TOPEKA – February 24, 2010 – Lindsey Curtis, 17, of Manhattan and Alex Stonebarger, 13, of Leawood have been named Kansas’ top two youth volunteers for 2010 by the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, a nationwide program honoring young people for outstanding acts of volunteerism.
Now in its 15th year, the awards program, conducted by Prudential Financial in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), represents the United States’ largest youth recognition program based solely on volunteer service.
Lindsey Curtis, a senior at Manhattan High School, spent nearly a month last June helping to care for 55 abandoned children at the Amani Baby Cottage, an orphanage in Uganda. Upon her return, Lindsey has continued to collect clothes, books, and shoes to send back to the orphanage. Alex Stonebarger, an eighth-grader at Mission Valley Middle School, founded a youth volunteer organization that has raised $3,500 for animal charities by making and selling pet toys and leashes from recycled materials. The proceeds of her sales go to the Humane Society of Kansas City, and the Rolling Dog Ranch in Montana, a sanctuary for disabled animals.
As State Honorees, each will receive $1,000, an engraved silver medallion, and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C. in May, where they will join the top two honorees from each of the other states and the District of Columbia for several days of national recognition events, among which includes visiting their congressional representatives on Capitol Hill. Ten of them—five middle level and five high school students— will be named National Honorees and will receive an additional $5,000 awards, gold medallions, crystal trophies, and $5,000 grants from The Prudential Foundation for nonprofit, charitable organizations of their choice.
In addition to the State Honorees, program judges recognized four other Kansas students as Distinguished Finalists for their impressive community service activities. Each will receive an engraved bronze medallion:
Sarah Are, a senior at Shawnee Mission East High School, co-founded “Coalition,” a school club that sponsors eight fund-raising and awareness events a year for a variety of important causes.
Lauren Potts, a senior at Lawrence Free State High School, helped create a service learning class as an elective at her high school to encourage lifelong volunteerism and to focus social consciousness on local issues.
Jenna Rangel, a sophomore at Newton High School, developed “Girl2Girl Self Defense,” a program of practical self-defense techniques for girls and young women.
Aniruddha Rao, a senior at Blue Valley Northwest High School, helped develop a performance known as “The Outrage” at his school to educate the community about teen-dating violence and domestic abuse.
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 affiliates of HandsOn Network, were eligible to select a student or member for a local Prudential Spirit of Community Award this past November. Nearly 5,000 Local Honorees were then reviewed by an independent judging panel, which selected State Honorees and Distinguished Finalists based on criteria such as personal initiative, creativity, effort, impact and personal growth.
For more information about this year’s Prudential Spirit of Community State Honorees and Distinguished Finalists, visit http://spirit.prudential.com.
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