Presented by
Iberia logo

The 2017 Family & Youth Annual Meeting and awards presentation was held on June 25, 2019 at L’Auberge Casino Resort. During the event David Spice and Emma Dunham were presented with the Youth of the Year award and Nora Popillion and Matt Young were awarded the Humanitarian of the Year Award.

Emma Dunham and David Spicer were awarded the Youth of the Year award

Emma Dunham has been an active member in The Leadership Center for Youth since 2016. Emma was a part of the team that help create the delicious King Cakes at Botsky’s for the Dough-nation fundraiser that raised money for programs for youth. She has participated in the Civic Engagement Institute once as a participant and twice as a mentor, Chamber Day at the Capitol, and is also on the Youth Advisory Council Juuling Committee where she has presented about the harmful effects of Juuling to elected officials in our community to raise awareness.

Aside from her dedication to The Leadership Center for Youth, Emma has also volunteered for the Key Club where she has dedicated her time by supplying care packages to the homeless, participated in the “We Care” drive, the school supply drive, book fair, Mardi Gras bead drive, & canned food drive, as well as participating in various community service projects with the Kiwanis Club for the past 3 years.

Emma was also a member of Beta club, Student Council, Spanish Club, was Class Representative from 2016-2017, Webmaster and Division 12 Lieutenant Governor, LEO club and is also a member of the National Honors Society. She graduated High School with Honor/Banner Roll recognition, was a National Academic Scholar, and also received the “S-Award” from Sulphur High.

Emma will be attending Louisiana State University this fall where she will be Studying Mass Communications with a concentration in Public Relations.

David Spicer has been involved with The Leadership Center for Youth since 2016 and has participated in Civic Engagement, Legislative Day, EXCEL Conference, he is Chairman of the Youth Advisory Council and is also on the Youth Advisory Council Juuling Committee.

David was a member of Beta Club where he has held the roles of President, Vice President, Secretary, and Freshman representative; President of the Sulphur Impact Program where he launched the Little Free Pantry project using a $20,000 grant from Tellurain Inc.; Secretary of the Chamber Choir, a member of Student Council, National Honor Society, Spanish Honor Society, Key Club, LEO Club, and is also a member of the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Commission.

David was also Sulphur High School’s Student of the Year, Calcasieu Parish’s Student of the Year and was a finalist for the 2019 Louisiana Student of the Year.

When David is not dedicating his time to his school work he volunteers for organizations that include: The Salvation Army, Special Olympics, Read for the Record, City of Refuge, Park to Park Marathon, and many more.

Due to his academic achievements, he has earned nearly $275,000 in scholarships..let me say that again, $275,000 in scholarships. David is attending MIT where he will be majoring in Economics and Political Science.

Both Emma and David have demonstrated leadership, dedication, and commitment through their involvement with The Leadership Center of Youth and the community as a whole. Each of these young individuals has a unique set of skills that have enabled them to become great leaders and role models for others around them. Both have shown themselves to be wonderful representatives of teens in our community.

Nora Papillion and Matt Young were awarded the Humanitarian of the Year award

Matt Young is a DeRidder native who briefly lived in California before returning to Louisiana, where he worked with Mayor Ron Roberts of DeRidder to help reshape the community. From there, he took over and enlivened the Arts & Humanities Council where he lead the council and the arts community as the spokesperson for the importance of the arts to community and economic development. While working as the Executive Director for the Arts and Humanities Council, Matt functioned as an advocate for the arts.

In 2012, Matt moved on to the O’Carroll Group where he worked as Public Relations Director. In 2015, Matt accepted a job with the City of Lake Charles as the Public Information Officer and also operated as Mayor’s liason to the Armed Forces Commission and other veteran groups, as well as planning the City’s Veterans Day Celebration and Vietnam War Veterans event. Today, Matt is the Director of Cultural Affairs for the City of Lake Charles where he spends his time planning cultural programs and events in order for the city to meet community needs. Some of Matt’s events include: Downtown at sundown, Live at the Lake Front, Living History Cemetery Tour, Spring Art Walk, and Blue for You.

Matt was one of the Chamber of SWLA’s youngest Executive Board Members, has served on the Alliance’s Quality of Life Task Force, served on the Board of Directors for Louisiana Trust for Historic Preservation as Treasurer, Friends of Central School, Junior League’s Community Advisory Board, Fusion Five Board, and has also served on the Board of American Cancer Society.

In 2015, Matt was recognized as one of Thrive Magazine’s 13 Thriving 30 Somethings; in 2018 was awarded with the Mayor’s Arts Awards and in 2019 was awarded with the Lasting Impression Award for the Convention and Visitors Bureau for his role in the creation of the haunted cemetery tour to support the Arts & Humanities Council.

It’s safe to say, Matt Young is a powerhouse. His passion for the arts and quality of life shine in every project he partakes in. His talents and dedication to the arts is what makes Southwest Louisiana special and is what has helped the art community in our area thrive.

Nora Popillion’s presence and support. Nora may be best known for his booming voice that he shares as the emcee for many special events in SWLA…and did I mention he does this Pro Bono? Like Matt, Nora is a key individual at the table when it comes to bringing quality of life, festivals, & cultural events as well as bringing big entertainment names to our community.

His efforts to put Delta Downs out in the community is evident with his support of countless sponsored and emceed events, some of which include: Downtown at Sundown, Colors for a Cause, Derby for Dollars, Tasting on the Terrace, Family Foundation’s Capital Campaign, Children’s Miracle Network Annual Phone a Thon, and Cultural Fest, just to name a few.

He has served on many boards some of which include Family & Youth Board of Directors, SOWELA Foundation Board, Community Foundation, and is also a member of SWLA Hotel Association

Earlier this year, Nora was the recipient of the Lt. Governor’s Chairman’s Award at the National Tourism Week Awards for his hard work and dedication to the state of Louisiana & for promoting Louisiana as the best place to live, work, and vacation.

Nora is a prime example of what it means to be caring and selfless. Because of him, and all of his efforts, our community is thriving. He goes out of his way to do good for those around him, not because it is required, but because it is something he enjoys. He is truly an asset and role model to this community and is always reminding us “There aint No Party Like a Delta Downs Party”.