WASHINGTON, May 8, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Colorado's top two youth volunteers of 2017, Emma Albertoni, 18, of Arvada and Breanna Remigio, 14, of Aurora, 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. Emma and Breanna – 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 Emma and Breanna Colorado'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.
Emma, a member of Girl Scouts of Colorado and a senior at Ralston Valley High School, 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.
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.
"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 Colorado's honorees at the 2017 national recognition events, contact Prudential's Harold Banks at (973) 216-4833 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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SOURCE Prudential Insurance