New Hampshire's Top Two Youth Volunteers Selected in 19th Annual National Awards Program
Dover and Lee students earn $1,000 awards, engraved medallions and trip to nation’s capital
Honors also bestowed on youth volunteers in Dunbarton and Loudon
CONCORD, N.H.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Caroline Carter, 16, of Dover and Quinn Griffith, 12, of Lee today were named New Hampshire'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. Caroline was nominated by St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Dover, and Quinn was nominated by Strafford County 4-H in Dover. 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).
“The kids learned a lot and had a great time”
Caroline, a sophomore at St. Thomas Aquinas High School, has worked tirelessly since she was 11 years old to help find a cure for Type 1 diabetes and to assist other young people who, like her, are living with the disease. Over the years, Caroline has helped raise money for diabetes research by working with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and the American Diabetes Association, and testified before Congress about the need for more funding. She spreads awareness of diabetes through a website, blogs and her own nonprofit organization, called “Cara’s Crusade.” She is particularly dedicated to helping other young diabetics understand their diagnoses and learn how to stay healthy. She has mentored newly-diagnosed children, authored a book about diabetes for elementary school students, and served as a peer support leader for middle school diabetics. “It is important to embrace your diagnosis, be educated quickly and make the lifestyle changes necessary for a healthy future,” said Caroline.
She also is passionate about supporting American servicemen and women. She volunteers regularly with a group that greets servicemen and women when they depart for tours of duty from Portsmouth and welcomes them upon their return. At these airport celebrations, Caroline has performed the national anthem more than 100 times. “It is a privilege to support our heroes with love and respect,” she said.
Quinn, a home-schooled seventh-grader, combines his love of music and history by using his fiddle to teach others about the Oregon Trail and the nation’s westward expansion. Quinn was playing his fiddle at a local farmers market when a family friend invited him to perform for her fifth grade class in conjunction with a lesson on the Oregon Trail. He jumped at the chance, but first had to research the songs and history of the trail. He read several books, watched historical documentaries, and talked to a couple of local music and history teachers. Then he planned his presentation and bought simple period instruments so the students could play along with him.
In addition to playing songs with his fiddle, Quinn explained traditional dance and social life on the Oregon Trail. “The kids learned a lot and had a great time,” he said. “They were engaged, excited, and having a lot of fun.” Quinn ended up delivering his presentation to seven elementary school classes and at nursing homes, community events and a program for adults with developmental disabilities. “My goal is to keep early American music and culture alive by increasing public interest and knowledge of the subject,” he said.
As State Honorees, Caroline and Quinn 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 two other New Hampshire students as Distinguished Finalists for their impressive community service activities. Each will receive an engraved bronze medallion.
These are New Hampshire's Distinguished Finalists for 2014:
Timothy Andrews, 17, of Dunbarton, N.H., a senior at Goffstown High School, directed, filmed and edited “Stand Up,” an anti-bullying video produced by his school’s Agents of Change club that he helped to form. Timothy, who worked with a core group of 15 students to create the video, was invited to present the movie at a regional anti-bullying summit, and is developing an educational component to accompany school presentations.
Elizabeth West, 14, of Loudon, N.H., a freshman at Merrimack Valley High School, created and implemented a sun safety campaign at her school after getting a severe sunburn during an outdoor school event. Elizabeth, who earned her Girl Scout Silver Award for this project, encouraged school administrators to adopt sun safety regulations, including providing shaded areas at all outdoor events; she also secured donations from sunscreen companies, and posted flyers throughout the local middle school about the importance of wearing sunscreen and the dangers of tanning beds.
“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.