The deadline is in less than two weeks to nominate Nebraska’s top youth volunteers for a statewide award, with the chance at national recognition — and a bundle of cash.
Greg Loder, executive director of the Prudential Spirit of Community Initiative, says the program is open to Nebraska students in grades five through 12 who have made meaningful contributions to their communities through volunteer service in the past year.
Loder says, “What we’re looking for and how the students are evaluated is on their initiative, the effort of their project, the impact it’s made and also the personal growth that they’ve experienced.”
This is the 19th year for the awards program and over that time, Loder says they’ve recognized hundreds of young people all across the U.S. for their efforts to protect the environment, promote good health and a host of other causes.
“They’ve created an organization that might collect shoes for the needy or they’ve done things overseas,” Loder says, “but we’ve also seen students in the everyday world who are working at food pantries, working with the ASPCA, just volunteering their time to help others and help in their community.”
Nebraska’s top youth volunteers for 2013 are: 18-year-old Alexandra Baxter of Omaha and My’Kah Knowlin, a 12-year-old from Lincoln. Alexandra, Nebraska’s top high school volunteer, started the Red Kettle 5K Run in 2010, a fall charity event that has collected more than 80,000 cans of food to stock Salvation Army pantries for the high-demand holiday season. My’Kah, Nebraska’s top middle level volunteer, provided more than 300 Boxes of Love filled with toys, snacks other items to children in Joplin, Missouri, after that city was hit by devastating tornadoes.
Students can nominate themselves, Loder says, but they’ll need to have the application certified by their school principal or an official from the organization where they volunteered.
“Students locally are honored with certificates and then every state, two honorees are selected, one at the middle level and one at the high school level,” Loder says. “They earn $1,000, a trip to Washington D.C., and a silver medallion.”
At the event in the nation’s capitol, ten students will be singled out from the 102 honorees for additional awards of $5,000 each, 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.
The deadline for entries is November 5th. Apply online at: http://spirit.prudential.com