SANTA FE, N.M.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Today, The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards begins its 19th annual search for New Mexico's top youth volunteers.
Now through November 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 http://spirit.prudential.com and www.nassp.org/spirit.
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.
“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.”
New Mexico's top youth volunteers of 2013 were Brianna Swinderman, 17, of Rio Rancho and Joseph Lee Estrada, 14, of Velarde. Brianna, New Mexico's top high school volunteer, has collected more than 2,000 pieces of new or gently-used luggage to give to foster children and victims of domestic violence in Albuquerque and Rio Rancho. Joseph, New Mexico's top middle level volunteer, has been an avid volunteer from an early age, and is now a valuable worker at a local food bank and thrift store.
Applicants for 2014 awards must complete their online application by November 5, 2013, 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 February 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 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.
“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 (NASSP) 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. The association provides research-based professional development and resources, networking, and advocacy to build the capacity of middle level and high school leaders to continually improve student performance. Reflecting its longstanding commitment to student leadership development as well, NASSP administers the National Honor Society™, National Junior Honor Society®, National Elementary Honor Society®, and National Association of Student Councils®. For more information about NASSP, located in Reston, VA, visit www.nassp.org.
Prudential Financial, Inc. (NYSE: PRU), 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. 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/.