The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards has begun its 19th annual search for Oklahoma’s top youth volunteers.
Through November 5, students in grades 5-12 are invited to apply if they have made meaningful contributions to their communities through volunteer service within the past 12 months. The application can be found at spirit.prudential.com or by clicking here.
“In addition to preparing students for college and career, in Oklahoma we have placed a high value on preparing students to be good citizens as well,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Janet Barresi. “I think it is vitally important for our young people to find meaningful ways to contribute to society, and I’m thankful for the recognition of such efforts that the Spirit of Community Awards provide.
The awards, sponsored by Prudential Financial 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 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 level.
Oklahoma’s top youth volunteers of 2013 were Perrin Duncan, 18, of Edmond and Mason Harvey, 14, of Guthrie. Perrin, Oklahoma’s top high school volunteer, served as co-chair of her school’s annual charity campaign, which yielded more than $280,000 for the Sooner Chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Mason, Oklahoma’s top middle level volunteer, has become a crusader against childhood obesity.
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 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 and one middle level student – as state honorees on Feb. 11, 2014.
The 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.
In Washington, a national selection committee will name 10 of the 102 state honorees as America’s top youth volunteers of the year. The national honorees receive additional awards of $5,000 and other prizes as well as $5,000 Prudential Foundation grants for nonprofit charitable organizations of their choice.