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2023 McCay Awards Honors YSS Youth

YSS honored inspiring youth the 2023 McCay Awards on July 18 at Reiman Gardens in Ames.

The annual event recognizes youth and young adults who have overcome obstacles and adversity with the help of YSS programs. The awards are in honor and memory of Rose and Dale McCay, through an endowment established by their children.

“In 2022, YSS programs served 10,000 youth across the state of Iowa. The youth honored here today are part of that 10,000, but as you will quickly learn they are more than just a number,” YSS President & CEO Andrew Allen said in his opening remarks. “The achievements you will witness today would not have been possible without the committed and strong community and staff support who help the youth.”

The following award winners were honored:

  • Dale McCay Award: Nate Jones
  • Rose McCay Award: Alberta Harlan
  • Perseverance Awards: Hannah Sanderson and LaRai Bennet
  • Achievement Awards: Rashauntaya Kipper and Sammuel Wilder
  • Youth Leadership Awards: CJ Christiansen and Nyssa Baggett

Rose and Dale McCay were involved with YSS since its inception. Dale was a founding board member when George Belitsos established Youth & Shelter Services in 1976. The couple later made a generous donation that allowed YSS to pay off the mortgage for the Shelter House, Iowa’s first-ever youth shelter. The facility was subsequently renamed the “Rosedale Shelter” in their honor and continues to provide a safe place for adolescents to this day.

“The McCay family has donated both time and resources for decades and left a lasting impression on the staff and youth whose lives they touched,” Allen said.

YSS staff introduced each award winner and talked about their resilience, dedication, and accomplishments. Many of the award winners shared their touching stories and thanked the people who supported them along the way.

Emily Wozniczka and Achievement Award winner Rashauntaya Kipper


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