The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program announced today the launch of its search for Minnesota’s top youth volunteers of 2013. 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. Young volunteers can apply online at http://spirit.prudential.com or at www.nassp.org/spirit.
The awards, sponsored by Prudential Financial Inc. in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), were created in 1995 to recognize middle level and high school students for helping the less fortunate, promoting health and safety, protecting the environment, or volunteering in other ways. The awards are presented annually on the local, state and national level.
Minnesota’s top youth volunteers of 2012 were David Schommer, 18, of Woodbury and Michael Heim, 14, of Sartell. David was honored for writing and producing television programs, public service announcements, educational videos, documentary films and other video projects with the goal of inspiring others and changing lives. Michael was recognized for collecting a truck-full of paper towels, napkins, disposable diapers, toilet paper and other paper products for a battered women’s shelter.
Applicants for 2013 awards must complete their online application by November 6, 2012, 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 affiliate of the HandsOn Network. Paper copies of the application form 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 February 5, 2013. 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 4-7, 2013. Runners-up at the state level will receive bronze medallions or Certificates of Excellence.
In Washington, a distinguished 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.
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 17 years. The awards program also is conducted in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Ireland and India, where Prudential has significant business operations.