United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley and Local Labor Unions Commemorate 25 Years of TeenWorks™ Impact

United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley and local Labor Unions celebrated 25 years of young people making a difference in our community at the TeenWorks™ 25th Anniversary Dinner. Since 1999, the collaboration between United Way and organized labor has provided more than $500,000 in funding to support over 500 community-service projects.

“This is truly a celebration of the great accomplishments of some of the best young people in the Lehigh Valley,” said John Werkheiser, United Way Labor Liaison. “TeenWorks began as a bridge between organized labor and high school kids but evolved into a mutual bond for a better Lehigh Valley. Here’s to 25 years of inspiring leadership and countless more to come!”

TeenWorks is made up of a diverse group of local middle and high school students and local members of organized labor. The group meets monthly and helps to fund community service projects throughout the Lehigh Valley from various youth groups. Over 500 organizations have received grants of up to $1,000 for their projects.

Organized and led by youth board members with the support of generous partners and sponsors, the TeenWorks 25th Anniversary Dinner was held on Saturday, February 10, 2024 at Northampton Memorial Community Center. This special evening of celebration honored exceptional community service projects, recognized the efforts of the TeenWorks board and showcased results from TeenWorks volunteers and investments.

TeenWorks Project of the Year was presented to Fisola Oyerokun. This award was designed to honor a student who made a significant difference and contribution to their community by identifying and leading a project that would create a lasting impact. Fisola’s Eagle Scout project involved the beautification of the amphitheater at Macungie Memorial Park, which included power washing and laying new paving bricks over a large area in front of the stage.

TeenWorks Zach Krauss Spirit of Service Award was presented to the TeenWorks Board and Lehigh Valley Labor Council. The Zach Krauss Spirit of Service Award recognizes a student or group of students who have demonstrated a commitment to making their community a better place to live by completing an outstanding, altruistic project that was innovative, meaningful and impacted people in their community. The awards were accepted by Polina Dorman and Maeve Yanes, TeenWorks Co-Chairs, Ron Labar, TeenWorks Adult Board Chair and Jim Irwin and Gregg Potter of Lehigh Valley Labor Council.

TeenWorks Hero Award was presented to David Lewis, United Way President. The Hero Award is given to a person who demonstrates a commitment to the ideals and purpose of the TeenWorks mission. Someone who embodies the qualities of hard work, honesty, and a commitment to giving back to his/her community through acts of compassion and selflessness. Throughout his many years leading United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley, David has been a tremendous supporter of the TeenWorks program, and the program would not be as successful as it is today without his leadership and advice. The award is a small token of our appreciation of his efforts.

The event program also included keynote speaker Paige Knowles, Parkland High School graduate, and highlighted all the projects that received TeenWorks funding in 2023:

  • Quinn Colognato rejuvenated the Healing Garden at KidsPeace, Orefield Campus. The Healing Garden is a place where people can go for serenity and solitude during difficult times.
  • Griffen Christman worked on an Eagle Scout project building shelves and a large ice chest at Jordan United Church of Christ in Allentown.
  • Roosevelt Elementary “Little Leaders”; Leader: Jayleen Bell beautified the area around the Fearless Fire Station, which is across the street from the school in Allentown. This project in conjunction with the “Girls on the Run” initiative.
  • Evan Biery’s Eagle Scout project was the refurbishing of the Evergreen Trail at Jordan UCC in Lehigh County. United Church of Christ in Allentown. The trail had overgrowth and other debris that had to be removed.
  • The TeenWorks Board completed one of their own projects this year that involved creating activity kits for Lehigh Valley Reilly Children’s Hospital patients.

TeenWorks 25th Anniversary Dinner was made possible thanks to presenting sponsor, Capital Blue Cross, and additional sponsors: Teamsters Local 773, Cohen, Feeley, Altemose & Rambo, IBEW 126, Lehigh Valley Labor Council, IBEW 375, UAW Local 677, AFSCME DC 88, Bethlehem Education Association, PSEA Eastern Region, UFCW Local 1776, Allentown Education Association, Banko Beverage Co., Blue Chip Sound, Carpenters Local 167, Northeast Pennsylvania Area Labor Federation, Pa Joint Board, Workers United, SEIU and Rich Mar Florists.

To learn more about TeenWorks, apply for funding or get involved, visit