Youth Power and Hope Awards winners make their mark on the world

Posted on Dec 22 2023 in Features

This year’s Youth Power and Hope Award winners are working to better their communities by giving of themselves. Indiana Connection and Indiana’s electric cooperatives established the Youth Power and Hope Awards in 2009 to recognize fifth through eighth graders who are stewards of their community.

The 2023 Youth Power and Hope Awards winners are:

Leah Cox


Cox is an eighth grader at Plainfield Community Middle School. She is a National Junior Honor Society member and assists with a kindergarten class. She participates in the SWAT (Special Winning Attitude Team) through her karate dojo where she will eventually teach younger students the skills she is learning. Cox also volunteers at her church and fosters cats with her family.

Chloe Kramer


Kramer is a seventh grader at North Decatur Junior-Senior High School. She has worked at Versailles State Park renovating its nature center and participated in its Clean Up a State Park Day. Kramer also spends time at local nursing homes where one of her favorite activities is bringing in a baby goat to interact with residents. She is active in 4-H and her church, and has organized food drives. She recently taught 100 adults to make bracelets at a ladies’ night out sponsored by a local radio station.

Keeton Miller


Miller is a seventh grader at South Ripley Junior High School. A highlight of his community involvement is supporting special education students, including participating in the Polar Plunge for Special Olympics. He is also active in his church where he is part of the youth group and a volunteer. Miller volunteered this summer to mow the Versailles town square and update the town’s Christmas lights. In addition, he and his sister applied for a grant to recreate the wetlands at their school. He also supports Wreaths Across America making wreaths that will be placed on veterans’ graves.

Avery Schwartz


Schwartz is a sixth grader at DeKalb Middle School. Last Thanksgiving, her family participated in a community Friendsgiving event feeding individuals and families in need. At Christmas, she volunteered at an event helping younger kids make Christmas gifts. Schwartz has also volunteered at the Fort Wayne BMX track and has accumulated 50 volunteer days there. This past summer, Schwartz participated in a fundraiser at the Eckhart Public Library and handed out school supplies at two schools. Recently, Schwartz was chosen to represent her school on the Junior Achievement student leadership board.

The award recipients were honored at a banquet during the annual meeting of Indiana Electric Cooperatives, a statewide association for Indiana’s 38 electric cooperatives and publisher of Indiana Connection.