The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards honors young heroes for their volunteer work around their community and the world. On May 4, 2009 America's top ten youth volunteers were announced at the 14th annual Spirit of Community Awards in Washington DC.
The ten National Honorees received awards of $5,000, engraved gold medallions, crystal trophies for the schools or organizations that nominated them, and $5,000 grants from The Prudential Foundation for the charities of their choice.
Here is a little background on this year's winners.
This year’s National Honorees include a formerly homeless girl who led a school project to write and publish a book of stories about homeless people, a Vietnamese-American boy who raises money to provide scholarships and school supplies for poor students in Vietnam, and an autistic girl who supports numerous charities with her singing and artwork. Also among the honorees are a 14-year-old student who hosts monthly birthday parties for children at a homeless shelter, a 12-year-old girl who collects and purchases vitamin tablets for malnourished kids in Guatemala, and a high school senior who recycles cell phones to provide prepaid phone cards to American soldiers.
Do you know a young person who has given back to his or her community? Below you shall find the contest rules for next year.
In the United States, each program year begins in September when information and application instructions are mailed to all middle level and high schools in the 50 United States and Washington, D.C., and to the following officially designated local organizations:
* Girl Scout councils * County 4-H organizations * American Red Cross chapters * YMCAs * Affiliates of HandsOn Network
Through these schools and local organizations, students are encouraged to complete an online application by the end of October.
Local Honorees are selected at participating schools and organizations in November. From these winners, an independent judging organization names the top middle level and high school volunteer in each state and Washington, D.C. Results are announced in early February. Then, 10 National Honorees are chosen by a panel of prominent public figures, and announced at a special ceremony in Washington, D.C., in May.
Who is eligible?
Any young person who:
* is in grades 5-12 as of the last weekday in October during the applying year, * is a legal resident of any U.S. state or Washington, D.C., * has engaged in a volunteer activity that occurred at least partly during the 12 months prior to the date of application, and * submits a completed application to a school principal or the head of an officially designated local organization by the last weekday in October.
* describe an individual's community service activity or an individual's significant leadership in a group activity that has taken place during the previous year, * be completed and submitted to a school principal or the head of an officially designated local organization by the end of October, and * be certified by the principal of a middle level or high school or the head of an officially designated local organization. These individuals should review implementation instructions carefully.
Read Frequently Asked Questions about Applications by students and by schools.
What do honorees win?
* Students chosen as Local Honorees receive a Certificate of Achievement from their schools or organizations. Those who qualify (50 hours of service for age 14 and younger, 100 hours for those older) also receive the President's Volunteer Service Award. * State Honorees receive an award of $1,000, an engraved silver medallion, and an all-expense-paid trip with a parent or guardian to Washington, D.C., for national recognition events. * National Honorees receive an additional award of $5,000, an engraved gold medallion, a crystal trophy for their schools or organizations, and a $5,000 grant from The Prudential Foundation for a non-profit, charitable organization of their choice.
The national recognition events held in Washington, D.C., for the 102 State Honorees include gala award ceremonies at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, tours of the capital's historic monuments and landmarks, Congressional visits on Capitol Hill, a festive dinner cruise on the Potomac River, and plenty of opportunity for the State Honorees to share their experiences and ideas with one another.
The honorees also hear from notable public figures. Past speakers have included Jimmy Carter, Barbara Bush, Mario Cuomo, Magic Johnson, Richard Dreyfuss, John Glenn, Madeleine Albright, Martin Sheen, Rudy Giuliani, Whoopi Goldberg, Colin Powell, Ted Danson, Peyton Manning, Sarah Ferguson (the Duchess of York), and numerous U.S. senators.
The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program is sponsored and administered by Prudential Financial, Inc. in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP). The application and state-level judging processes are conducted by International Scholarship and Tuition Services.
In addition, The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards are supported by:
* National 4-H Council * Girl Scouts of the USA * American Red Cross * YMCA of the USA * HandsOn Network (generated by the Points of Light Institute) * America's Promise * Key Club International * American Association of School Administrators * National School Boards Association * National Middle School Association * Council of the Great City Schools * National School Public Relations Association * National Association for Music Education * National Community Education Association
What are next year's program's key dates?
November 2, 2009 Student application deadline
November 9, 2009 Deadline for schools and officially designated local organizations to select and certify Local Honorees for state-level judging
February 9, 2010 Judging results are announced by NASSP and Prudential.
May 1-4, 2010 National recognition events in Washington, D.C.