Spirit of Youth Award


The Virginia Spirit of Youth Award recognizes and celebrates a young adult who has made great strides following involvement with the juvenile justice system; has overcome personal obstacles; and is today making significant contributions to society.


The award recipient must be:

  • Under the age of 28 years;
  • Previously adjudicated delinquent/involved in the juvenile justice system in Virginia;
  • Currently involved in bettering the lives of youth; and
  • Not a member of the (National) Coalition for Juvenile Justice.

Nominations & Selection Process

The Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) and the Advisory Committee on Juvenile Justice (ACJJ) will recognize appropriate boundaries of confidentiality when handling application forms, including personal or sensitive information about nominees. A subcommittee of the ACJJ will review and discuss all nominations, and select the award recipient.


DCJS will invite the recipient to its annual juvenile justice conference to receive the award in front of a statewide audience. The award recipient will be given the opportunity to share their experience and what made a difference in his or her life. The recipient’s travel and lodging accommodations will be provided to enable the recipient to attend and speak at the annual conference. The recipient will also be the ACJJ’s nominee for the Coalition for Juvenile Justice (CJJ) national Spirit of Youth Award.
The award recipient will be asked to sign a release form granting DCJS permission to use descriptive material and photos without compensation for the express purpose of promoting recognition for the recipient, the award and the organization.


Completed nominations are accepted on a continuous basis and should be submitted to Laurel Marks.
Submissions should be limited to 6 pages maximum and must include the following information. All information will be submitted to the review committee for consideration.


  1. Nominee:
    1. Name
    2. Street Address, City, State, Zip
    3. Phone
    4. E-mail
    5. Age (if the nominee is currently 28, when is his/her birthday?)
  2. Please answer the following questions about the nominee in detail
    1. How has the nominee transformed his or her life in a positive way?
    2. What were the obstacles this person overcame?
    3. Please provide some background information about the nominee’s offense history. Do not feel obliged to divulge specific offense information, but provide enough information to indicate extent of involvement with the juvenile justice system.
    4. What contributions has this person made in bettering the lives of youth in his or her community?
    5. How does this person exemplify the importance of the rehabilitative focus of the juvenile justice system?
    6. Why are you recommending this person for the Spirit of Youth Award?
  3. Individual forwarding this nomination
    1. Name
    2. Affiliation/Organization
    3. Street Address, City, State, Zip
    4. Phone
    5. E-mail
  4. Name of additional individual who can provide independent corroboration of the information contained within the application:
    1. Name
    2. Affiliation/Organization
    3. Street Address, City, State, Zip
    4. Phone
    5. E-mail