New York's Top Two Youth Volunteers Selected in 13th Annual National Awards Program.Brookville and Webster students earn $1,000 awards, engraved en·grave
tr.v. en·graved, en·grav·ing, en·graves
1. To carve, cut, or etch into a material: engraved the champion's name on the trophy.
2. medallions and trip to nation's capital
Honors also bestowed on other top youth volunteers in New York
U.S. Senators John Kerry and Chuck Hagel to co-chair judging panel that will pick 10 National Honorees in May
ALBANY, N.Y. -- Jennifer Zwilling, 17, of Brookville and Kara Houppert, 12, of Webster today were named New York's top two youth volunteers for 2008 by The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, a nationwide program honoring young people for outstanding acts of volunteerism. The awards program, now in its 13th year, is conducted by Prudential Financial in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals The National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) is a United States educational advocacy organization consisting of secondary school principals. To promote excellence among middle school and high school students, NASSP founded and still sponsors the National Honor (NASSP NASSP National Association of Secondary School Principals
NASSP North American Society of Social Philosophy ).
Jennifer was nominated by Jericho High School Academics
Jericho High School has consistently been ranked as one of the top public high schools in America, as ranked by Newsweek. It offers many Advanced Placement classes, Syracuse University SUPA credit classes, has among the highest average SAT scores in the in Jericho, and Kara was nominated by Willink Middle School in Webster. As State Honorees, each will receive $1,000, an engraved silver medallion, and an all-expense-paid trip in early May to Washington, D.C., where they will join the top two honorees - one middle level and one high school youth - from each of the other states and the District of Columbia District of Columbia, federal district (2000 pop. 572,059, a 5.7% decrease in population since the 1990 census), 69 sq mi (179 sq km), on the east bank of the Potomac River, coextensive with the city of Washington, D.C. (the capital of the United States). for several days of national recognition events. Ten of them will be named America's top youth volunteers for 2008 at that time.
Jennifer, a senior at Jericho High School, founded and implemented the Youth Ambassador Training Program of the National Tourette Syndrome Association The Tourette Syndrome Association (TSA), based in Bayside, New York, United States, is a non-profit voluntary organization and the only national health-related organization serving people with Tourette syndrome. , a nationwide program that trains teens to educate other young people about Tourette Syndrome. Jennifer was diagnosed with the neurological disorder at the age of 7. "Although my mom and I attempted to educate my school, I found that people were not as tolerant, understanding or knowledgeable regarding TS as one would hope," she said. She soon discovered that other kids with TS had the same experience, and decided something had to be done.
She began helping local families of children with TS advocate for themselves, and started speaking in schools. When requests for her presentations grew too numerous to handle, Jennifer contacted the National Tourette Syndrome Association to see about launching a program that could train other young people to replicate her activities. Jennifer developed a training manual, presentation handouts and a PowerPoint presentation on a DVD DVD: see digital versatile disc.
in full digital video disc or digital versatile disc
Type of optical disc. The DVD represents the second generation of compact-disc (CD) technology. , and began recruiting teens to be trained as youth ambassadors. So far, she has trained more than 100 teenagers from all over the U.S., spoken at 56 schools, and testified four times before Congress. She estimates that more than 3,000 students, teachers and academic advisers have received accurate information about TS through her program. "I have learned from experience that knowledge is power," she said. "Knowledge about TS gives classmates the power to accept, understand and be supportive."
Kara, a seventh-grader at Willink Middle School, has collected more than 64,000 returnable bottles and cans over the past two years and redeemed them for more than $3,200 to purchase items for two children's hospitals, a local Special Olympics team, and other organizations. Kara was a Special Olympics volunteer until her coach discovered that she was under the minimum age requirement. "I was very upset and wanted to do something that could still help them," Kara said. At first, Kara pulled her little red wagon around her block, collecting redeemable bottles and cans from neighbors. Then she wrote an article about her project for her school newspaper, and asked local businesses to save their containers for her. Her campaign really took off after she was featured in an article in her city newspaper, and people began to drop off their cans and bottles at her house.
Once she collects her items, Kara sorts and delivers them to a recycling company with the help of her parents. She set up a "Kara's Kans" account with the company, so that anyone who drops off cans and bottles can contribute their proceeds to her project. So far, Kara has used her money to buy several items for Golisano Children's Hospital and the pediatric pediatric /pe·di·at·ric/ (pe?de-at´rik) pertaining to the health of children.
