Jack Ferreira, 20, of Trumbull, is one of six Connecticut recipients of the 2019 Gold Medal Congressional Award for young Americans. Ferreira is one of three winners to receive the award in 4th Congressional District.

The Gold Medal Congressional Award is Congress’ most prestigious youth honor, organizers said. This year there are 538 recipients from 42 states.

The award is nonpartisan, voluntary, noncompetitive, and open to all youth. Participants earn bronze, silver, and gold certificates and medals. Each level involves setting goals in four program areas; voluntary public service, personal development, physical fitness, and expedition/exploration.

As recipients of the top award, gold medalists have committed themselves to at least two years of goal-setting and community involvement. To earn the award, participants must log a minimum of 400 hours of public service, 200 hours of personal development, 200 hours of physical fitness, and a five-day, four-night expedition/exploration. This year, the gold medalists contributed 295,206 volunteer hours in their communities, an average of 548 hours per medalist. For Ferreira, that number exceeded 1,400 hours working in community theatre.

“Besides supporting a local nonprofit, I was able get hands-on work experience in a field I want to pursue,” said Ferreira. “It was a win-win situation and the award was a special recognition. I congratulate all the winners, and everyone who puts in any time, without an award, to support our communities.”

Congress established the Congressional Award in 1979 to recognize initiative, service, and achievement in young people. It began as a bipartisan effort in both the Senate and the House of Representatives. The legislation was originally signed into law by President Jimmy Carter. Each subsequent president has signed continuing legislation.

“I have been working toward to this goal since 2017 and I am very excited to represent my family and Trumbull to win this amazing award,” said Ferreira, a sophomore at Sacred Heart University. He is also the 2015 winner of the President’s Volunteer Award presented by former President Barack Obama.