Susquehanna Valley Progress is honored to award David A. Young with the Robert Ingersoll Forward Thinking Award this year for his lifetime commitment to free thought, education, peace, and justice.
The award was presented at the group’s annual Networking Reception attended by dozens of fellow progressives.
Anyone who has been involved locally with efforts related to the environment, civil rights, and humanitarian issues likely knows David Young. He has been involved in numerous organizations and community efforts. He has been a source of passion, energy, and leadership. And his work has benefited communities all around the world.
It will not surprise anyone to know that David is an educator at heart. He began his career teaching high school in California where he taught for two years. For two years, he served as a teacher in Ethiopia and Morocco, before meeting his wife, Renna Mae, an elementary teacher. For thirty years the couple served as educators for the Department of Defense Dependent Schools (DODDS) and lived in Germany and Japan. They raised their two daughters, Christina and Sarah, overseas and opened their hearts and minds to a world of cultures and ideas.
During his career, he participated in the Fulbright-Hayes fellowship in India and Indonesia. He served as Coordinator for Service Learning and AVID Program Monitor for DODD schools in Guam, Japan, and South Korea.
Throughout his career, David has pushed boundaries, challenged authority, and fought for the underdog. In his early teaching career, he was one of two teachers who filed ethical chargers against the superintendent, who ultimately resigned. During his DODDS career, he was instrumental in restoring crucial funding to the program utilizing grassroots advocacy strategies.
He also volunteered his time to worthy causes and served on several boards including the local branch of the NAACP and Phi Delta Kappa.
When he retired to the Lewisburg area, he immersed himself in community activism. He delivered Meals on Wheels for six years and served as the board secretary for four years.
He was on the board of two environmental groups, vice president and newsletter editor of the local branch of the ACLU of PA and, in 2008, elected to a three year term to the state board of the ACLU of PA.
In 2014, he became an official visitor of the Pennsylvania Prison Society. His interest and compassion for inmates started early in his career. He began taking his high school students to the Fresno County prison and then to San Quentin. While overseas, he took his students to a Moroccan prison and a military brig in Okinawa. Over the course of six years, he visited some 250 people in Pennsylvania’s state and local prisons and was selected as volunteer of the year in 2014.
A few years ago when a tire burner was proposed outside of Lewisburg, David was one of the core organizers. His unconventional strategies, outside the box thinking, and insistence on engaging the “unconverted” environmentalists was crucial in stopping the facility from being built.
Robert Ingersoll was a well-known orator from the late 1800s who traveled the country challenging conventional thinking and religious doctrine and promoting scientific theory and reason.
Nicole Faraguna, SVP Chair, has high regards of David. “Every moment is an opportunity for him to expand his thinking and the thinking of those around him. He is constantly challenging all of us here in the area regarding the work we do and the lives we touch.”
“David Young is truly a forward thinker in every sense of the word and the Susquehanna Valley is a much better place because of him.”
About Susquehanna Valley Progress
Susquehanna Valley Progress is a nonpartisan organization united for the betterment of the whole community. We envision a community that empowers individuals to be engaged in and educated on the democratic process; promotes equality and appreciation of diversity; improves the living and working standards of all that live in Susquehanna Valley and actively protects our natural world.