Post 483 wins Shorty for youth program response to COVID-19 and violence

Friday, Nov. 20, 2020
LAURELTON, NY – American Legion Post 483 was the winner for a 2020 Shorty Award that recognizes a social good using social media.
Post 483 won the Shorty Award for Best Veteran & Service Support cause. Post 483 members planned during the early lockdown months of COVID-19. The Community Service Skills Initiative Program received funding from Post 483 and donations from individuals and organizations. Twenty-three young people graduated and earned special achievement awards for excellence. The program focused on enhancing critical thinking, business acumen and community service.
"The young people are our future," said Lee Blackmon, commander for American Legion Post 483. "When we have space, the dedicated veterans, and the time to give a little something to our young people, we do it. I had the distinct pleasure of ensuring we provided a safe environment. Many veterans here joined the service out of high school; serving is all some of us know."
"We will continue to find the funding necessary to meet the needs of the community," said Maj. (retired) Sharon Lindsay-Sweeting, vice commander of Post 483. "When Timmie mentioned the desire to move on this initiative, I immediately made the resources we had available. I look forward to bringing the initiative back for the winter and summer months in the future. We have established our 'Sons' at Post 483, and they will play an instrumental role in our next phase. Sons of The American Legion are the sons of veterans who are members of the post."
"It's important to engage youth. Many weren't planning on staying indoors throughout the summer," said Timothy Turane, public relations officer for Post 483. "Based on the reported 150% increase in gun violence and the slow reduction rate in new COVID-19 cases between June and July, it was clear the community was getting restless. Whenever there was an interesting activity to participate in, people participated. If nothing else, the pandemic provided an opportunity for caring people to engage and encourage our youth. I had 9/11; I still deal with the effects of that today. 2020 will be no different for our modern-day teens."
The Shorty Awards were the first awards to honor social media; the winners are on their website. The awards categories are campaign, cause, industry, platform, partnerships and video content. Notable winners include Michelle Obama.