PIERRE, S.D., Sept. 6, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards begins its search for South Dakota's top youth volunteers of 2017.
Now through 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.
"After 21 years of conducting The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, it's clear that young volunteers across the United States are making meaningful contributions to their communities," said Prudential Chairman and CEO John Strangfeld. "By shining a spotlight on their service, we hope that more young people will be inspired to serve their communities and make a difference to the people around them."
South Dakota's top youth volunteers of 2016 were Shelby Specht, 15, of Sioux Falls and Danika Gordon, 14, of Whitewood. Shelby, South Dakota's top high school volunteer, has raised $2,000 over the past several years to benefit sick kids in her community by creating and selling candy "bouquets" and cookies. Danika, South Dakota's top middle level volunteer, promotes kindness and volunteerism among her peers through an online book she authored and through programs she conducts at a wide variety of venues.
Applicants for 2017 awards must complete their online applications by November 8, 2016, 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 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.
"When students serve others through volunteer service, they set a compelling example for their peers in the process," said JoAnn Bartoletti, executive director of NASSP. "We look forward to celebrating the initiative and compassion of middle level and high school volunteers."
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 21 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. 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. (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.
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SOURCE Prudential Insurance