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Waubonsee Community College student Zayra Juarez was selected by the Aurora Navy League, Aurora University and the Rotary Club of Aurora to receive the annual Ted Brattin Civic Youth Award, given to a student who has exhibited qualities of citizenship, service and leadership.

Waubonsee Student Receives Ted Brattin Civic Youth Service Award

A Waubonsee Community College student who already has dedicated countless hours to serving her hometown of Aurora has been selected to receive the Ted Brattin Civic Youth Award.

Zayra Juarez, 19, of Aurora, was one of 10 local students honored with the award on Dec. 9, during a luncheon hosted by the Rotary Club of Aurora.

The award and luncheon, sponsored by the Aurora Rotary, the Aurora Navy League and Aurora University, annually recognizes Fox Valley students, ages 13-19, who have exhibited qualities of civic involvement, leadership and community service through school and community activities.

Juarez has volunteered since she was 15 years old. For the last four years, she has served in after school and summer camp programs at First Presbyterian Church in Aurora. Participants in the programs receive tutoring, mentoring and the opportunity to use the church's gym, as well as religious instruction.

Juarez has also served as a volunteer with the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, walking door-to-door to help Aurora residents register to vote and supporting the coalition's efforts to make drivers licenses available to more immigrants.

Further, she and her father have also parlayed a newfound love of bicycling into a new community service venture, launching a "recycled bicycle repair shop," providing low-cost bicycle repair to her community.

Juarez said her experiences working in the community inspired her to major in political science, with an eye toward international law.

At Waubonsee, she serves as secretary for Latinos Unidos, a student organization providing cultural opportunities for students and fostering awareness of the richness of Latino culture. She also is active in Waubonsee's Christian Fellowship student organization.

"This community service helped me reach my inner potential," Juarez said. "I learned that having a voice in the community can make many changes and all for the good of everyone."