Student, UY Community Board and Alumni Awards

Each year, the University YMCA hands out a variety of special awards to our college student participants. The University YMCA seeks to recognize those individuals whose involvement has positively impacted the University YMCA and broader community. These individuals are honored at the Annual End of the Year Recognition Awards Ceremony in the spring and recognized on plaques found in the University YMCA.

The 2014-2015 awards are as follows

Diversity and Inclusion Champion: Sonia Paredes

The UY Diversity and Inclusion Champion Award is given to a student who has provided leadership in helping to make the UY a welcoming environment; creating a culture that is inclusive and understanding of differences and values diversity of others.

Doug Wallace Creativity: Manju Connolly

The creative drive of Doug Wallace, former Executive Director of the University Y, is recognized in one Collegiate Ally through this award.  When Doug Wallace retired as the Executive Director in Sept. 1978, the University YMCA Board began the Creativity Award to honor his 15 years of service to the University YMCA.  During his time at the UY, Doug and student leaders created many volunteer and service programs to help lonely senior citizens, kids in prison and mentoring of inner city children.  The purpose of the award is to recognize a student who demonstrates extraordinary creativity in providing new ways to make a difference in the world.  The recipient is chosen by staff and receives a book chosen and inscribed by Doug.

Youth Citizen Award: Sey Lee

The recipient is considered the UY’s “most valuable player” both within the organization and for the greater community. They are recognized at the YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities annual meeting.

Kimberly Ann Paulsen Leadership: Kirsten Alfaro, Ashley Biwan

Kim Paulson was an outstanding student leader at the University YMCA. She died during an EBP hiking trip in Montana. This award honors a friend of the University Y and the qualities so admired in her: Kim’s beaming smile, her deep compassion, her contagious enthusiasm, her sincerity, her ability and willingness to listen, and her vision for changing social and environmental problems.

Sarah Blosberg Spirit, Mind & Body: Demetria Poe

This award is a memorial to another friend of the University Y.  The individual who receives this award is a fighter and demonstrates great courage. They have clear goals they are working toward. They challenge themselves and are not afraid to take risks. They demonstrate a commitment to and love of life.

William Teeter Leadership: Fue Vue

Recognizes a student leader who, like Bill Teeter, exemplifies the quiet, behind the scenes leadership qualities that focus on building relationships and ensuring that the values and spirit of the University YMCA are reflected in day to day activities.

George Williams Fellowship: Nick Ott, Sey Lee, Tamara Marcus, Jessamine Von Arx, Fue Vue, Dana Holle, Danny Chen, Cindy Nguyen, Natalie Cruz, Edwing Llangari, Sonia Paredes, Alicyn Kirchenwitz, Ashley Biwan, Manju Connolly, Anders Bell, Kirsten Alfaro, Dunia Francois, Emily Andersen, Julie Vang, Gaozouapa Vue, Madeline Erickson

It is awarded to persons who have given outstanding leadership and service through University YMCA programs and reflect in their lives the values of humane compassion and community. These characteristics are shared with George Williams, who founded the YMCA.

Jack Taylor: Olivia Elick

Jack Taylor was an outstanding leader at the University YMCA from 1964-69. He was killed in an accident on the Gunflint Trail just after completing a canoe trip and before entering the seminary. Jack exemplified the ideals of servant leadership. A servant leader is someone who not only sees leadership as a way of serving others, but also performs their leadership in a manner that exemplifies this attitude. To paraphrase Robert Greenleaf; a servant leader is someone who is willing to do a group’s most menial chores, but sustains the group with their spirit and song, they are a person of extraordinary presence. A servant leader leads by example, with a spirit of humility.

Above and Beyond the Call of Duty Award (ABCD): Natalie Cruz, Emily Holm, Rishi Roy

This award has been created to honor UY cause driven equity leaders whose actions and activities consistently and regularly go well beyond what is expected or required within the usual position responsibilities.

Evidence of:

  • Extraordinary or outstanding achievements and activities of the nominee during leadership and/or program participation
  • Accomplishments that exceed the usual performance expectations of the position
  • Nominees achievements and activities positively impact the climate of the University Y

2014 Community Board Special Achievement Award: Dr. Ramon Pastrano IV

JP is a dedicated YMCA volunteer who served the UY as a board member and  as board chair for the past two years. JP is Vice President for TCF Bank by day, and a strong UY champion and volunteer at all hours. He has presided as chair during an Executive Director transition and other significant changes, providing strong leadership and direction during these times. He has led with a vision of deepening board member involvement with programs and students to strengthen their connection to the mission of the UY. His reliable, kind, and hardworking style has made him a tremendous asset to fellow board members, staff, and students. He has also served on the property and facilities committee of the YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities and volunteered in a variety of other capacities for the YMCA.