April 27, 2021 – Last week, Members of Congress in California recognized 404 Bronze, Silver and Gold medalists from The Golden State. Presented by Otsuka, the 2021 Congressional Award California statewide ceremony provided an opportunity for elected officials to connect with their young constituents and recognize them for their hard work over the past year. Members of Congress in attendance included Congressman Ted Lieu (CA-33), Congresswoman Linda Sanchez (CA-38), and Congresswoman Judy Chu (CA-27).
Innes Meldrum, SVP & Chief Commercial Officer of Otsuka, kicked off the ceremony with congratulatory remarks for the students and discussed the importance of mental health for youth during this time. “Otsuka’s purpose is to ‘defy limitation, so that others can too’ and that guides everything we do as an organization. Given the many challenges youth have faced this past year, from limited social interaction with friends, to restricted school and sporting activities to name a few, each of the awardees have overcome obstacles to achieve their goals and exemplify this purpose, so I am delighted to see them honored today by the Congressional Awards Foundation.”
Congressman Ted Lieu (CA-33) led the ceremony and commended the students for taking on Congress’ challenge for youth, even in the midst of a pandemic. “It is truly inspiring to see a group of students this large and spanning so many different skillsets, hobbies, and interests, commit to exploring their passions and give aid to communities across the state.” Congressman Lieu’s district falls within the top 5 Congressional Districts in regards to program participation across the country.
As a state, California boasts the highest youth participation in The Congressional Award program, making up almost 15% of participants nationwide. In the past year alone, participants from California have logged over 115,400 hours of Voluntary Public Service in their communities.
Megan Wang of West Lake High School in Thousand Oaks, CA reflected on her time since registering for The Congressional Award program back in 2018, “The experiences I’ve had have allowed me to become a more compassionate person and an involved member of my community.” Megan earned her Silver Medal in the height of the pandemic this past summer and additionally will join the 2021 Gold Medal Class and be recognized for her achievements on a national scale this coming summer.
The Congressional Award is the United States Congress’ only charity and the highest honor bestowed upon a youth civilian through the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. Established by Congress as a public-private partnership in 1979 under Public Law 96-114, the program recognizes initiative, service, and achievement in youth ages 13 ½ – 23. Learn more at www.congressionalaward.org.
Name: Bethie Woodall
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