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New awards for supporting youth

The award is designed to recognize and celebrate individuals who have made significant yet often unrecognized contributions to their communities by empowering and supporting youth
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Gateway & Nick’s Place Announces the “LION Heart Awards” to Honor Community Heroes Empowering Youth

Gateway & Nick’s Place is proud to announce the launch of the "LION Heart Awards," a prestigious initiative designed to recognize and celebrate individuals who have made significant yet often unrecognized contributions to their communities by empowering and supporting youth. These awards honor volunteers, educators, coaches, mentors, and community leaders whose efforts have positively impacted the lives of young people.

Gateway & Nick's Place: A New Chapter in Northgate Shopping Center Gateway & Nick’s Place, now located in the vibrant Northgate Shopping Center, continues to expand its mission of fostering a supportive environment for youth through various community-driven initiatives and programs. The recent move into Northgate Shopping Center marks a significant milestone, providing greater accessibility and visibility to the community. The "LION Heart Awards" further this mission by acknowledging the unsung heroes whose efforts often fly under the radar of larger, more established awards.

The Legacy of Nicholas: A Heart of Gold Amidst Struggles The inspiration behind Gateway & Nick’s Place and the "LION Heart Awards" is rooted in the legacy of Nicholas, whose life was tragically cut short by murder. Despite battling drug addiction and mental health issues rooted in his early childhood, Nicholas was known for his large heart and deep care for those he loved. While his struggles often overshadowed his legacy, those who knew and worked with him remember Nicholas for his compassion and potential. Many believed that if anyone could overcome such challenges, it would have been him. The "LION Heart Awards" aim to honor individuals who, like Nicholas, make profound yet often unnoticed contributions to their communities.

“We wanted to do something in memory of Nicholas and also my business partners nephew William who both had huge hearts and we know as a smaller organization that doesn’t get much recognition how tiring and overwhelming it can feel to constantly go unrecognized so we decided to create the Lion Heart Awards to recognize others like us, “said Gateway & Nick’s Place Executive Director and Nicholas’ aunt Karrie Emms.

Opening on Nicholas' 30th Birthday The submission period for the "LION Heart Awards" will open on June 20, 2024, which would have been Nicholas' 30th birthday. By launching on this significant date, we hope to honor his memory and inspire others to continue his legacy of compassion and dedication to youth. Recognizing youth advocates not only boosts their confidence but also highlights that their contributions, no matter the size, are crucial to the lives they touch.

Award Categories:

  • The Lion Heart Overall Award: The recipient of this award will be chosen of all the nominations by the committee as our overall winner for 2024.
  • Educational Impact: Recognizing individuals who have enhanced educational opportunities or outcomes for youth.
  • Community Leadership: Honoring those who have demonstrated exceptional leadership in community programs or initiatives for youth.
  • Mentorship Excellence: Celebrating mentors who have made a profound difference in the lives of young people through guidance and support.
  • Innovative Programs: Highlighting individuals who have created or implemented innovative programs benefiting youth.
  • Youth Leadership: Recipient must be between 18-30 as of July 20, 2024 and work to support the betterment of local youth.

Nomination Process:

  • Eligibility: Any individual over 18 years old who has made a significant impact on youth within their community is eligible for nomination.
  • Nominations: Community members can submit nominations via an online form or by mail. Each nomination must include:
    • Nominee's full name and contact information.
    • A detailed description (250-1000 words) of the nominee’s contributions and impact on youth.
    • Supporting materials: 1 letter of support in addition to the nominator, photos, or videos. Self-nominations are accepted.
  • Submission Period: Nominations will be accepted from June 20 to July 21, 2024.

Judging Criteria:

  • Impact: The depth and breadth of the nominee's impact on youth.
  • Innovation: The creativity and originality of the nominee’s approach.
  • Sustainability: The lasting effects of the nominee's contributions.
  • Community Support: Evidence of support and recognition from the community.
  • Challenges Overcome: The extent to which the nominee has overcome challenges or obstacles to achieve their goals.

Judging Panel: A diverse panel of judges, including community leaders, educators, youth representatives, and past award winners, will review the nominations and select the winners.

Awards and Prizes:

  • The Lion Heart Overall Award: Custom Artisan Plaque, Local Art Piece, Recognition on our website and social media, and a commemorative gift pack.
  • Category Winners: Custom Artisan Plaque, Recognition on our website and social media, and a commemorative gift pack.
  • Honorable Mentions: Recognition on our website and social media.

Award Ceremony: The award ceremony will be held at Gateway & Nick’s Place on August 23, 2024, where winners will be celebrated and their stories shared. The event will include guest speakers, performances by local youth, and networking opportunities for community members.


  • Launch Date: June 20, 2024
  • Nomination Period: June 20, 2024 to July 20, 2024
  • Judging Period: July 23, 2024 to July 31, 2024
  • Winners Notified: August 5, 2024
  • Award Ceremony: August 23, 2024

Call to Action: Help us celebrate the changemakers in our community by nominating someone who has made a difference in the lives of youth. Your nomination can shine a light on their incredible work and inspire others to follow in their footsteps. Visit to submit your nomination on June 20,2024!

"While the awards will run no matter what we are looking for sponsors to donate towards prizes and or financially towards the awards ceremony in order to offset some costs and really show these volunteers and youth workers how much they are valued,” said Emms.

For more information, please contact: Karrie Emms, Executive Director, Gateway & Nick’s Place at