Of or relating to pediatrics. unit of Rochester General Hospital, as well as books about special-needs kids for her former elementary school, sweatshirts for her community's Special Olympics team, and necessities for families in need. Now she is working to help a local woman pay for breast cancer treatments. "I hope and plan to continue doing this and would like to expand to other fund-raising ideas," Kara said. "There are always people who need help."
In addition, the program judges recognized eight other New York students as Distinguished Finalists for their impressive community service activities. Each will receive an engraved bronze medallion:
Devang Bhoiwala, 17, of Slingerlands, a senior at Guilderland High School Guilderland High School is a public high school located in Guilderland Center, New York. It is part of the Guilderland Central School District. Constructed in 1953, the high school has since undergone additions in 1955, 1959, 1965, and 1997. in Guilderland Center, founded a student volunteer club dedicated to informing teens about the U.S. health care system and supporting free local clinics through volunteerism and fund-raising events. The club, "Students for Improving Health Care," hosts speakers on health care topics, participates in health-related community events such as health walks and expos, organizes fund-raising activities, and sends volunteers to help out at local clinics and nursing homes.
Meredith Burcyk, 17, of East Northport, a senior at Northport High School Northport High School is a four-year secondary school located at 154 Laurel Hill Road Coordinates: in Northport, New York. It functions as the high school for the Northport-East Northport Union Free School District which serves the communities of , helped raise more than $100,000 to fund projects for disadvantaged people in Nicaragua, and then traveled to that country to work on those projects. While there, she helped build houses for poor families, expand a kindergarten, create a park and basketball court, and teach English and poetry to needy children.
Laura Mantell, 18, of Chappaqua, a senior at Horace Greeley High School Horace Greeley High School is a public, four-year secondary school located in Chappaqua, New York that serves the Chappaqua Central School District. As of 2008, the school principal is Andrew Selesnick. The school's enrollment stands at roughly 1,500. , co-founded a volunteer group of students along the East Coast dedicated to helping young victims of Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana and Mississippi. The group has raised more than $10,000 for the American Red Cross American Red Cross: see Red Cross. and Habitat for Humanity Habitat for Humanity, nonprofit ecumenical Christian organization that enables low-income people to own affordable, livable housing. Headquartered in Americus, Ga., it was founded in 1976 by businessman Millard Fuller and his wife. on the Gulf Coast, developed a self-esteem and goal-setting program for young students in Mississippi, and started a pen-pal program connecting third-graders in Mississippi to counterparts in New York state.
Jason Mogen, 17, of Dix Hills, a senior at Half Hollow Hills High School West, has collected more than 3,000 pairs of used eyeglasses eyeglasses or spectacles, instrument or device for aiding and correcting defective sight. Eyeglasses usually consist of a pair of lenses mounted in a frame to hold them in position before the eyes. over the past year and a half for impoverished adults and children around the world. As a volunteer for the Give the Gift of Sight Foundation, Jason organized collection campaigns in schools and local organizations, encouraged other groups to start their own drives, and helped volunteer optometrists and opticians with eye tests and eyeglass distributions at a camp for disadvantaged kids in Fishkill, New York Fishkill is a village within the Town of Fishkill in Dutchess County, New York, USA. The population was 1,735 at the 2000 census.
The Village of Fishkill is in the northeast part of the town on US 9. It is north of Interstate 84. NY 52 is the main street. .
Ann Price, 17, of Jamestown, a senior at Jamestown High School Jamestown High School is the name of several high schools in the United States.
Robert Houghwout Jackson (February 13, 1892–October 9, 1954) was United States Attorney General (1940–1941) and an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court (1941–1954). Center for Legal Studies, and helped her school's Key Club collect books for disadvantaged young children.
Raphael Spiro, 17, of Forest Hills, a senior at The Bronx High School of Science The Bronx High School of Science (commonly called Bronx Science, Bronx Sci, or just Science, and officially known as H.S. 445) is a specialized New York City public high school. in the Bronx, co-founded a book-collecting program that has grown to encompass more than 200 student volunteers in 16 states over the past four years. The group has collected donations of more than 44,000 new and gently used books for distribution to Hurricane Katrina victims, wounded soldiers in Iraq, students living in bomb shelters in Israel, seniors in nursing homes, and disadvantaged inner-city students.
