Evidence -Based Programs

“A true hero isn’t measured by the size of his strengths, but by the strength of his heart.”
    –  Hercules


Youth Matter.

Youth workers are often the unsung heroes of the youth within our communities. They have a direct impact on the lives of our youth. These individuals often wear many hats - mentor, educator, counselor, and friend. Working with the youth isn’t just a job–it’s about helping restore the broken, holding hands with those fighting the fight of their life, and being the person whose lifting them up, encouraging them, and cheering them on. Individuals who are attracted to this line of work must have an intrinsic desire to improve the lives of young people.

Each year, UnifiedErie holds the Youth Work Awards to celebrate and honor youth workers at Erie County, Pennsylvania non-profits. At this year's awards ceremony, we had over 150 attendees, 82 nominations, and 13 award winners. It is a true honor to host a celebration for such a deserving group of professionals that often times receives little or no recognition. If you happen to know a youth worker, give them a big hug, NOMINATE them, and say THANK YOU! They are truly unsung heroes in our community and we are privileged to have some of the best in Erie County. Thank you for all you do!

Contact Jackie Spry at jspry@mercyhurst.edU



A Youth Worker

"This Youth Worker embodies a constant, tireless example of what it means to see every individual child and teen who crosses their path as amazing, valuable, and  worth investing in."

(2019 Nomination)

"I don't know where we would all be had this youth worker not stepped into our lives in such an extraordinary way."

(2019 Nomination)


Who is eligible for nomination?

Only paid staff members (full-time or part-time) currently working at an Erie County, Pennsylvania non-profit organization. Volunteers are not eligible.   

Who can nominate?

Anyone can nominate a youth worker - youth, parent of youth, supervisor, co-worker, and community members! You can only submit ONE nomination per year.

How do I submit my nomination?

Online nomination form submission is preferred.

Video submission are acceptable. Guidelines coming soon! 

You can also send by fax: 814-824-2182 or by postal mail to: Mercyhurst University Civic Institute, Attn: Youth Work Awards, 501 E. 38th St., Erie, PA  16546

Nomination Deadline: September 20, 2020

What happens after I submit my nomination?

Submissions are reviewed for completeness and eligible nominees are contacted on or before October 1, 2019. The Nomination Review Committee uses a set of guidelines to determine the yearly award winners.

When are the Youth Work Awards?

Over the last couple of years, the Youth Work Awards were held in October during Positive Youth Development week. Anyone is welcome to attend this celebration, but you must register to attend. More information about the event will be available in spring 2020.

How can I register for the Youth Work Awards?

Registration will be open to the public in September 2020. You must register online to attend the Youth Work Awards.

How can I support this event?

This event is fully sponsored by the local community. Some of our past sponsors include, Elevate Church, American Legion, McLane Church, YMCA of Greater Erie, Bethesda Lutheran Services, Harborcreek Youth Services, Bonnell Collision, American Tinning & Galvanizing, Erie County District Attorney's Office, Brianne Danielle Photography, Sarah A. Reed Children's Center, and United Way. Please contact Jackie Spry at jspry@mercyhurst.edu to learn more about becoming a sponsor.

Youth Work Awards Planning Team is responsible for planning and executing the annual Youth Work Awards. The team is comprised of a mix of individuals with various backgrounds, all dedicated to making this a successful and meaningful  event. The team meets once a month from July thru October. If you are interested in joining the Youth Work Awards Planning Team, please contact Jackie Spry.

Who do I contact with questions or for more information?

Jackie Spry


(814) 824-3673


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