2023 Civic Engagement Scholarship Winners

Featured, In The News, Special Events
May 26, 2023

Each year the Treasure Valley Family YMCA invites high school students to apply for the Civic Engagement Scholarship as part of the organization’s commitment to youth development and social responsibility. This year, the Y was able to distribute $42,000 to help three local students with the next step of their educational journey.

Applications were evaluated based on the student’s dedication and passion for working collaboratively to find solutions to civic issues. Each year, scholarship judges learn about passionate students who are finding creative methods to address homelessness, access to healthcare, education, environmental sustainability and more. Each must demonstrate an interest in pursuing civic work that will improve our community, whether that is as a career or volunteer.

“The Civic Engagement Scholarship selection committee was invigorated by our conversations with these outstanding young people,” said David Duro, Treasure Valley Family YMCA President and CEO. “They are each already making tremendous positive impacts on their community, and their dreams for the future are bright. We firmly believe that these three students will continue to bring people together and inspire positive, long-lasting changes in Idaho and beyond.”

Scholarships are made possible thanks to a generous endowment fund from Ed and Dottie Stimson that was designed to recognize the potential of young people to improve the world through civic engagement and civil discourse.

Amaia Clayton, Renaissance High School

Amaia has demonstrated remarkable maturity in her efforts to promote public education, gun safety, and voter engagement at the highest levels of state government and in the community. Her ability to communicate successfully with humility and curiosity is notable. Whether organizing and speaking at a rally on the steps of the Capitol, testifying before the Idaho State Legislature, or serving as an Ada County poll worker, her goal is to ensure people’s voices are included and heard. Amaia helped register 100 students to vote knowing they had different political viewpoints. But, as Amaia says, that was never the point. “What matters is that everyone deserves a say.” Interested in pursuing the study of public policy and political science, Amaia hopes to work in the civic sphere after college and ultimately seek political office. Amaia will attend Duke University.

Amaia has been invited to be the inspirational speaker at the Treasure Valley Family YMCA’s Annual Meeting in June to speak about her passions and visions for the future.

Sayed Mirbacha, Timberline High School

Sayed is an exceptional student leader who is the epitome of resilience and passion. Sayed is a refugee who recently fled from the Taliban in Afghanistan. In his short time in America he has quickly established himself as a leader in his school’s Climate Justice League and Sources of Strength (SOS) program. His participation in the Climate Justice League has allowed him to teach younger students about environmental issues and to work in community activities committed to achieving clean energy for all. As a leader in the SOS program he works to improve the overall climate of his school and help fellow students find solace and strength as they cope with challenges to their mental and physical health. 

Sayed’s goal to become a doctor is fitting for someone so dedicated to ensuring a healthy community and planet. Sayed will attend Boise State University.

Amelia Alvarez, Ridgevue High School

Amelia is a budding politico who sees herself in a career in the government’s Executive Branch helping write and edit federal legislation.

Civic Engagement Scholarship evaluators can easily envision her as a confident and effective member of Congress. As a member of the Nampa Mayor’s Teen Council, she has focused on educating youth about leadership skills, community service, and the workings of local government. As President of her school’s debate team Amelia has honed skills that will support her ability to advocate for her passions including women’s rights and gun safety. Her commitment to community service and social justice are unwavering. We are excited to see our civic life enhanced by her participation for years to come. Amelia is still considering schools.

About the Scholarship Endowment Fund

Dottie and Ed Stimpson, longtime community volunteers and philanthropists, endowed the YMCA Civic Engagement Scholarship. The scholarship recognizes seniors of high schools located in the geographic area served by the Treasure Valley Family YMCA: Ada and Canyon Counties. Recipients of the scholarship have made significant contributions to their community through community service and have worked to improve the Treasure Valley through civic engagement and action. They demonstrate a passion for and dedication to working collaboratively to find solutions for civic issues (whether homelessness, healthcare, education, environment, etc.). In addition, they dedicate themselves to pursuing civic work (whether career or volunteer) that will strengthen and improve our communities. The award is also influenced by financial need.