Service Above Self Youth Challenge to recognize volunteerism

Published 12:00 am Sunday, September 13, 2020

For the first time since its inception in 1995, The Service Above Self Youth Awards has changed to the Service Above Self Youth Challenge for the 2020-2021 academic year. Due to the impact of COVID-19, The Rowan Rotary Club, Rowan County United Way, Cheerwine, Catawba College, Rowan-Cabarrus Community College and Livingstone College have partnered to provide grant awards to children for community service projects.

The focus of this year’s program is to provide students with mini grants up to $500 to complete an interest project that will benefit the community or a school. Students will select a project adviser that may be a teacher, parent, agency representative, friend or one that is provided for them by the Service Above Self Committee. Grant applications are now being accepted until Oct. 5 with an announcement of grant winners to come in mid-November. Winners could receive scholarships, gift cards for individuals or checks to groups associated with a school or agency and an announcement in the newspaper of their gift to the community. In addition to Catawba College, Livingstone College and RCCC have joined this year in the partnership to provide scholarship opportunities for winners.

“For the past few years, as a member of Rowan Rotary, I have enjoyed watching youth walk across the stage at Keppel Auditorium and be recognized for their service to the community,” says past president of Rowan Rotary and United Way Board Member Wendy Barnhardt. “Now I am even more excited to directly contribute to their service and work with them to provide resources to help them achieve even more.”

One of the original founders of the program, Dr. Jim Duncan, has a message for the youth: “For the last 25 plus years, the Service Above Self Award has been honoring and rewarding your service to others as recommended by an adult. This year, it is up to you to be creative in your thinking during these unusual times. You have never let us down and I am more than excited to see you in action this year.”

“You kids are the best source to know the projects we need to help your peers and others during these difficult times,” says Duncan. “Use that great imagination you have and put together a project we can approve and fund up to $500 for you to complete your project. This is another opportunity for you to make a difference. Come on young people and show me what you got.”

Duncan highly encourages teachers and parents to make sure the youth receive his message.

To apply and learn more details, go to or call Melissa Robbins at 704-633-1802.

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