Top Youth Volunteers in Each State Selected in 14th Annual National Awards Program
WASHINGTON, Feb. 10, 2009 — 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 14th 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 2-5 for several days of national recognition events. Ten of them will be named America’s top youth volunteers for 2009 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. (See attached list of State Honorees and Distinguished Finalists.)
More than 28 percent of this year's State Honorees and Distinguished Finalists are being honored for volunteer projects that assisted people who are sick or disabled. Another 28 percent earned awards for aiding the disadvantaged – both in their own communities and around the world, while 9 percent were cited for protecting the environment or taking care of animals. Six percent are being recognized for tutoring or mentoring other young people or encouraging them to read, and more than 4 percent conducted activities in support of American service members. Other honorees are being recognized for promoting health and safety, extending a hand to senior citizens, enhancing school or community resources, providing disaster relief, and performing other types of service. Information on the volunteer activities of the honorees can be found at spirit.prudential.com or at www.principals.org/prudential.
"The recipients of these awards vividly demonstrate that young people across America are making remarkable contributions to the health and vitality of their communities,” said John R. Strangfeld, chairman and CEO of Prudential Financial. “They truly deserve all of the praise and encouragement we can give them.”
"Congratulations to this year’s state winners in The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards,” stated Gerald N. Tirozzi, executive director of the National Association of Secondary School Principals. “The hard work and determination that these students have exhibited in trying to make a difference in the lives of others is remarkable.”
Since The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards began in 1995, nearly 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 Jimmy Carter, Barbara Bush, Magic Johnson, John Glenn, Madeleine Albright, Rudy Giuliani, Whoopi Goldberg, Colin Powell, Peyton Manning and Duchess of York Sarah Ferguson. The program also is conducted by Prudential subsidiaries in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Ireland.
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. More than 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.
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 4 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 John Strangfeld of Prudential; Larry Bradley, president of NASSP; Michelle Nunn, president and CEO of the Points of Light & Hands On Network; Marguerite Kondracke, president and CEO of the America’s Promise Alliance; Kathy Cloninger, CEO of Girl Scouts of the USA; Donald T. Floyd Jr., president and CEO of National 4-H Council; Pam 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 2008 Prudential Spirit of Community National Honorees: Kristen Allcorn of Sedalia, Mo., and Shanna Decker of Plainview, Minn.
In addition to granting its own awards, The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program will be distributing President’s Volunteer Service Awards to nearly 3,100 of its Local Honorees this year on behalf of the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation. 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. The program is part of a broad youth-service initiative by Prudential that includes a youth leadership training program administered by the Points of Light Institute; a free booklet of volunteer ideas for young people offered through the Federal Citizen Information Center; and a website featuring profiles of outstanding youth volunteers, volunteer tips and project ideas for students, an electronic newspaper on youth volunteerism, and more (spirit.prudential.com).
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 www.principals.org or call 703-860-0200.
Prudential Financial, Inc. (NYSE: PRU — News), a financial services leader, has operations in the United States, Asia, Europe, and Latin America. Leveraging its heritage of life insurance and asset management expertise, Prudential is focused on helping approximately 50 million individual and institutional customers grow and protect their wealth. The company’s well-known Rock symbol is an icon of strength, stability, expertise and innovation that has stood the test of time. Prudential's businesses offer a variety of products and services, including life insurance, annuities, retirement-related services, mutual funds, investment management, and real estate services. For more information, visit www.news.prudential.com/.
- American Red Cross
- Barbara Bush
- Colin Powell
- Donald T. Floyd
- Elson Nash
- Gerald N. Tirozzi
- Jimmy Carter
- John Glenn
- John R. Strangfeld
- Kathy Cloninger
- Kristen Allcorn
- Larry Bradley
- Madeleine Albright
- Magic Johnson
- Marguerite Kondracke
- Michael Cohen
- Michelle Nunn
- Pam Farr
- Peyton Manning
- Rudy Giuliani
- Sarah Ferguson
- Shanna Decker
- Whoopi Goldberg