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Here are McLean County young leaders, mentors, who will be honored

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BLOOMINGTON — Thirty-one McLean County young leaders, two teams, two nonprofit advocate organizations and two adult mentors have been nominated for service awards sponsored by the nonprofit organization, For A Better Tomorrow.

Nominees will be honored at the organization's annual Why I See You (YICU) Service Awards celebration.

The event, at 2 p.m. Nov. 8, will be virtual this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The event will be live streamed at People also go to and request a link to register for the event, said Carolyn Hansen, a member of the YICU steering committee.

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YICU awards annually celebrate young people who positively impact individuals and their communities through volunteer service to neighborhoods, schools and human services' agencies.

"Most of these nominees operate largely under the radar, doing good deeds, sharing their time, talent and treasure quietly and selflessly," Hansen said in a statement. "These young leaders have assisted several nonprofits, touched numerous lives and volunteered countless hours to improve quality of life in our community. Please join us in recognizing and celebrating all the YICU nominees."

In addition to recognizing all nominees, nine winners across three age categories will be selected by a panel of community service leaders and one additional winner will be selected from any of the age groups or from the team category. A community nonprofit and adult mentor also will be awarded.

For A Better Tomorrow will make a $250 donation to each of the award winners' chosen nonprofits.

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Patrice O'Neil, founder of Not In Our Town, will be the guest speaker at the virtual event, Hansen said.

Youth nominees include students from Unit 5 and District 87 schools, University High School, Illinois State University, Rhodes College and Heartland Community College.

Early voting presented Illinois voters with options to stay healthy and get one's vote counted.

They are Akhila Arla, Mihir Bendre, Nikhit Bhamidipati, Satvika Boyina, Dhyan Chaudhari, Chloe Cope, Gavin Cunningham, Heather Dawson, Rachel Dawson, LeeAnn Garlish, Isha Gollapudi, Amaya Hursey, Marissa Jones, Jasmyn Jordan, Madyson McSwain, Grace Melick, Dhriti Mudigonda, Daja Parker, Saraschandrika Puvvala, Erica Rosenberger, Rickiya Ross, Sharanya Rotte, Shashi Salavath, Lineeth Sareddy, Aditi Sharma, Yvin Shin, Eden Susong, Sonika Tamilarasan, Aniya Thompson, Justin Turner and Addison "Addi" Weaver.

Team nominees are the Ekal Helping Hands and the Normal West Black Student Union.

Advocate nominees are the Helping Hands Community Center and Youth Engaged in Philanthropy.

Mentor nominees are Hansen and Shri Narayan Chandak.

More information on the nominees is at

Contact Paul Swiech at 309-820-3275. Follow him on Twitter: @pg_swiech.


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