Better Youth, Inc.
Los Angeles, California
Lifetime Award Honoree F. Gary Gray, recognized by Better Youth for Gray’s
mentoring and support of youth interested in media arts
Better Youth (www.betteryouth.org) is a mentoring and creative development agency for urban youth ages 12-24 founded by Executive Director, Syd Stewart. Through programs such as the Real to Reel Global Youth Film Festival, Better Crew, Beauty Boot Camp, and Better Brothers, the organization provides mentoring support and skills-based training to expand access to technology and media for self-expression and career development. Through PVSA, Better Youth has recognized volunteer mentors and instructors who inspire and teach youth through their programs, including recent honoree F. Gary Gray, director of feature films including Friday, The Italian Job, Straight Outta Compton, and upcoming release The Fate of the Furious.
Shawn Jackson, Director of Operations and Learning Innovations, shared his reflections on how PVSA helps celebrate the contributions of their volunteers:
“Being a Certifying Organization for the President’s Volunteer Service Award is an honor for us. As the competencies for meeting 21st century demands continue to evolve, so must our ability to educate and validate our youth. Better Youth is an organization that embraces technological change while fulfilling our mission to transform young people through mentoring, media arts training and certification.
“One of our prime objectives is to validate and help certify informal and formal learning. This vital work is accomplished through the devotion of our invaluable volunteers, professional mentors and dedicated staff. We became a Certifying Organization to demonstrate our gratitude to the aforementioned by honoring the commitment to service in our youth constituents and community leaders. PVSA is one of the highest volunteer service honors America provides to its citizens. We believe excellence is defined by service to others. This award reflects our core values.”