14:01 | 06.09.2011
17th Annual Search Under Way for Michigan’s Top Youth Volunteers

Over the past 16 years, Prudential Spirit of Community Awards have been
given to 2,855 middle and high school students across Michigan for
helping the less fortunate, promoting health and safety, protecting the
environment, and serving their communities through many other volunteer
activities. This week the search begins to identify more young
Michiganians who have made meaningful contributions to their communities
over the past 12 months, as the prestigious awards program kicks off its
17th year.

These awards, presented nationwide by Prudential Financial, Inc. in
partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals
(NASSP), honor outstanding community service by young people in grades 5
through 12.

“Since creating this program in 1995, we’ve been amazed every year by
the stories of young volunteers and their outstanding acts of community
service,” said Prudential Chairman and CEO John Strangfeld. “We’re
delighted to honor these role models and hold them up as examples of how
young people can change their communities for the better.”

Young volunteers can apply online at
or at
Applications must be completed by November 1, 2011, and then submitted
to a middle or high school principal, Girl Scout council, county 4-H
agent, American Red Cross chapter, YMCA, or affiliate of the HandsOn
Network. Those without Internet access can get a paper version of the
application form by calling 877-525-8491 toll-free.

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 (50 hours for age 14 and younger,
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, 2012.
These State Honorees will receive $1,000 awards, engraved silver
medallions, and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C., with a
parent for four days of recognition events May 5-8, 2012. Runners-up at
the state level will receive bronze medallions or Certificates of

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.

Emily Smith, 18, of Birmingham and Phoebe Holmes, 14, of Oakland were
Michigan’s top youth volunteers for 2011. Emily, Michigan’s top high
school youth volunteer, was honored for playing a key role in a
fund-raising campaign conducted by her church’s youth group that brought
in more than $270,000 to benefit hundreds of orphans and widows in
Ghana, then leading an effort to continue that mission. Phoebe,
Michigan’s top middle level volunteer, was recognized for tutoring
elementary school children at a local library, exercising and
entertaining dogs and cats at an animal shelter, and building stage sets
for a nonprofit youth theatre group.

“It’s an honor to recognize these remarkable students and share their
stories of selfless community service,” said JoAnn Bartoletti, executive
director of NASSP. “These volunteers are the leaders of tomorrow, and
they give us great hope for the future.”

The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program is the United States’
largest youth recognition program based solely on community service, and
has honored nearly 100,000 young volunteers at local, state and national
levels since 1995. The awards program also is conducted by Prudential
subsidiaries in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Ireland and India.

NASSP is the leading organization of and national voice for middle level
and high school principals, assistant principals, and all school leaders
from across the United States and more than 45 countries around the
world. The association provides research-based professional development
and resources, networking, and advocacy to build the capacity of middle
level and high school leaders to continually improve student
performance. Reflecting its longstanding commitment to student
leadership development as well, 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

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, investment
management, and real estate services. 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


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