WASHINGTON, April 30, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Georgia's top two youth volunteers of 2018, Max Rubenstein, 18, of Atlanta and Angelica Krubeck, 11, of Cumming, were honored in the nation's capital last night for their outstanding volunteer service during the 23rd annual presentation of The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards. Max and Angelica – along with 100 other top youth volunteers from across the country – each received $1,000 awards and personal congratulations from Olympic gold medalist and World Cup champion Lindsey Vonn 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 Max and Angelica Georgia'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.
Max, a senior at The Galloway School, is the founder of "Game Givers," a nonprofit that has provided thousands of new and used video games to hospitals and Ronald McDonald Houses to alleviate the pain and boredom that sick children experience. Max's inspiration was his grandmother, a video game lover who used her neon green Gameboy to take her mind off of her pain while battling ovarian cancer for eight years. One day, while playing video games together, "we talked about how so many kids my age are in children's hospitals that don't have the resources for distractions like video games," he said.
After his grandmother died, Max decided to honor her memory by creating a charity that would provide video games for sick kids. He completed a 10-month program on how to start a nonprofit, and then began collecting donations and contacting hospitals. He conducted collection drives to obtain used games, solicited monetary donations to buy new ones, forged partnerships with video game developers, and held fundraising events including game tournaments. In two years, Max's charity, "Game Givers," has donated more than $110,000 worth of games to hospitals and Ronald McDonald Houses throughout Georgia, as well as in Boston, Michigan, and Madrid. "I know how proud my grandmother is of the work I am doing," said Max.
Angelica, a member of Forsyth County 4-H and a home-schooled sixth-grader, has combined two of her passions – science and helping kids – by providing science kits and conducting fun workshops for at-risk children in shelters, foster care and after-school programs through "Super Science Kids," a nonprofit she founded two years ago. One day Angelica had a conversation with a friend who had once lived in a homeless shelter. "She opened up to me about her life in a shelter and how hard every day was," she said. "I didn't realize some kids went through this. So I decided I wanted to help."
After brainstorming with her family, Angelica met with a local librarian to develop science lessons, presented her ideas to local shelters, and sold some of her toys to pay filing fees for nonprofit status. She then established a website and a Facebook page, designed a logo, solicited donations from companies that make educational materials, and planned fundraisers. Finally, she was ready to begin delivering science kits and organizing learning events at foster organizations, shelters, and after-school programs. Initially, Angelica's goal was to teach science to at-risk kids in her county, then in her state. But last summer, she and her family embarked on a cross-country science tour to conduct science workshops at 15 shelters and deliver 800 science kits to children in need. "Super Science Kids doesn't just teach science, we also empower kids," Angelica said.
"These honorees exemplify something we've known for a long time – that young volunteers have the power to bring meaningful change to their communities," said John Strangfeld, chairman and CEO of Prudential Financial, Inc. "These students have shown leadership and determination well beyond their years, and it's a privilege to celebrate their service."
"Through their acts of service, these honorees drive home a powerful lesson for their peers: that one student really can make a difference," said Daniel P. Kelley, president of NASSP. "We are honored to shine a spotlight on the compassion, drive and ingenuity of each of these young volunteers."
Youth volunteers in grades 5-12 were invited to apply for 2018 Prudential Spirit of Community Awards last fall through schools, Girl Scout councils, county 4-H organizations, American Red Cross chapters, YMCAs and affiliates of Points of Light's HandsOn Network. More than 29,000 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 23 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 principals and other school leaders across the United States. NASSP seeks to transform education through school leadership, recognizing that the fulfillment of each student's potential relies on great leaders in every school committed to the success of each student. 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 Student Council. Learn more at www.nassp.org.
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