Junior Docent Elijah Washington Garners Social Justice Award and Competitive Educational Scholarship

YONKERS, NY, January 1, 2017 — Hudson River Museum Junior Docent Elijah Washington has received a Martin Luther King Jr. Legacy Youth Award (2017) from the African American Men of Westchester (AAMW). The Award for Social Justice honors the Yonkers’ Riverside High School junior for his work in Youth Giving Back, a teen-run club he founded that promotes community involvement. For the club, Elijah planned and implemented the First Annual Yonkers Childhood Hunger Summit, April 2016, which featured film screenings, a food drive, and popular dialogue sessions that gave community leaders a way to create tangible solutions.

More good news for Elijah: this summer he travels to Spain on a full Global Navigator scholarship from the Council on International Educational Exchange that seeks to prepare students to connect with cultures and impact global issues. Elijah, who joined the Museum’s Junior Docent program as a freshman in 2014, said:

“I am glad to be an example that you can do anything at any age. These accomplishments mean to me that I should never doubt myself anymore, if I want to do something that may seem impossible, just go ahead and give it a try. What I hope to gain from going to Spain is to explore new places, meet new people, take an adventure and … LEARN SPANISH.”

Araya Henry, Manager of Youth and Family Programs and leader of the Junior Docent Program, responds to Elijah’s achievements and his work with the Museum:

“The Junior Docent Program has, for so many years, cultivated the next generation of professionals and I am fortunate to be a part of their enrichment at the Hudson River Museum. I am rewarded each time a Junior Docent stands up to make a difference in the community, when they believe, motivate, and challenge each other to become better people, and when they leave the program as refined individuals. Elijah is a young man who not only stands up for what he believes in but is a true leader. He is exemplar of the dynamic youth we have in our Junior Docent Program, and shows how valuable this program is in the community. I am beyond proud of his accomplishments and enthusiastic for the many that are to come.”

To meet an urgent need for after-school activities for teens, the Hudson River Museum began working with the Yonkers Public School District to launch the Museum’s Junior Docent Program in 1995. The program trains students to provide hands-on programs and tours for Museum visitors, and Junior Docents train each week with curators, artists, scientists, historians and other experts to further leadership and college readiness skills. Nearly 80 high school students, representing every high school in Yonkers, participate in the program and for over 20 years, all students that have completed this program have gone on to college.