Alpharetta student awarded ‘Very Best in Youth’
October 07, 2009
GLENDALE, Calif. – After a nationwide search spanning nearly a thousand entries, Nestlé USA is proud to announce the winners of the 2009 Nestlé Very Best In Youth Competition, including local winner Mackenzie Bearup, 16, from Alpharetta.
“I’m so thrilled to have been named as one of the 2009 Nestle Very Best In Youth” said Bearup. “It’s a great way for teens to see the various ways award winners across the country have made a difference, and hopefully be inspired to get involved and find their calling. Being active and helping others can really make you feel good about yourself.”
Hailing from 18 states, each winner represents a driving force for change in their local community and wins a donation of $1,000 to the charity of their choice.
Honoring young people between the ages of 13 to 18 for achievements in local community service and academic excellence, the biannual Nestlé Very Best In Youth Competition is now in its twelfth year.
Bearup caught the judges’ eye because of her fundraising and community spirit as well as the courage she has shown in overcoming physical difficulties.
Diagnosed a few years ago with Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, a painful neurological disorder, and unable to attend school, Bearup found comfort in reading and wanted to ensure that every child in her community had access to books.
With that goal in mind, she set up a book drive that to date has donated more than 22,000 children’s books to homeless shelters and residential treatment centers throughout Georgia and Kentucky.
Currently, Bearup is opening reading rooms in 15 shelters throughout Georgia.
“Mackenzie and the rest of our 2009 Nestlé Very Best In Youth winners truly represent the best and brightest of our future leaders,” said Ken Bentley, vice president of community affairs/educational programs at Nestlé USA.
“These winners reflect not only the best in youth, but set an example for us all of how to change and improve the lives of those around us. We at Nestlé are excited to play a supporting role in Mackenzie’s story and to bring attention to the young people making a difference in our local communities.”
Bearup and the other 23 honorees will each receive a four-day trip to Los Angeles for an awards ceremony in July 2009 and a donation of $1,000 to the charity of their choice.
The winners will also be featured in the 2009 Nestlé Very Best In Youth book, a publication with complimentary distribution to schools and libraries nationwide.
Nestlé’s judging panel looked for a combination of academic achievement and special contributions to school, church or community groups from entrants.
Following a call for entries in spring 2008, the panel reviewed hundreds of letters of recommendation for applicants nationwide before naming this year’s honorees.