Paducah Bank Teen Ambassador Morgan Guess has been named one of 10 winners of the Zonta International Young Woman in Public Affairs Award
. She will receive a $6500 scholarship.
Established in 1990 by Past International President Leneen Forde, Zonta has given $1.2 million to 819 young women from 58 countries. Winners from 2020 represented the United States, New Zealand, Ghana, Australia, Nepal, Germany, and the United Kingdom.
"I am deeply grateful to Zonta for this award," said Guess. "I believe in the power of women to make our communities and world safer and kinder places. I am committed to doing my part."
Zonta clubs each select one application to send to the Zonta district/region. A district/region evaluating committee reviews the applications and selects one applicant per district/region to submit to Zonta International Headquarters. The Zonta International YWPA Committee recommends 10 international recipients from the district/region applications to the Zonta International Board. Guess was sponsored by Elizabethtown's Zonta Club. Club President Linda T. Funk mentored her throughout the application process.
Morgan, co-founder of the Guess Anti-Bullying Foundation
, has spent 10 years working to create kinder schools and communities. She successfully lobbied for legislation that now protects all 640,000 Kentucky public school students. She recently had an official Be Kind Kentucky license plate approved and is donating all proceeds to the 16-youth mental health drop-in centers. If they are purchased for just 10% of Kentucky vehicles, she will donate $1.7 million over the next decade to provide mental health services to the Commonwealth's young people ages 15 to 25.
She received the peace prize for service - the National Jefferson Award for Public Service for an Individual 35 and Under. She was named one of America's Top 10 Youth Volunteers by the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards. She also was selected as a Hasbro Community Action Hero and is featured in their "Be Fearless Be Kind" national campaign. She won the Kentucky Justice Association Consumer Safety Award and was named Kentucky's top youth volunteer by Governor Steve Beshear. She is also an Ashoka Changemaker and was named Paducah Bank/Paducah Sun Teen of the Year.
Guess is the daughter of Craig and Susan Guess and will attend Duke University this fall.
Though about 40% of the world’s workforce is women, according to data from the Inter-Parliamentary Union, only 25.1% of all national parliamentarians were female as of 1 October 2020. Because Zonta International believes that young women are the key to women’s advancement in the field of public service, it offers the Young Women in Public Affairs (YWPA) Award, which recognizes young women, ages 16-19, for demonstrating leadership skills and commitment to public service and civic causes and encourages them to continue their participation in public and political life.
Zonta International is a leading global organization of professionals empowering women worldwide through service and advocacy.
Zonta International envisions a world in which women's rights are recognized as human rights and every woman is able to achieve her full potential. In such a world, women have access to all resources and are represented in decision making positions on an equal basis with men. In such a world, no woman lives in fear of violence.