Meet the 501st CSW’s Youth of the Year winners

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Eugene Oliver
  • 501st Combat Support Wing Public Affairs

The 501st Combat Support Wing is pleased to announce its 2020 Youth of the Year recipients are Janiah Beach from RAF Croughton and Yasmine Moukadam for RAF Alconbury.

In order for each teen to have won for their installation they had to apply and win at the youth center level for their respective installations.

Each Youth of the Year applicant was required to get letters of recommendation from people in the community, write four essays, rehearse a speech, create a resume and more to even apply.

“The application took a lot of time and attention,” said Beach. “It wasn't something you could get finished in a day or two. I have learned that I do have the capabilities to achieve what I set out to do and that it is important to prioritize the things that mean a lot to you.”

Achievements like this are not possible without a good support system, she said, and spoke about how the support and encouragement she’s received from home has helped her earn this award.

 “I want to thank my mom 100 percent, because she helped correct everything I wrote,” said Beach. “Time and time again it seemed like almost every night I was in her room asking for help and every time she would do it without getting tired of me.

“She even let me practice saying my speech in front of her co-workers.”

Despite there being winners from RAF Alconbury and RAF Croughton, only one could go on to represent the 501st CSW and compete at the USAFE level.

Beach and Moukadam competed in a virtual head-to-head competition to find who would go on, with Beach being named the winner.

“People keep congratulating me but I feel like I really have not done much!” said Beach. “Still, I am really happy to go on to the next level. I am starting to feel like a role model that people can look up to.”

Vernita Beach, Janiah’s mother, spoke of Janiah's accomplishment and how she thinks this award can help her as she continues to grow up and mature.

I know this experience has helped Janiah with her confidence and will continue to do so,” said Vernita.  “She was very nervous about the speech and speaking up about the obstacles that she has overcome. Speaking up and addressing her obstacles as a military child also helped her see the beauty in the experiences she is living.

“I also think this recognition has shown her that the compassion she has for others is admirable and not something that will hold her back.” 

Even though Beach will be going on to compete at the USAFE level, the lessons learned and hard work put in by both installation winners reflect the values and leadership that comes with the YOY award.

“The Youth of the Year program has honored and celebrated the nations most inspiring teens and their incredible journeys for more than 70 years,”Emily Dewey, 423d Force Support Squadron RAF Alconbury teen coordinator. “Outstanding leadership, service, academic excellence and dedication to living a healthy lifestyle have made Youth of the Year America’s premier leadership and recognition program for teens.

“These amazing young people represent the voice and spirit of hope for America. Inspiring all kids to lead, to succeed and to inspire.”