Search begins for Hawaii’s top youth volunteers of 2017

Local News
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The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards is searching for Hawaii’s top youth volunteers of 2017.

Now through Tuesday, November 8, 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.

This program year marks The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards’ 22nd year of honoring youth volunteers. The program, sponsored by Prudential Financial in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), was 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.

Hawaii’s top youth volunteers of 2016 were Anna Kimata, 16, of Honolulu and Orren Smith, 12, of Fair Oaks Ranch. Anna, Hawaii’s top high school volunteer, organized a project to collect books and other educational materials for schools in the small island nation of Palau, where many students lack basic educational resources. Orren, Hawaii’s top middle level volunteer, arranged for a presentation on disaster preparedness at his school to educate students and their families on how to increase their chances of surviving a natural catastrophe.

Applicants for 2017 awards must complete their online applications by Tuesday, November 8, 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.

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 (26 hours for age 10 and younger, 50 hours for ages 11-15 and 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 7, 2017. These State Honorees will receive $1,000 awards, engraved silver medallions, and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C., with a parent or guardian for four days of recognition events May 6-9, 2017.

Distinguished Finalists at the state level will receive bronze medallions, and runners-up will receive Certificates of Excellence.

In Washington, a 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.

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