WASHINGTON, May 8, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Washington's top two youth volunteers of 2017, Patricia Bell, 18, of Kirkland and Tyler Fiorino, 13, of Spokane, were honored in the nation's capital last night for their outstanding volunteer service during the 22nd annual presentation of The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards. Patricia and Tyler – along with 100 other top youth volunteers from across the country – each received $1,000 awards and personal congratulations from Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps at an award ceremony and gala dinner reception held at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History.
The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program, sponsored by Prudential Financial in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), named Patricia and Tyler Washington's top high school and middle level youth volunteers in February. In addition to their cash awards, they each received an engraved silver medallion and an all-expense-paid trip with a parent to Washington, D.C., for four days of recognition events.
Patricia, a senior at Juanita High School, ran a three-day camp during each of the past three summers to teach young girls how to play lacrosse and to raise money for families who are unable to pay for their children's medical expenses at Seattle Children's Hospital. When she was younger, Patricia made a donation to the hospital for a young girl's heart transplant. "I was so proud and thrilled that the money I raised could help her live a normal life again," said Patricia. When she entered high school, she wondered how she could support hospital patients while doing something she felt passionate about. Her answer: LAX (lacrosse) Chicks for Children's Guild.
After meeting with a hospital official, Patricia decided her guild would raise money to support uncompensated care for families who need financial assistance. "With the help, they can focus solely on their sick kid without the additional stress of worrying about medical bills," she said. Patricia then began organizing a camp for girls from kindergarten through sixth grade, securing equipment donations and field space, finding local business sponsors, recruiting her own lacrosse teammates to assist, and marketing the camp to parents of prospective players. After donating her camp registration fees to the hospital, Patricia conceived of another way to combine lacrosse and philanthropy: She challenged all female high school lacrosse players in Washington to find sponsors to pledge a donation every time they score a goal. Patricia's efforts have raised more than $12,000 for the hospital.
Tyler, a seventh-grader at PRIDE Prep Public Charter School, distributes hand and body warmers to homeless people in his community when temperatures drop below freezing. Every day on the way to school, Tyler would see homeless people on the street waking up after a cold night on the bare ground or sidewalk. "They had nothing to keep them warm," he said. "They had jeans and a coat but maybe only a thin blanket." In November 2015, after a particularly bad storm shut down Spokane's power for a week, Tyler decided he had to do something to help these people.
Recalling the hand warmers he uses when he goes camping with his Boy Scout troop, Tyler decided to buy them for the homeless. To come up with the necessary money, he shoveled snow off sidewalks, did extra chores, and used his allowance. Then he and his grandmother drove the streets of his town looking for people who needed help. He says it was "scary" at first, but he persevered and ended up helping 40 to 50 men and women stay a little warmer that winter. This year, Tyler is distributing foot warmers, gloves and hats, in addition to hand and body warmers. "I would tell other people not to be afraid to help," said Tyler. "If you see someone who looks like they need help, go ahead and help them."
"These honorees have done exemplary work to contribute to the health and vitality of their communities, and we look forward to seeing the great things they achieve in the future," said John Strangfeld, chairman and CEO of Prudential Financial, Inc. "Congratulations to each of these extraordinary young volunteers."
"It's a privilege to celebrate these students not only for outstanding volunteer service, but for the example they've set for their peers," said Jayne Ellspermann, president of NASSP. "These honorees prove that one person truly can make a difference."
Youth volunteers in grades 5-12 were invited to apply for 2017 Prudential Spirit of Community Awards last fall through schools, Girl Scout councils, county 4-H organizations, American Red Cross chapters, YMCAs and affiliates of the HandsOn Network. More than 31,000 middle level and high school students nationwide participated in this year's program.
The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program was created in 1995 to identify and recognize young people for outstanding volunteer service – and, in so doing, inspire others to volunteer, too. In the past 22 years, the program has honored more than 120,000 young volunteers at the local, state and national level.
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. 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 pictures of the Spirit of Community Awards program logo and medallions, visit https://spirit.prudential.com/resources/media.
For B-roll of Washington's honorees at the 2017 national recognition events, contact Prudential's Harold Banks at (973) 216-4833 or email@example.com.
To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/two-washington-youth-honored-for-volunteerism-at-national-award-ceremony-in-washington-dc-300452969.html
SOURCE Prudential Insurance