NSPN Awards 

Youth service professionals, dedicated volunteers, and community organizations constantly work diligently to strengthen youth and families in communities across the country.

National Safe Place Network (NSPN) is honored to recognize those making a difference in the lives of youth and families through the following awards:


Community Involvement Award – Active community partners are crucial to thriving youth service organizations.  These partners help in many ways: assisting with financial or in-kind needs; supplying employees as volunteers; or serving as a Safe Place site, opening their doors to young people in need.  The successful nominee will be a business, serving as a community partner, which has consistently gone above and beyond the expectations of the local program.

Culture Of Respect Award – This award honors those who champion the cause of justice and equality. The recipient of this award will exemplify the spirit by:

  • Demonstrating consistent professional and/or organizational development in the areas of cultural competency and social justice.
  • Demonstrate leadership  in securing or maintaining access to resources, representation and/or decision making power for all youth, their families and community.

Executive Leadership Award – Many youth service providers have had the privilege to work with an individual who consistently goes out of his or her way to lead staff in providing quality services for youth and families. This award seeks to recognize a leader  who is consistently dedicated to staff and works hard to fulfill the mission of the youth service organization. The selected nominee must be an executive leader with at least three years of involvement with a youth service organization.

Helping Hands Volunteer Award – With limited resources, volunteers are often the unsung heroes of youth service organizations and are crucial to daily operations. This is the opportunity to recognize an individual or group of volunteers who  go above and beyond the call of duty. The selected nominee will show extraordinary dedication to the youth services field and the young people served. This award for outstanding volunteer achievement recognizes the valuable contribution of youth and adult volunteers who provide direct support and/or services to the organization, participate in fundraising, and/or engage in community awareness activities. Consideration will be given to nominees who regularly volunteer and/or have:

  • Displayed outstanding commitment to a youth service organization
  • Made a significant financial contribution or assisted in raising a significant contribution for the organization

HEROES for Youth Award – This award recognizes individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to the services provided to at-risk youth on a national scale. HEROES serves as an acronym for individuals who:

H     Hear the voices of at-risk youth
E     Engage in the discussion
R     Respond to the call
O     Observe the need for change
E     Educate and encourage key stakeholders to make a difference
S     Significantly change the lives of at-risk youth for the better

Additionally, award recipients will have: 

  • Developed effective, innovative responses to the needs of youth.
  • Demonstrated exemplary youth advocacy efforts.
  • Exhibited broad leadership and commendable service.
  • Achieved recognizable accomplishments and positively influenced the field of youth services.

Lifetime Achievement Award – This award recognizes an individual whose distinguished record of professional achievements and accomplishments has improved the lives of youth and families across decades.  The contributions are so outstanding that the individual’s influence is of lasting importance to the entire spectrum of youth and family services and the community.  The selected nominee will have demonstrated:

  • Commitment to youth and families and services provided to enhance the lives of those in need.
  • Commitment to the values of the National Safe Place Network as demonstrated through participation and support of the work carried out by NSPN and its affiliates.
  • Commitment to advancing the field of youth work through support of innovative programming, collaboration, advocacy and research.
  • Commitment to serving as an exemplary role model to youth, families and community members.

Model Program Award – This award recognizes agencies that have developed creative and innovative ways to improve service delivery to youth and their families.  It will be awarded to a youth service organization that has accomplished the following:

  • Developed a strategy which demonstrates creativity and innovation in providing services to youth and families.
  • Demonstrated program effectiveness through evaluation efforts.
  • Exhibited potential for replication in other organizations.
  • Demonstrated effectiveness through testimonials from clients or other agencies.

Safe Place Coordinator Of The Year – Year in and year out, the Safe Place Coordinator’s work is vital to a successful program.  Many Coordinators work additional hours or under difficult circumstances to maintain a quality program. Essential Coordinator duties include successful fundraising, communication with Safe Place sites, increasing community awareness including outreach to youth, and positively representing the local agency and National Safe Place Network.

This award recognizes the Coordinator who provides quality Safe Place program management and does so without expecting recognition for their invaluable efforts.  The successful nominee will have a minimum of one year of direct Safe Place coordination.

Youth in Action Award Youth are not only the future. They are the present. They are leaders of change efforts at local, state, and national levels. They are contributing their time and expertise as volunteers, Advisory Board members, paid staff, and members of Boards of Directors. These young people recognize the power of their voices for positive change and are committed to being part of efforts to respond to issues important to their lives and communities. This award recognizes a young person or a group of young people, age 24 and under, whose efforts go above and beyond to make a difference in the lives of others. For example, do you know a group of youth who has started a clothing drive? How about a youth who leads activities in a program? Have you seen a young person advocate for change? Youth share their skills in a variety of ways – look for youth making a difference.

Submit a Nomination


To view past NSPN Award winners, please click here. If you need assistance submitting a nomination for the 2023 awards, please contact NSPN at [email protected]. The deadline to submit a nomination is April 21, 2023.