Nevada's Top Two Youth Volunteers Selected in 19th Annual National Awards Program
Las Vegas students earn $1,000 awards, engraved medallions and trip to nation’s capital
Honors also bestowed on youth volunteers in Las Vegas and Henderson
CARSON CITY, Nev.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Landrey Fulmer, 17, and Siena Prenger, 13, both of Las Vegas, today were named Nevada's top two youth volunteers of 2014 by The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, a nationwide program honoring young people for outstanding acts of volunteerism. Landrey was nominated by Desert Oasis High School in Las Vegas, and Siena was nominated by St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic School in Las Vegas. The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, now in its 19th year, is conducted by Prudential Financial in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP).
“My mom was in foster care when she was young and was separated from her sisters and brothers, so I have always known what a hard time these kids have”
Landrey, a senior at Desert Oasis High School, has spent more than 1,000 volunteer hours working on more than 30 philanthropic activities since seventh grade through a local chapter of the National Charity League, an organization that encourages mothers and daughters to volunteer together. Landrey has held a variety of leadership positions with the chapter, and has helped with a wide range of projects benefiting individuals with cancer, people with disabilities and others in need.
For the past six years, one of Landrey’s favorite activities has been a weeklong back-to-school event in August that provides new clothes and school supplies to children who need them. After donations are collected, she works from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day with her mother and sister sorting clothing and supplies, stuffing them into 1,200 backpacks, training other volunteers, supervising the work flow and distributing the products to the kids. “The true magic is in the faces of the children on distribution day,” said Landrey. The effort “sends them to school feeling really good about themselves and hoping for a great start to the new school year.”
Siena, an eighth-grader at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic School, devotes a great deal of time and energy to helping children at local homeless shelters by conducting supply drives, throwing birthday parties, making blankets and playing with the kids. Siena first worked with a charity her older sister started to help homeless teens, and then decided to focus on younger kids in crisis situations. “My mom was in foster care when she was young and was separated from her sisters and brothers, so I have always known what a hard time these kids have,” said Siena.
She began by asking shelters what their children needed most, and then got to work meeting those needs. She launched a drive at her school that collected a truckload of diapers, socks, underwear and toiletries. Then she sought donations of school supplies, backpacks, shoes and children’s books. Siena raised funds in her community and used her own allowance money to buy birthday and holiday gifts for kids who may otherwise not have received any, and threw parties for them as well. Siena now has continual clothing, diaper and supply drives aided by her school, gym and a professional basketball team, and she’s always sewing blankets and making hygiene kits for homeless children. “I cannot do enough to help these kids that have touched my heart so much,” she said.
As State Honorees, Landrey and Siena each will receive $1,000, an engraved silver medallion and an all-expense-paid trip in early May to Washington, D.C., where they will join the top two honorees from each of the other states and the District of Columbia for four days of national recognition events. During the trip, 10 students will be named America’s top youth volunteers of 2014.
The program judges also recognized four other Nevada students as Distinguished Finalists for their impressive community service activities. Each will receive an engraved bronze medallion.
These are Nevada's Distinguished Finalists for 2014:
Stephanie Brereton, 17, of Las Vegas, Nev., a member of the Girl Scouts of Southern Nevada and a senior at Shadow Ridge High School, made and donated 50 handmade quilts signed with “words of warmth” to people with breast cancer. Stephanie, who earned her Girl Scout Gold Award for the project, also created pamphlets about breast cancer prevention and detection and attended several events to distribute more than 1,000 of the pamphlets.
Evan Gong, 17, of Henderson, Nev., a junior at Nevada Virtual Academy, volunteered with TRIO, a U.S. Department of Education program that provides resources and assistance to students in need from middle school through college. Evan, who visited middle and high schools to promote the organization’s programs, was also responsible for tutoring, proctoring tests, auditing the student database, updating academic records and reviewing new applications.
Savannah Prenger, 17, of Las Vegas, Nev., a senior at Bishop Gorman High School, founded a website that mobilizes teenagers to help their homeless peers. Savannah started by providing needed items to local teens with her own money, then decided to create the website in 2012 so she could find others willing to help; she will soon take her program national.
Natalie Vaughn, 16, of Las Vegas, Nev., a junior at Ed W. Clark High School, founded “Medical Supply Recovery,” a nonprofit organization that has collected $20,000 worth of unused medical supplies and donated them to free clinics and medical student programs. Natalie, who was shocked to learn that many supplies get wasted due to expiration dates, founded the organization in July of 2013 and has already made a tremendous impact on several free clinics by coordinating supply donations and distributions.
“We applaud each of these young people for their exemplary volunteer service,” said Prudential Chairman and CEO John Strangfeld. “They use their time and talents to make a meaningful difference in their communities, and we hope their example inspires others to do the same.”
“By going above and beyond in their volunteer service, these students have brought positive change to communities across the country,” said JoAnn Bartoletti, executive director of NASSP. “Congratulations to each and every one of them on this well-deserved honor.”
About The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards
The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards represents the United States’ largest youth recognition program based solely on volunteer service. All public and private middle level and high schools in the country, as well as all Girl Scout councils, county 4-H organizations, American Red Cross chapters, YMCAs and HandsOn Network affiliates, were eligible to select a student or member for a local Prudential Spirit of Community Award. These Local Honorees were then reviewed by an independent judging panel, which selected State Honorees and Distinguished Finalists based on criteria including personal initiative, effort, impact and personal growth.
While in Washington, D.C., the 102 State Honorees – one middle level and one high school student from each state and the District of Columbia – will tour the capital’s landmarks, meet top youth volunteers from other parts of the world, attend a gala awards ceremony at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, and visit their congressional representatives on Capitol Hill. On May 5, 10 of the State Honorees – five middle level and five high school students – will be named America’s top youth volunteers of 2014. These National Honorees will receive additional $5,000 awards, gold medallions, crystal trophies and $5,000 grants from The Prudential Foundation for nonprofit charitable organizations of their choice.
Since the program began in 1995, more than 100,000 young volunteers have been honored at the local, state and national level. The program also is conducted by Prudential subsidiaries in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Ireland, India and China. In addition to granting its own awards, The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program also distributes President’s Volunteer Service Awards to qualifying Local Honorees on behalf of President Barack Obama.
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 36 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 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.
About Prudential Financial
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.
Editors: For full-color pictures of the Spirit of Community Awards program logo and medallions, click here: http://bit.ly/Xi4oFW