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Congresswoman Chu Presents Congressional Medal to Local Youth

March 30, 2011
Press Release
EL MONTE, CA – Congresswoman Judy Chu (D-CA) hosted an awards ceremony at her district office on Friday, March 25, 2011 to honor local youth Belinda Cheng, the recipient of the Congressional Bronze Medal.

The Congressional Award program is a public private partnership created by Congress to promote and recognize achievement, initiative and service in America’s youth. To earn a Congressional Award, youths set and achieve individual goals in four different areas: voluntary public service, physical fitness, personal development and expedition or exploration. This award provides a unique opportunity for young people to set and achieve personally challenging goals that build character and foster community, service, personal development, and friendship.

The benefits of this award are many-fold: it provides recipients with a tangible measure of success that they can use in their college, scholarship or job applications. It encourages interaction and relationship building with members of the community. It empowers young people to take greater responsibility for their own lives, to discover new talents, and to advocate on behalf of others. And it establishes a sense of self-confidence and promotes volunteerism.

"Belinda Cheng is one of just a few select youths across our nation who have stepped up to this challenge and given it her all. Her accomplishments are truly impressive," said Congresswoman Chu. As part of her award program, Belinda volunteered over 100 hours of service to Simply Savant, where she assited with the establishment of a library program which donates books to schools, orphanages and other clubs for a year. For personal development, she worked to improve her public speaking skills by presiding over different clubs at her school. To improve her overall physical fitness, Belinda devoted some of her free time to improving her performance in tennis. For her expedition, Belinda traveled throughout the Northeast, starting in Boston, then heading through Rhode Island, New Jersey and New York.

"As a former educator, I know first-hand the difference that adults can make in mentoring and encouraging youth to achieve their dreams and goals. And that is one of the things that I really love about this program," added Rep. Chu. Adults play a very important role by advising participants on an individual basis, and helping them set challenging but achievable goals. They also validate participants’ activities in the four program areas. Belinda received support in her quest for a Congressional Award from teachers, friends, family and mentors, as well as her advisor, Peter Leung.
The Congressional Award Program began in 1979. Every year, only about 1,000 Bronze Awards, 400 Silver Awards, and 250 Gold Awards are distributed. California is one of the most active states in the Awards Program, with participants in the state contributing more than 325,000 hours of community service.