Five young, talented professionals will be honored at the annual “Future 5” awards ceremony — the signature event of YPWeek from April 19-27.

Hosted by YLink, the week of events feature entertainment, supper club dining, workshops, lectures, a streetcar tour and other events at different downtown venues. The awards ceremony begins at 6 p.m. April 25, at the Stella Hotel & Ballroom, 5706 Eighth Ave. Individual tickets are $60, two tickets are $100 and a reserved table for eight is $500.

This year’s honorees include Katie Chada, Tyler Cochran, Andrew Gavin, Jackie Schmit and Alex Kudrna, all professionals under 40 years old who were chosen for their extraordinary involvement in the community.

Katie Chada, the community outreach coordinator with Aurora Health Care in Kenosha, Racine and Lake (Ill.,) counties, shepherds Aurora’s participation in events and presentations within the community.

At a recent heart fair, Chada saw people more informed and confident after sharing their personal stories with others.

“By attending the fair, they left feeling more confident and aware of circumstances and less worried and stressed about their fate. I couldn’t ask for a better outcome. It makes it all worthwhile to know what you coordinated or created, made a difference in someone’s life.” She explained, “This provides the best motivation and inspiration and helps fuel my positive attitude and permanent smile.”

Tyler Cochran, a Kenosha Police Department safety officer, works with the department’s Explorer post, a unit for 14- to 21-year-olds interested in law enforcement careers. Meeting with the group weekly, he said it gives him a sense of pride to teach them how to become law enforcement officers and leaders in the community.

Andrew Gavin is the director of athletics at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside. Originally from Madison, he moved to Kenosha County from Danville, Ky. Since moving, he has adopted a strong sense of pride that he believes is instrumental in rebuilding morale and developing a sense of community.

Returning to the Badger State has driven him to become more community minded. Some of this inspiration comes from family and his devotion to Great Lakes Church. Gavin is inspired by opportunities to make a positive impact on people, to see the best and make the best for people, situations and organizations, he said.

Jackie Schmit, resource development coordinator with the Boys & Girls Club of Kenosha, enjoys her work duties and volunteer activities. She coaches softball, is involved with the Mayor’s Youth Commission, Meals on Wheels and the KABA mentor program.

“Working at the Boys & Girls Club has connected me to the community in so many different ways. Everything I do connects me to the people of Kenosha,” Schmit said.

She believes her obligation is to lead by example and to encourage others to get involved. She feels Kenosha “provides a real advantage in that it has everything a big city has to offer with a small-town feel.”

Schmit is also excited about Kenosha’s future because of the “growth with all the new companies coming to town and the surrounding area.”

“With the growth, that means adding more great people into the community who will hopefully want to contribute and make a difference,” she said.

Alex Kudrna, owner of Backyard Dream Studios and the O Co-Working Space, had a dream and so far has helped to turn downtown Kenosha around through his redevelopment of the Orpheum Theatre, which had not been occupied since the early 1980s. Desiring to become a part of the downtown movement, he also is actively involved in community organizations. He believes one of his best means of making a difference is to become actively involved in the redevelopment movement.

Kudrna has turned the facility into one where prospective business owners can meet with clients, use office machinery and plan new projects.

“We have created a space that will provide a comfortable, safe and professional environment and meets core values including community, diversity, collaboration and professionalism while having fun doing what we love,” Kudrna said.

For more information about the awards ceremony and the other YP Week events, contact YLink at 262-605-1100 or email info@ylinkkenosha.com.

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