Orange County Celebrates Youth During Luncheon

GOSHEN – Orange County celebrated the 37th annual County Executive/Youth Bureau Awards Luncheon on Thursday at Kuhl’s Highland House in Middletown.

“It’s wonderful that we take time to honor the young men and women who are actually changing the world,” Orange County Executive Steven M. Neuhaus said. “These students are doing amazing things in their communities and should be recognized. I also would like to congratulate everyone from Orange County government who was honored at the event. Their hard work and dedication to the residents of Orange County is greatly appreciated.”

This year, approximately 500 guests joined in the celebration of just over 100 honorees, which included students from Orange County, youth workers, school-based professionals, local businesses and County employees. Students honored with the Positive Change Leading to Success Award have had to overcome different challenges and have become role models for others. A number of youth receiving the Spirit of Success Award have proven to be an inspiration in spite of significant physical and/or medical difficulties. Many other youth who make significant contributions in their communities received the Outstanding Citizenship/Volunteerism/Leadership Award.

Adults, business and community partners were also recognized for their many contributions to making a difference in the lives of young people and their families. The award nominations were submitted by Orange County schools, municipalities and not-for-profit community-based organizations that work with children/youth. Winners were selected by members of the Awards Committee, consisting of current and past members from the Youth Bureau’s Youth Advisory Board.

Anne Caldwell, a Senior Case Supervisor with Orange County’s Department of Social Services was honored with the Carol Chichester Beacon of Light award. The special recognition goes to an individual who demonstrates some of the many attributes that Chichester possessed during her 25 years as the County’s Youth Bureau Director. The award was created in Chichester’s honor to be given to an adult who serves in a supervisory capacity, promoting and maintaining the high standards that ensure quality youth services.

Four County employees were recognized with the Youth Bureau’s Special Appreciation Award: Social Services Reproduction Specialist Leslie Eckerson, Department of Finance Director of Accounts Kathlee DeRose, Employment and Training’s Information Coordinator Tammy Burch and Associate Account Clerk II Marianne Mack.

“Events like the Awards Luncheon give us the opportunity to take the time to recognize outstanding youth and the adult champions for youth and families who are making such positive contributions to their communities,” Orange County Youth Bureau Director Rachel Wilson said. “We appreciate the strong teamwork of Advisory Board members, event youth and adult volunteers, and Youth Bureau staff who work closely together to make the event extra special for the awardees and their supporters. Thank you to our funders, the County of Orange and the New York State Office of Children and the generous sponsors who provided the funding to cover expenses and provide monetary awards to some of the youth awardees.”

The Orange County Youth Bureau’s mission is to promote positive development through county-wide integrated planning, funding, monitoring, coordinating and developing youth and family services programs for Orange County youth. Follow them on Facebook at to stay in touch with highlights about their department and funded programs.

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