Marsh Young Volunteer Awards with RBGK

These Awards will recognise members of the Youth Explainer volunteer programme at Kew Gardens.

The programme is for 14-17 year olds from a range of backgrounds and abilities, many of whom would not have visited Kew before. The young people are encouraged to make their own learning resources, to engage the public with the Gardens, and are given the opportunity to shadow adult volunteers.

There are three Awards: Most Committed, Best Learner and Best Team Player

Adam Ismail, Isabel Maya Alexander and Kishanth Punithakumar 2021

Most Committed – Adam Ismail

Adam exhibits excellent attendance and punctuality, and for goes above and beyond to speak to every visitor that walks by while he is volunteering. He is committed to both reaching a large audience whilst still engaging with visitors in a meaningful way. Adam adapts his approaches to ensure continual improvements and has shown an all- round enthusiasm for his role and the programme.


Best Team Player  – Isabel Maya Alexander 

Isabel always contributes to discussion, and she is a consistently vocal participant during online sessions. She makes great group contributions, shows leadership skills and supports other participants to find confidence when interacting with members of the public.  Isabel brings her personality to every session and ensures no member of the team ever feels left out. She gives and receives feedback with equal poise.


Most Improved – Kishanth Punithakumar

Kishanth’s confidence has grown exponentially over the course of the programme, from an initial hesitancy to interact with the public to quickly becoming one of the more confident Youth Explainers. His knowledge of Kew has also grown over time, making it a point of pride for him to understand Kew’s mission and purpose and to be able to communicate that to the public. His approach to the designs of games for the public to use on their visits developed over time to ensure that they were targeted and designed with his audience in mind.

Previous Winners

Art Hoti, Anastasia Mackenzie and Ihor Riznichuk

Art Hoti – Most Committed

Art has a record 100% attendance for their time on the programme. Art always arrives to their volunteering shift on time, ready to start the day with enthusiasm and curiosity. 

Anastasia Mackenzie – Best Team Player

Anastasia works well with all of her peers and tries to ensure that all members of the group are heard and included in the activities. If others are feeling unsure, Anastasia will offer to take the lead before encouraging others to get involved, for example when talking to visitors in the gardens. 

Ihor Riznichuk – Most Improved

Ihor has demonstrated dedication to becoming the best Youth Explainer he can from the first training session he attended. He asks questions and always looks for opportunities to develop his skills and knowledge further. Ihor has worked hard to push himself out of his comfort zone, especially when it comes to public speaking. 

Sophia Lawton, Milcah Tareke, David Martins

Sophia Lawton – Most hours volunteered

Sophia has shown incredible commitment throughout her time on the Youth Explainer Programme, with 100% attendance during the 6-month training programme. She has volunteered over 40 hours, compared to the average of 28 across the rest of the cohort. It is inspiring to watch the enthusiasm and energy she puts into every visitor interaction.

Milcah Tareke – Best Team Player

Milcah is always enthusiastic, professional and friendly in her role as a Youth Explainer. She is supportive of her fellow volunteers and actively looks for ways to develop her visitor engagement skills. She has definitely proven herself to be a great ambassador for the Youth Programme and for Kew.

David Martins – Most improved

David has shown amazing dedication and resilience during his time on the programme, working constantly to develop his communication skills and become and expert young volunteer. His confidence has grown immeasurably throughout the year and he has shown what you can achieve when you step out of your comfort zone.

Minashi Guruge, Honey Pandya and Lavish Kamal Kumar

Minadhi Guruge is this year’s Most Committed Volunteer. Minadhi has won this Award for having volunteered the most hours as a Youth Explainer.

Honey Pandya is the Best Team Player this year. Honey has consistently proved her ability to work well with others and support her peers. She is a great ambassador for young people at Kew and get involved with a number of activities outside the Youth Explainers programme.

Lavish Kamal Kumar is this year’s Best Learner, continually striving to learn more and develop his volunteering skills.