Shaad Ayub was arrested following a police operation – code-named Chitchat – to target dealing in and around Lenton, Radford, Stapleford and Beeston.
He previously worked for the Muslim Youth Organisation, in Sneinton, and had won one of the Nottingham Post's prestigious Reach Out Awards for his community work.
His fall from grace came last November when a cocaine habit left him in debt and he began dealing.
Officers arrested him and at court he pleaded guilty to supplying heroin and possession of heroin and crack cocaine with intent to supply.
The 19-year-old, whose current address is Nottingham Prison, is understood not to have been working for the youth organisation when he was arrested.
Judge James Sampson, locking him up for two-and-a-half years, said: "You were clearly involved in peddling in misery on the streets of Nottingham."
Ayub collected his Reach Out Award last May with another apprentice youth worker.
Ayub and his colleague were nominated by Detective Inspector Louise Jordan.
She said after he was sentenced: "During Shaad Ayub's employment as a youth worker, he made a really valuable contribution in working with young people who might be vulnerable to extremism and in helping to calm community tensions around English Defence League protest marches in the city in December 2009.
"At this time, he was extremely well thought of among professionals working with our communities.
"It was for these reasons that he was nominated for a Reach Out Award, almost a year before Operation Chitchat began. Unfortunately, his life took a different turn after this time."
Richard Posner, mitigating at Nottingham Crown Court, said of his client's drug-dealing: "He wasn't making any significant money from it and was not living the lifestyle of a drug dealer."
Nobody from the Muslim Youth Organisation was available to comment.