year old girl from Camden would have ever won such an award and be among others who’ve accomplished great things and achieved a lot in their lifetimes?
The experience reassured me that this is just the beginning and if I want to be someone who will be remembered, I’ll have to give it 110% at all times. Seeing how the other award winners’ family and friends stood behind them made me remember that behind every successful person is a support system backing them up all the way. They say that it takes a village to raise a child, but in my case it takes love, hard work, and dedication to make a survivor. With the help of Hopeworks and the Youth Healing Team, I am doing more than just surviving… I am a high school senior thriving in Camden.