DENVER, Feb. 7, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Emma Albertoni, 17, of Arvada and Breanna Remigio, 14, of Aurora today were named Colorado's top two youth volunteers of 2017 by The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, a nationwide program honoring young people for outstanding acts of volunteerism. As State Honorees, Emma and Breanna 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 2017.
The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, now in its 22nd year, is conducted by Prudential Financial in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP).
These are Colorado's top youth volunteers of 2017:
High School State Honoree: Emma Albertoni
Nominated by Girl Scouts of Colorado in Denver
Emma, a senior at Ralston Valley Senior High School in Denver, is working to improve financial literacy education to ensure that students in her school district and ultimately her entire state are prepared to make sound financial decisions when they graduate. The idea hit Emma one summer when she was working at a summer job, shopping for her first car, and looking at college tuitions. "I was dealing with larger sums of money than ever before and I realized I didn't know anything about using it wisely," she said. After discussing with her parents such foreign concepts as credit scores, loans, budgeting and taxes, Emma decided she and her peers needed help.
She began by researching financial education in Colorado and found large gaps. For example, "In Algebra II, students are taught how to calculate interest; what they are not taught is how interest could affect their credit scores or how to figure interest into the cost of a purchase," she said. Emma discussed her concerns with her principal, who put her in touch with the teacher of her school's Family Consumer Science class. Emma offered to develop a unit on financial safety online for the class, and then created presentations, videos, discussion outlines, and quizzes to use in the classroom. Next, she persuaded the local school board to strengthen the teaching of financial literacy throughout the district, and she is now working with state legislators on guidelines for educators across the state to follow in teaching students about financial topics.
Middle Level State Honoree: Breanna Remigio
Nominated by North Middle School Health Sciences and Technology Campus in Aurora
Breanna, an eighth-grader at North Middle School, helps out at her school in a variety of ways that have a positive impact on teachers, staff, students and the community. She says her motivation is simple: she wants to help others. "I really like helping people," she said. "When I help people, I feel very rewarded."
When Breanna was in the sixth grade, she began to help by shelving and checking out books at her school library. The next year, she stayed after school to work in the school office, assisting the staff by stapling documents, shredding paper, and preparing student passes for the next day. Breanna also has helped out during parent-teacher conferences and other school events, and assisted sixth graders in learning about their new school. "A lot of them were really nervous," she said. "I felt like a teacher to them and I told them all the things I wish I would have known when I was a sixth grader." As an active member of her student body, Breanna also is involved in coat and canned food drives to help people in need in the community.
The program judges also recognized four other Colorado students as Distinguished Finalists for their impressive community service activities. Each will receive an engraved bronze medallion.
These are Colorado's Distinguished Finalists for 2017:
Bethany Dykson, 17, of Fort Collins, Colo., a senior at Fort Collins High School, has worked with her Key Club advisor since August 2015 to plan a community garden and playground, an effort to transform a dirt lot into a safe gathering spot for residents of a local trailer park. Bethany has supported the effort by building a website, researching materials, raising funds, assisting with grant writing and more; the playground has now been built, and planting for the community garden will begin in spring 2017.
William Gordon, 18, of Littleton, Colo., a senior at Colorado Heritage Education School System, is an active community volunteer who has mobilized others to participate in sports events for kids with disabilities, pack shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child, and distribute bags of food and drinks to the homeless. Moved to help others by his experience caring for his sister with cystic fibrosis, William has also volunteered with his baseball team to entertain young patients at Children's Hospital Colorado.
Alec Greven, 17, of Castle Rock, Colo., a senior at Castle View High School, has volunteered for the past five years with the Castle Rock Teen Court, working in roles from attorney to mentor in order to help issue constructive sentences for first-time, nonviolent juvenile offenders. In addition to undergoing extensive training of his own, Alec has organized trainings to advance the work of other teen volunteers, and has worked to expand the program's local influence as president of its student advisory board.
Andrew Kent, 18, of Arvada, Colo., a senior at Jeffco Virtual Academy, works with the organization Love-Hope-Strength to sign people up for the national bone marrow registry in memory of Daniel, a young boy he met in 2011 while the two of them were being treated for leukemia. Andrew has solicited registry sign-ups at dozens of concerts, helping the organization to register more than 1,500 people – 35 who turned out to be matches for people needing bone marrow transplants.
"Prudential is honored to recognize these young volunteers for their exemplary service," said Prudential Chairman and CEO John Strangfeld. "We hope that their stories inspire others to consider how they, too, can volunteer their time and talents to improve their communities."
"These service-minded young people have brought meaningful change to communities at home and abroad, and it's a privilege to celebrate their work," said JoAnn Bartoletti, executive director of NASSP. "Congratulations to an exceptional group of middle level and high school students."
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 8, 10 of the State Honorees – five middle level and five high school students – will be named America's top youth volunteers of 2017. 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 115,000 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, China and Brazil. 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.
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.
For Spirit of Community Awards program logo and medallion graphics, please visit https://spirit.prudential.com/resources/media
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SOURCE Prudential Insurance