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Young environmentalist named to YSA List

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Anoka Abeyrathne, the 21-year-old who is working to mitigate climate change through mangrove re-plantation, has been named to the YSA List: The Most Powerful and Influential Young People. Sponsored by The Huffington Post and organized by YSA (Youth Service America), the YSA List recognizes and rewards 25 teens and young adults who, through service to others, are creating large-scale, profound community change.

Commenting on the honor, Anoka Abeyrathne said: “I am inspired to act because I am passionately curious about protecting the environment while creating harmony between communities and the environment. But mostly due to that burning urge to act and give back to nature and to motivate other young people in return to do their part in saving their planet.”
As part of her award, Abeyrathne wrote a reflection titled “Eco-entrepreneurship,
Music videos and a World of change!” It is available online at The Huffington Post.

Abeyrathne is the third honoree named to the YSA List, which launched on April 20, 2012, in conjunction with Global Youth Service Day celebrations. Her work towards promoting renewable energy and sustainable methods in harnessing nature was featured in The Huffington Post, and has given her the opportunity to influence the lives of the Bolgoda Lake community in the most positive way. She has turned into an inspiration for the Sri Lankan youth to create Sri Lanka’s first environmental video and to set a Guinness world record acting as a team. The YSA List honorees will be unveiled on The Huffington Post over the course of 25 days from April 20 to May 14, 2012.

In addition to personal profiles spotlighting honorees’ achievements, each honoree will use The Huffington Post platform to tell the story of service, share inspirations, inspire others, and rally support for his or her cause. Twenty five honorees receive a $1,000 honorarium from YSA to support their ongoing service efforts. Honorees also receive recognition through YSA platforms and media campaigns, as well as permanent Huffington Post blogger accounts, providing a platform for continued promotion of their good works.

List of honorees, soon to be revealed, hail from diverse regions of the world: South Dakota and Rhode Island, US, Uganda, Jordan, Australia, Rwanda, Sri Lanka, Honduras and Colombia. They are leading personalities in raising awareness about health crises; addressing childhood hunger; speaking out on LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) issues; inventing cutting-edge technology; and more.

Announcing the YSA List in a Huffington Post op-ed, YSA president and CEO Steven A
Culbertson wrote: “The YSA List is about changing perceptions - it’s for anyone who still believes that young people ‘can’t’ do things, ‘shouldn’t’ act a certain way, ‘don’t’ deserve a voice. With the YSA List, we recognize and reward 25 incredible young people, and we hold them up as examples of what young people are capable of. The YSA List is a testament not only to these 25 honorees, but to the millions kids who, every day, are making a difference in their communities through service.” Honorees were nominated by peers, mentors, elected officials, and others who value their service across five categories. Young people ages five to 25 were eligible. Nominations were open from December 18, 2011 to January 31, 2012, and more than 500 applications were reviewed by leaders in the fields of youth service as well as experts from specific issue areas.

Celebrating 25 years of youth changing the world, YSA (Youth Service America) improves communities by increasing the number and the diversity of young people, ages five to 25, serving in substantive roles. Through campaigns, grant programs, resource development and training opportunities, YSA promotes a global culture of engaged youth committed to a lifetime of service, learning, leadership and achievement. Sponsored by YSA, Global Youth Service Day (GYSD) is a campaign that celebrates and mobilizes millions of children and youth who improve their communities each day of the year through service. GYSD 2012 was held from April 20 to 22 in more than 100 countries on six continents. For more information, visit www.YSA.org and www.GYSD.org.

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