Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities Seeks Candidates for $1,000 Youth Achievement Award, to be Presented at June 8, 2012 Benefit Gala

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Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities’ annual $1,000 Youth Achievement Award, a nationwide recognition of high accomplishment for students 19 or younger with learning disabilities and/or ADHD, will be presented at the organization’s annual benefit gala on June 8, 2012. Transportation and hotel accommodations for the event at the Stepping Stones Museum in Norwalk, CT will be provided for the winning student and his/her parents. Application deadline is February 28, 2012.

Ryan Haggerty of Stamford, CT, $1,000 Youth Achievement Award Winner, 2011

"We believe that it is vitally important to focus on identifying and nurturing the strengths of these students in order to help them succeed," notes Dr. Devon MacEachron, Co-Chair, Youth Achievement Award Committee.

Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities, Inc. announces that its 2012 Youth Achievement Award will be presented at The Sky’s The Limit annual benefit gala on June 8, 2012. The $1,000 award will be made to a student, age 19 or younger, with a learning disability (LD) or attention-deficit disorder (ADHD). The student must demonstrate his or her talent and determination resulting in a notable accomplishment in any field including art, music, math, athletics, or community service.

Applications for the $1,000 Youth Achievement Award may be submitted by parents, teachers, coaches, or by students themselves. The contest deadline is February 28, 2012. The application form is posted on the Smart Kids with LD website.

The $1,000 Youth Achievement Award celebrates the notable strengths of students with LD and ADHD. These students are often perceived as less capable than their peers when they struggle with reading, writing, attention, and social issues.

“Too often,” notes Dr. Devon MacEachron, co-chair of the Youth Achievement Award Committee, “we focus primarily on these children’s weaknesses. Rather, we believe that it is vitally important to focus on identifying and nurturing the strengths of these students in order to help them succeed.”

Jane Ross, Executive Director of Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities, agrees. “Each year, the remarkable accomplishments of our Award candidates demonstrate the tremendous potential that exists for these students, especially if they receive the support and confidence of their parents and teachers.”

Last year’s winner of the 2011 Youth Achievement Award was Ryan Haggerty of Stamford, CT. He decided early on not to let his severe language and reading disabilities get in the way of his goals—including his determination to excel at hockey. As a high school junior, he was recruited by the U.S. National Developmental Hockey Team. He played a key role in the team’s international Gold Medal-winning seasons in 2010 and 2011. Currently a freshman at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY, Ryan is currently leading its Division 1 hockey team in scoring, with 5 goals to date this season.

Special Recognition Awards were presented in 2011 to Jacklyn Sullivan of Levittown, LI and August Hunt of Paris, TX. Honorable Mentions were awarded to students from Providence, UT, New York, NY, Kettering, OH, and Winston Salem, NC.

The winner of the 2012 Award will be expected to attend the awards ceremony at the Stepping Stones Museum in Norwalk, CT on June 8, 2012. Transportation and hotel accommodations will be provided for the winning student and his/her parents.

Honorable Mentions will also be awarded, though attendance will not be required.

About Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities, Inc.:
Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities, Inc. is a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering parents of children with learning disabilities (LD) and attention-deficit disorder (ADHD) through providing information, guidance, and support while also educating the public about these children’s significant gifts and talents. Henry Winkler, the famed actor, director and producer as well as the author of the Hank Zipzer book series about a boy with learning disabilities and ADHD, serves as the organization's Honorary Chairman.

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