From the official site,
“America’s 102 most outstanding youth volunteers – two from each state and the District of Columbia – were named State Honorees today by The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, a nationwide program honoring young people for exemplary acts of volunteerism. The awards program, now in its 15th year, is conducted by Prudential Financial, Inc. in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP).
Each of the 102 State Honorees will receive $1,000, an engraved silver medallion and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C., May 1-4 for several days of national recognition events. Ten of them will be named America’s top youth volunteers for 2010 at that time.
In addition to the State Honorees, the program’s judges recognized 234 students nationwide as Distinguished Finalists for their impressive community service activities. Each will receive an engraved bronze medallion. More than 500 other applicants were awarded Certificates of Excellence for their volunteer work.
A large number of State Honorees and Distinguished Finalists this year – 20 percent – conducted volunteer activities to address needs in foreign countries, especially in Africa and Latin America. Honorees traveled to volunteer at orphanages, build schools, create libraries, and teach impoverished children. In their own communities, they collected food, clothing, books, school supplies, eyeglasses, teddy bears, and soccer cleats to send overseas. And they raised money to finance school tuitions, refugee relief, AIDS medications, cleft-palate surgeries, clean-water projects, and other critical needs in desperate communities around the world.
There was a great deal of energy devoted to needs in the U.S., as well. Many honorees were recognized for assisting Americans who are sick or disabled, aiding the disadvantaged, tutoring or mentoring other young people, and promoting health and safety. Others were cited for enhancing school or community resources, protecting the environment, taking care of animals, and supporting U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. Information on the volunteer activities of all of the honorees can be found at http://spirit.prudential.com.
“People as caring and committed as these young students are critical to the future of our neighborhoods, our nation, and our world,” said John R. Strangfeld, chairman and CEO of Prudential Financial. “By recognizing these honorees, we hope to encourage other young people – our future leaders – and all Americans to think more about the value and importance of volunteering.”
All public and private middle level and high schools in the U.S., as well as all Girl Scout councils, county 4-H organizations, American Red Cross chapters, YMCAs and affiliates of HandsOn Network, were eligible to select a student or member for a local Prudential Spirit of Community Award this past November. Nearly 5,000 Local Honorees were then reviewed by an independent judging panel, which selected State Honorees and Distinguished Finalists based on criteria such as personal initiative, creativity, effort, impact and personal growth.
“The young people recognized by The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards demonstrate an enormous capacity for giving and reaching out to those in need,” said Gerald N. Tirozzi, executive director of the National Association of Secondary School Principals. “NASSP is proud to honor these student leaders because they are wonderful examples of the high caliber of young people in our nation’s schools today.”
While in Washington, D.C., the 102 State Honorees will tour the capital’s landmarks, attend a gala awards ceremony at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, and visit their congressional representatives on Capitol Hill. In addition, 10 of them – five middle level and five high school students – will be named National Honorees on May 3 by a prestigious national selection committee. These honorees will receive additional $5,000 awards, gold medallions, crystal trophies and $5,000 grants from The Prudential Foundation for nonprofit, charitable organizations of their choice.
Serving on the national selection committee will be Strangfeld of Prudential; Steven Pophal, president of NASSP; Michelle Nunn, president and CEO of the Points of Light & HandsOn Network; Marguerite Kondracke, president and CEO of the America’s Promise Alliance; Donald T. Floyd Jr., president and CEO of National 4-H Council; Pamela Farr, the American Red Cross’ national chair of volunteers; Elson Nash, associate director for project management at the Corporation for National and Community Service; Michael Cohen, president and CEO of Achieve, Inc.; and two 2009 Prudential Spirit of Community National Honorees: Shardy Camargo of Orlando, Fla., and Colin Leslie of Rye, N.Y.
In addition to granting its own awards, The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program will distribute President’s Volunteer Service Awards to more than 2,800 of its Local Honorees this year on behalf of President Obama. The President’s Volunteer Service Award recognizes Americans of all ages who have volunteered significant amounts of their time to serve their communities and their country.
The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards represent the United States’ largest youth recognition program based solely on volunteer service. Since the program began in 1995, more than 90,000 young volunteers have been honored at the local, state or national level. Many prominent public figures have assisted in saluting these honorees over the years, including President Jimmy Carter, Barbara Bush, Magic Johnson, John Glenn, Madeleine Albright, Rudy Giuliani, Whoopi Goldberg, Colin Powell, Peyton Manning, Duchess of York Sarah Ferguson and Laura Bush. The program also is conducted by Prudential subsidiaries in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Ireland.
In existence since 1916, the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) is the preeminent organization of and national voice for middle level and high school principals, assistant principals, and aspiring school leaders from across the United States and more than 45 countries around the world. NASSP’s mission is to promote excellence in school leadership. The National Honor Society®, National Junior Honor Society®, National Elementary Honor Society™, and National Association of Student Councils® are all NASSP programs. For more information about NASSP, located in Reston, Va., visit http://www.principals.org or call 703-860-0200.
For more information, visit www.news.prudential.com