Twelve-year-old Tysha Johnson was among scores of inspirational young people from across the United Kingdom and around the world to be named to the Diana Award Roll of Honour 2020 – having demonstrated their ability to inspire and mobilize new generations to serve their communities and create long lasting change on a global scale.
Johnson said she was proud to receive the honor and she encouraged all young people to become an agent of change.
“This award has truly impacted my life,” said Johnson.
The virtual award ceremony was held Wednesday, July 1.
Johnson is a volunteer with the Red Cross and Hands for Hunger, and fundraises and raises awareness for The Bahamas National Council for Disability. She has developed her own projects to support other children in the community, including a campaign to provide healthy breakfast to primary school children and a back-to-school drive, which involved donating school supplies to children who could not access them.
The St. Augustine’s College student, who maintains a 3.9 cumulative grade point average (GPA), is a former Little Miss Regency International, and was nominated by the Regency Bahamas Organization. She is a former Bahamas Primary School Student of The Year finalist.
It is Johnson’s belief that her age cannot hold her back from making a positive difference; as a result, in 2019, she started the “Love and Care” organization with the goal to continue making a difference.
Tessy Ojo, CEO of the Diana Award, congratulated the new Diana Award recipients, whom she referred to as “changemakers for their generation”.
“We know by receiving this honor they will inspire more young people to get involved in their communities and begin their own journey as active citizens. For over 20 years, the Diana Award has valued and invested in young people, encouraging them to continue to make positive change in their communities and lives of others,” said Ojo.
Johnson is also a member of the Bahamas National Youth Choir, a four-year member of Brownies and a Girl Guide. She joined Sapphire International Girls Club and the Junior Debutante Foundation. She is also active in Sunday school at Bahamas Harvest Church. Her love for music has seen her earn a distinction and merit in the London Trinity Piano Exam.
Johnson was nominated for the Ministry of Youth Leadership and Community Service Award 2019. In October of the same year, she received the Ministry of Youth Rising Star Award in Education.
She has a passion for performing arts. She plays piano, and has participated in the E. Clement Bethel National Arts Festival.
Johnson is a winner of both the 2017 Ministry of Youth and Culture Junior Junkanoo Essay Competition and the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association Ministry of Tourism Essay Competition 2018. She received silver in The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition in 2018.
Nominees for the Diana Award must be between ages nine and 25 at the time of nomination, and must have carried out their activity for 12 months or more. Nominations are made by someone who knows the nominee in a professional capacity, and not a family member, and need to demonstrate how the young person has gone above and beyond their average peer and the social impact they have made in their community.
Award recipients are given access to their development program, which aims to support award recipients to further their social impact, alongside personal and professional development.
Nominees are assessed in five areas: vision (demonstrates commitment and passion to the cause, evidenced through their service to that cause and through social action); social impact (creates positive social change that is of benefit to the wider community); youth-led (demonstrates how the young person has led, owned and shaped the activities they are nominating them for); service journey (evidence of transformation throughout the nominee’s service journey, including attitude, skills gained and challenges overcome); and inspiring others (demonstrates that through the nominee’s positive attitude and passionate approach to life, they are a role model to others).
The Diana Award was established in 1999 by the British government who wanted to continue Princess Diana’s legacy by establishing a formal way to recognize young people who were going above and beyond the expected in their local communities.
In 2006, it became an independent charity, which enabled them to develop into a fully-fledged youth-led movement.
Since their creation 20 years ago, they have recognized 49,000 young people from across the world for their social action and humanitarian work with the Diana Award, and trained over 33,000 young people to stand up to bullying in their schools and communities through anti-bullying ambassador training.