Cape Gazette
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Search underway for Delaware's top youth volunteers of 2014

Application deadline Nov. 5
Sep 08, 2013

The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards has begun its 19th annual search for Delaware's top youth volunteers.

Through Saturday, Nov. 5, students in grades 5-12 are invited to apply for Prudential Spirit of Community Awards if they have made meaningful contributions to their communities through volunteer service within the past 12 months. The application is available at spirit.prudential.com and www.nassp.org/spirit.

The awards, sponsored by Prudential Financial in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals, were created in 1995 to recognize middle and high school students for helping people in need, promoting health and safety, protecting the environment or volunteering in other ways. The awards are presented annually on the local, state and national levels.

“Prudential is proud to honor young people who contribute their time and talents to improving the communities around them,” said Prudential Chairman and CEO John Strangfeld. “We celebrate their service with hope that others will be inspired to follow their fine example.”

Delaware's top youth volunteers of 2013 were Krysta Pritchett, 17, of Millsboro and Kyle Spillane, 13, of Harrington.  Pritchett, Delaware's top high school volunteer, formed a youth service group that has partnered with community residents and organizations to gather supplies for a homeless shelter, collect food for a local food bank and provide scholarships to Native American youth. Spillane, Delaware's top middle level volunteer, has participated in volunteer activities that have raised money for fire protection, educated the public about wildlife and the environment, and supported the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control.

Applicants for 2014 awards must complete their online application by Nov. 5,  then submit them for certification to a middle or high school principal, Girl Scout council, county 4-H agent, American Red Cross chapter, YMCA or HandsOn Network affiliate. Paper application forms can be requested by calling 877-525-8491 toll-free.

Participating schools and local organizations will select local honorees in early November and present them with Certificates of Achievement. These local honorees also will receive the President’s Volunteer Service Award from President Barack Obama if they have contributed the minimum number of volunteer hours to qualify (50 hours for age 14 and younger, 100 hours for older students).

All local honorees are then reviewed by a state-level judging committee, which will name the top two candidates from each state and the District of Columbia - one high school student and one middle level student - as state honorees on Feb.11, 2014. These state honorees will receive $1,000 awards, engraved silver medallions and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C., with a parent for four days of recognition events May 3-6, 2014. Distinguished finalists at the state level will receive bronze medallions, and runners-up will receive Certificates of Excellence.

In Washington, a national selection committee will name 10 of the 102 state honorees as America’s top youth volunteers of the year. These national honorees will receive additional awards of $5,000, gold medallions, crystal trophies for their nominating schools or organizations and $5,000 grants from The Prudential Foundation for nonprofit charitable organizations of their choice.

“It is often said that young people are the leaders of tomorrow - but every year brings proof that youth volunteers are already among the leaders of today,” said JoAnn Bartoletti, executive director of NASSP. “Middle level and high school students are making meaningful contributions to their communities, and it is a privilege to shine a spotlight on their service.”

The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program is the United States’ largest youth recognition program based solely on volunteer community service, and has honored more than 100,000 young volunteers at the local, state and national level over the past 18 years. The awards program also is conducted in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Ireland, India and China, where Prudential has significant business operations.

The National Association of Secondary School Principals is the leading organization of and national voice for middle level and high school principals, assistant principals, and all school leaders from across the United States and more than 38 countries around the world.  or more information about NASSP, located in Reston, Va., visit www.nassp.org.

Prudential Financial Inc., a financial services leader with more than $1 trillion of assets under management as of June 30, 2013, has operations in the United States, Asia, Europe and Latin America. For more information go to www.news.prudential.com.

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