Arlington's own Jan-Michael Sacharko of Arlington Street People's Assistance Network (A-SPAN) has been named a 2011 Outstanding Young Virginian by the Virginia Jaycees.
The award is presented to young people across the commonwealth of Virginia who make a positive impact in their communities.
“I am very happy that the Jaycees have chosen to honor someone who works for this cause, which is not very popular," Sacharko said when he accepted the award. "Ending homelessness in not a popular cause due to the fact that it seems so impossible to solve, has been an issue for so long, and no longer feels urgent… By recognizing me, you are showing that his cause is important to you and our community.”
The three other recipients this year are Outstanding Young Farmer Robert Carson Harris of Chatham, Outstanding Emergency Medical Services Responder Julie Elizabeth Bright of Richmond, and Outstanding Future Leader Andolyn Medina of Chesapeake.
Find the full release below.
"The Virginia Jaycees (Virginia Junior Chamber), the premier leadership training organization for young adults 21 to 40, is pleased to announce the 2011 Outstanding Young Virginian (OYV) award winners.
The OYV award honors individuals from across the Commonwealth of Virginia who make a positive impact in their communities. The 2011 Outstanding Young Virginians are: Jan-Michael Sacharko (A-SPAN, Arlington), Outstanding Young Farmer Robert Carson Harris (Chatham) and Outstanding Emergency Medical Services Responder Julie Elizabeth Bright (Richmond). Awards were also presented to Outstanding Future Leader Andolyn Medina (Chesapeake).
“This is the 69th year for the Outstanding Young Virginian (OYV) awards,” says Virginia Jaycees President Valerie Harte. “This year we honored four outstanding young leaders from around the Commonwealth who exemplify excellence in business, leadership, agriculture, public service and youth. They represented the “best of the best” in their chosen fields of endeavor.”
The keynote speaker, Michelle Trindade, GEICO assistant vice president, congratulated the honorees, stating GEICO is “proud to be a part of this award ceremony, honoring Virginia’s Outstanding Young Leaders of Tomorrow.” She commented that for “Today’s future leaders, perseverance is about commitment, hard work, patience, and endurance.”
Recipients were honored on November 12 during a black-tie awards ceremony at the Virginia Jaycees Annual Conference held in Alexandria, Va., emceed by Fauquier Commissioner of the Revenue, Ross D’Urso.
The 2011 award winners join a distinguished list of past honorees including former attorney General Marshall Coleman, former Lt. Governor J. Sargeant Reynolds, former Senator Paul Trible, Political cartoonist Jeff MacNelly, Wheelchair Olympics founder and war veteran Wannie Cook, Virginia Supreme Court Justice Leroy Hassel, and former Lt. Governor Don Beyer.
Mr. Sacharko’s nomination materials included: “A cornerstone of [his] work includes promoting more accurate community understanding of the typical homeless person and family and to encourage increased support for their efforts. Jan-Michael leads and supports many outreach efforts to build strong relationships with Arlington’s community schools and civic organizations.
Megan Shipley, President of the Arlington Jaycees Chapter, added “On behalf of the Arlington Jaycees, I would like to congratulate Mr. Sacharko once again for his award. We have had the opportunity to work with Jan through A-SPAN over the years and it is an honor to recognize his outstanding contributions to the local community.”
“We are so proud of Jan-Michael for receiving this award. He richly deserves it as he is an exceptional staff member and cares deeply about the issues facing homeless individuals.” Kathleen Sibert, Executive Director, A-SPAN.
The Outstanding Young Virginians are now submitted for consideration for the prestigious Ten Outstanding Young Americans Awards presented by the United States Junior Chamber.
Sponsors for this program included TowneBank, Lisa Parrish CPA, Schmergel & Mersberger PLC, and Virginia Commerce Bank.
Membership in the Virginia Jaycees is open to individuals between the ages of 21-40 looking to make a difference in their communities. Jaycee chapters operate in more than 40 communities in Virginia. For more information about the Jaycees log on to: www.vajaycee.org or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org."