Carbon County Commissioner Wayne Nothstein is a champion. An afterschool champion that is.

During the county commissioners' meeting on Thursday, the board announced that Nothstein was selected as a winner of the Pennsylvania Statewide Afterschool/Youth Development Network's (PSAYDN) "Afterschool Champion" award.

Nothstein said he was notified by PSAYDN earlier this month and will receive the award at the PSAYDN annual meeting Reception on March 8 in Harrisburg.

Jeanne Miller, director of the SHINE Afterschool program and co-chair of the Carbon County Child and Family Collaborative, nominated Nothstein for the award. Nothstein co-chairs the collaborative with Miller.

In a telephone interview, Miller said that she felt Nothstein deserved this award because his dedication to the county's youth "shines."

"We nominated him not only for being such an advocate for afterschool programs, but for his work on the collaborative as the co-chair since 2002," Miller said. "He is a champion with our programs and collaborative. He has been to every event and takes time to talk to the children and families. He's so involved with early childhood and after school events.

"You need people like Wayne. We need all the champions we can get. The county has been very supportive in all aspects and we're happy about that."

Nothstein has served on the collaborative for nearly a decade, helping organize various programs that help children and families from birth to high school. He also organizes the annual Legislative Brunch, which educates local, state, and federal legislators about the needs for these youth programs. This year, the brunch is scheduled for April 29. The brunch also uses part of the proceeds raised for a scholarship fund. The first of scholarships will be given out this year.

In addition to serving on the collaborative, Nothstein is active in various agencies, such as the Carbon-Monroe-Pike Mental Health-Mental Retardation Jointer Board, Local Emergency Planning Committee, Carbon County Soil & Conservation Board, Emergency Food Shelter-Shepherd House Board, Partners for Progress, Leadership Steering Committee, Interagency Council, and the Carbon County Safe Kids Coalition.

He is also an active member of the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania, where he serves on the county governance committee and Veterans Affairs Task Force. He also serves on the state E-911 Emergency Services Advisory Committee and is an active as a volunteer firefighter with the Lehighton Fire Department.