From the community

Search begins for Maine’s top youth volunteers for 2015 awards

Posted Sept. 02, 2014, at 10:45 a.m.

AUGUSTA, Maine – The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards has begun its search for Maine’s top youth volunteers of 2015.

Students in grades 5-12 are invited to apply through Nov. 4 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 http://spirit.prudential.com andwww.nassp.org/spirit.

This program year marks The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards’ 20th year of honoring youth volunteers. The program, sponsored by Prudential Financial in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals, was created in 1995 to recognize middle level and high school students who help people in need, promote health and safety, protect the environment, or volunteer in other ways. The awards are presented annually on the local, state and national levels.

“Prudential is proud to recognize young people who contribute to the well-being of their communities through volunteer service,” said Prudential Chairman and CEO John Strangfeld, in a press release. “We look forward to honoring the nation’s top youth volunteers of 2015, and hope their stories will inspire others to consider how they can serve their communities.”

Maine’s top youth volunteers of 2014 were Sarah Caldwell, 17, of Falmouth and Brianna Jack, 10, of Baileyville. Sarah, Maine’s top high school volunteer, persuaded more than 200 people to take part in the New England Walk to Defeat ALS last fall after her father was diagnosed with the fatal disease, raising $24,000 to help find a cure. Brianna, Maine’s top middle level volunteer, reads to children on a regular basis at area libraries, and formed her own nonprofit organization to facilitate the collection and donation of more than 1,000 books to children in Maine.

Applicants for 2015 awards must complete their online applications by Nov. 4, 2014, 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 may be requested by calling 877-525-8491.

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. 10, 2015. 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 2-5, 2015. Distinguished finalists at the state level will receive bronze medallions, and runners-up will receive 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.

“Across the United States, middle level and high school-aged volunteers are changing their communities for the better,” said JoAnn Bartoletti, executive director of NASSP, in the press release. “We are honored to celebrate the contributions of these young leaders.”

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 levels over the past 19 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 voice for middle level and high school principals, assistant principals, and school leaders from across the United States and 35 countries around the world. The association connects and engages school leaders through advocacy, research, education, and student programs. NASSP advocates on behalf of all school leaders to ensure the success of each student and strengthens school leadership practices through the design and delivery of high quality professional learning experiences. Reflecting its long-standing commitment to student leadership development, NASSP administers the National Honor SocietyNational Junior Honor SocietyNational Elementary Honor Society, and National Association of Student Councils. For more information about NASSP, located in Reston, VA, visitwww.nassp.org.

Prudential Financial, Inc. (NYSE: PRU), a financial services leader, has operations in the United States, Asia, Europe, and Latin America. Prudential’s diverse and talented employees are committed to helping individual and institutional customers grow and protect their wealth through a variety of products and services, including life insurance, annuities, retirement-related services, mutual funds and investment management. In the U.S., Prudential’s iconic Rock symbol has stood for strength, stability, expertise and innovation for more than a century. For more information, please visit www.news.prudential.com.

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