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Search Under Way for Maryland’s Top Youth Volunteers of 2016


Today, The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards begins its search for Maryland’s top youth volunteers of 2016.

Now through November 3, 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’ 21st 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.

“Every year for the past 20 years, we’ve been inspired by the stories of service we’ve heard from young people across the United States,” said Prudential Chairman and CEO John Strangfeld. “We look forward to honoring the top youth volunteers of 2016, and hope their example will inspire others to serve their communities, too.”

Maryland’s top youth volunteers of 2015 were Robert Palmisano, 18, of Phoenix and Ellie Feaga, 13, of Woodbine. Robert, Maryland’s top high school volunteer, has distributed more than 8,000 items of surplus and donated sports equipment to kids in need in underserved Baltimore neighborhoods over the past two years. Ellie, Maryland’s top middle level volunteer, has raised more than $ 20,000 for a variety of charities by hosting an annual bake sale that has become a major event in her community.

Applicants for 2016 awards must complete their online applications by November 3, 2015, 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 9, 2016. 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 April 30-May 3, 2016. 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.

“Middle and high school students nationwide are making their mark on their communities through volunteer service,” said JoAnn Bartoletti, executive director of NASSP. “We are honored to celebrate their initiative, their dedication, and the powerful example they’ve set for their peers.”

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 115,000 young volunteers at the local, state and national level over the past 20 years. The awards program also is conducted in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Ireland, India, China and Brazil, where Prudential has significant business operations.

The National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) is the leading organization of and voice for middle level and high school principals, assistant principals, and school leaders from across the United States and 35 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.

Prudential Financial, Inc. (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: Full-color pictures of The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program logo and medallions are available at http://spirit.prudential.com.]

Harold Banks, 973-802-8974 (work) or 973-216-4833 (cell)
[email protected]

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