New Award to Honor, Reward Indiana Youth Worker of the Year

Indy Chamber News Archives

INDIANAPOLIS, IN –Youth workers make lifelong investments in the futures of young people across Indiana. But often times, their jobs can be thankless and difficult. That’s why the Indiana Youth Institute (IYI) and the Central Indiana Community Foundation (CICF) have teamed up to create an annual award to honor one youth worker’s service and commitment to the futures of Hoosier children.

The “D. Susan Wisely Youth Worker of the Year” award will honor one exceptional youth worker every year with a $2,500 cash prize to be used toward the winner’s professional development. The recipient also will receive free registration and travel accommodations for two to IYI’s 2015 Because KIDS COUNT® Conference, December 1 and 2 in Indianapolis. With more than 10,000 youth workers in Indiana, choosing just one winner will pose a challenge, said Glenn Augustine, interim CEO of the Indiana Youth Institute.

“Youth workers are dedicated individuals who give of themselves to help shape the lives of the young people with whom they work,” Augustine said. “The award not only will recognize the recipient’s selfless commitment, it also will provide a way for that person to gain more knowledge or skills and make an even greater impact on Indiana’s youth.”

The award bears the name of D. Susan Wisely, the retired director of evaluation at Lilly Endowment Inc. Wisely oversaw the development of numerous youth service-related programs such as the Lilly Fellows Program. The Fellows established many organizations and policies aimed at improving the quality of life for Hoosier children, including the Indiana Youth Institute.

“Susan’s passion for the youth service field led to the development of many exemplary programs,” says Katherine Tyler Scott, former director of the Lilly Endowment Leadership Education Program and Managing Partner at Ki ThoughtBridge. “The legacy she left behind at the Endowment is an impressive testament to the cherished values and traditions of its founder, Eli Lilly, who was deeply interested in the character, education, and development of young people. I can’t think of anyone more deserving nor a better way to honor the service of youth serving professionals.”

Anne Hoover, volunteer, founder and director of Community Partnerships with Youth, Inc., added “This award is a way to acknowledge Susan’s commitment, while honoring and assisting those she worked to empower during her 29 years at the Lilly Endowment.” Hoover also was mentored by Wisely.

A unique stipulation of this award is that those who apply must be on the front-lines of youth work and have a direct interaction with the young people they serve on a regular basis. Applicants also must have at least five years’ experience in youth work and be able to explain the professional development they will seek with the monetary award. Due to the professional development portion of this award, all applicants must be self-nominated. Funding for the award comes from the D. Susan Wisely Leadership Legacy Fund, a fund of the Central Indiana Community Foundation.

Award applications are available online at and are due on September 28. The winner will be notified on November 9 and will be recognized at IYI’s Because KIDS COUNT® Conference in December.

Online registration for the conference is open at The cost this year is $125 for Indiana residents who sign up by November 16 and $175 for in-state participants who register on-site. More pricing details can be found on the registration website.

The Indiana Youth Institute promotes the healthy development of Indiana children and youth by serving the people, institutions and communities that impact their well-being.


(Note to media:  For information on sending a reporter or photographer to cover the awards ceremony at BKCC 2015, contact Leslie Wells, Media Relations Manager for the Indiana Youth Institute, at (317) 396-2737 or [email protected].)

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