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The Congressional Award

“The Congressional Award, a public-private partnership, established by Congress in 1979 under Public Law 96-114, is a non-competitive program open to young people ages 14-23, regardless of mental or physical challenges, or socioeconomic status. The Congressional Award Foundation teaches participants to set and achieve personally challenging goals that build character, and foster community service, personal development, and citizenship.” (from Congressional Award: Congress’ Award for Youth)

Astute parents and students understand that the students who get the best scholarship opportunities are students who not only excel academically but who also show leadership, character and other indicators of integrity. The Congressional Award program offers the opportunity for distinction to students by offering the opportunity to earn the bronze, silver and gold medal awards.

Participation in this program involves setting and achieving goals in the areas of:

  • Community Service

  • Personal Growth

  • Physical Fitness

  • Expedition/Exploration

How does a student participate? Students must first register with the program at In order to register, a student needs to list his/her congressional district and the name of their congressional member. The student will also need to print out a waiver and send in a check for $15.00 to finalize the registration process.

The Student Advisor- The registration form will ask for the name of the student’s advisor for this process. The advisor can be any adult who is not a member of the student’s family. Teachers, coaches, civic leaders, neighbors and close family friends can be excellent advisors. The Congressional Award program describes the advisor’s role as:

  • Meeting with the student to set acceptable and challenging goals

  • Staying in touch with the student throughout their pursuit of the award

  • Helping the student put together their award booklet to submit when the student has completed his/her goals.

Potential advisors can read all about the program and the duties of an advisor by visiting the Congressional Award: Congress’ Award for Youth and clicking on the Adult Volunteers tab. There is then a link to a section called “Become an Advisor” that covers the Advisor’s duties.

The Validators- Each of the student’s activities in pursuit of the Congressional Award will need to be validated by someone involved in supervising that activity. The student will have a form that he or she fills out for each activity that must also be signed by someone who can confirm the student’s involvement and accomplishments in that activity. So, while a student only has one advisor throughout the program, there will be many different validators involved in the different components of it.

The Awards- Students can start the program by working towards their bronze, silver and gold certificates before moving on to their bronze, silver and gold medals. Many students, however, just start off by working towards the bronze medal. Once the bronze medal is awarded, the student is automatically given the bronze, silver and gold certificates. (Each level of achievement builds on the previous levels.)


Thomas Suozzi the U.S. Representative of House from New York’s 3rd district invited us to his office in the capitol building to congratulate our student, his family, and his mentors for his achievement, and wished him the best in luck for his future achievements and life.

Washington DC

Congressional Award Ceremony

Our student Muhammed Colak has received the Congressional Award Gold medal in June with his achievements he has completed in volunteer work, community work and etc. He has help set up dialogue dinners for his community and volunteered in renovating an orphanage in Tanzania.

Our student completed 400 hours in volunteer services, 200 hours in personal development, 200 hours in physical fitness, and has set up a trip internationally for 5 day and 4 nights to enrich his knowledge for cultures.


On October 21, 2018, U.S. Representatives Yvette Clarke (NY-09) and Carolyn Maloney (NY-12) hosted The Congressional Award’s 2018 New York Statewide Ceremony at New York Law School in the Tribeca neighborhood of Lower Manhattan, New York City.

New York Statewide Congressional Award Ceremony

Highly qualified universities are every young students’ dream. The prestige and recognition of such a university will open doors for every student because employers and graduate school admissions officers will know immediately that you went to an extremely competitive school. Those universities always look for students who are up for an intellectual challenge and genuinely enjoy learning. In order to be one of those students, you need to have a solid background.


That’s why, we, as Youth Island, are always interested on preparing our students for their best. One of the first steps we see as most important is to start off with SAT/ACT prep courses because having a high score from these examinations enables students to get easier into the universities they aim for and study the major they want.


When no camps are planned, Youth Island’s mentors always put aside time to organize SAT/ACT prep classes for students who are close to starting their college paths.


Women in STEM

Through our #WomenInSTEM Challenge, we asked young women across the country to show us how they were incorporating Science, Technology, Engineering, or Math into their pursuit of The Congressional Award.

After receiving an overwhelming response of nearly 100 submissions, a panel of judges selected five deserving participants as contest winners. The submissions were as diverse as they were impressive - like teaching students to code, founding non-profits, shattering the glass ceiling of robotics championships, and even working with the National Parks to help conserve our environment.

The challenge served as the first of many steps The Congressional Award is taking to encourage young people to explore and immerse themselves in the bolstering world of STEM.

A limited edition Congressional Award polo and a chance to be featured on our website and marketing materials as a STEM Ambassador.

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