Nominations sought for Person of the Year, Young Community Leader awards


For the Recorder 

Published: 04-19-2023 12:03 PM

NORTHAMPTON — The Daily Hampshire Gazette, in partnership with the Greenfield Recorder and the United Way of the Franklin and Hampshire Region, is accepting nominations for its two annual awards given to outstanding local individuals.

The Young Community Leader Award (YCLA) honors a resident between the ages of 15 and 22 who has contributed to the community through volunteer work or other community involvement. Last year, the award was expanded to include residents of both Franklin and Hampshire counties. The award premiered in 2017, and past winners include Smith College student Lilly Fellows of Orange and Hopkins Academy student Christian Ciolkos of Hadley.

“This is the third year that I have had the honor of shining a light on our neighbors quietly exhibiting servant leadership in our midst,” said Shawn Palmer, publisher of the Gazette and Recorder newspapers. “Selecting an accomplished Person of the Year, as well as uncovering a Young Community Leader just beginning to give back is absolutely a highlight of the year.”

Each year since 2015, the Person of the Year Award has recognized a Hampshire County resident for excelling in making the Pioneer Valley a better place. Past winners have included early childhood educator Barbara Black, associate director of Cooley Dickinson Hospital’s emergency department Khama Ennis, and executive director of the Easthampton Community Center Robin Bialecki.

A $500 prize will be given to each award recipient, half to be donated to a charity of their choice.

Nominations will be reviewed by a committee comprised of representatives from the Gazette, Recorder, United Way and selected community leaders. Last year, the committee reviewed more than 75 submissions.

Awards will be presented at the United Way of the Franklin and Hampshire Region’s annual celebration on June 9.

“We are excited to return to an in-person awards event this June, after three years of virtual presentations,” said Palmer. “We look forward to seeing you all as we celebrate our community leaders.”

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Award recipients from Franklin County will also be recognized at the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce Legislative Breakfast in late June.

Nominations must be received by Friday, April 28, and can be submitted online at