Sheel Tyle, 16, of Pittsford, a senior at Pittsford Mendon High School Pittsford Mendon High School is a public high school in suburban Rochester, Monroe County, upstate New York. It is one of two high schools in the Pittsford Central School District, the other being Pittsford Sutherland High School. and a member of the United Way of Greater Rochester in Rochester, has spent most of his spare time over the past four years conducting medical research to help find cures for macular degeneration, atherosclerosis and epilepsy. Working under mentors at several medical facilities, Sheel studies existing scientific literature, conducts laboratory experiments, writes papers on the results, and presents his findings.
Samantha Williams, 18, of Huntington, a senior at Walt Whitman High School For the school in South Huntington, New York, see .
Walt Whitman High School is a public secondary institution serving roughly the western part of Bethesda--an unincorporated suburban area of Washington, DC, in Montgomery County, Maryland. in Huntington Station, helped raise $70,000 for cancer research by selling bracelets made by cancer survivors and volunteers. As the New York distributors of bracelets for the Circle of Hope Foundation, Samantha and her family sell bracelets at craft fairs, festivals, fund-raisers, private bracelet parties, at their temple's gift shop, and individually to friends and family.
"Over the past 13 years, we've seen an incredible number of young Americans who have selflessly devoted their time and energy to helping others in their communities," said Arthur F. Ryan, chairman of Prudential Financial. "The volunteer work of this year's honorees is as inspiring as any we've seen, and we are honored to recognize the amazing contributions they've made to their neighborhoods, cities and nation."
"Congratulations to this year's state winners in The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards," stated Gerald N. Tirozzi, executive director of the National Association of Secondary School Principals. "The hard work and determination that these students have exhibited in trying to make a difference in the lives of others is remarkable."
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 Volunteer Centers, were eligible to select a student or member for a local Prudential Spirit of Community Award this past November. Nearly 4,500 Local Honorees were then reviewed by state-level judges, who selected State Honorees and Distinguished Finalists based on criteria such as personal initiative, creativity, effort, impact and personal growth.
While in Washington, D.C., the 102 State Honorees will tour the capital's landmarks, attend a gala awards ceremony at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History For the museum in Manhattan, see .
This article is about the museum in Washington, D.C.. For other uses, see National Museum of Natural History (disambiguation).
The National Museum of Natural History , and visit their congressional representatives on Capitol Hill. In addition, 10 of them - five middle level and five high school students - will be named National Honorees on May 5 by a prestigious national selection committee. These honorees will receive additional $5,000 awards, gold medallions, crystal trophies, and $5,000 grants from The Prudential Foundation for nonprofit, charitable organizations of their choice.
Co-chairing the national selection committee will be U.S. Senators John Kerry of Massachusetts and Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, and Arthur Ryan of Prudential. Also serving on the committee will be actor Richard Dreyfuss; Alma Powell, chair of America's Promise - The Alliance for Youth; Michelle Nunn, president and CEO (1) (Chief Executive Officer) The highest individual in command of an organization. Typically the president of the company, the CEO reports to the Chairman of the Board. of the Points of Light & Hands On Network The Hands on Network is a non-profit volunteer organization focusing on community service that is based in Atlanta, Georgia. About
According to their website, Hands On Network coordinates a number of "Hands On cites" across the United States. ; Amy B. Cohen cohen
(Hebrew: “priest”) Jewish priest descended from Zadok (a descendant of Aaron), priest at the First Temple of Jerusalem. The biblical priesthood was hereditary and male. , director of Learn and Serve America Learn and Serve America is a United States government program under the authority of the Corporation For National and Community Service. Its mission is to provide opportunities for students nation-wide to participate in service learning projects, and to gain valuable experience at the Corporation for National and Community Service The Corporation for National and Community Service, or CNCS, was created as an independent agency of the United States Government by The National and Community Service Trust Act of 1993. ; Kathy Cloninger, CEO of Girl Scouts of the USA For Girl Scouts worldwide, see Girl Guide and Girl Scout.
The Girl Scouts of the United States of America (GSUSA) is a youth organization for girls in the United States and American girls living abroad. ; Donald T. Floyd Jr., president and CEO of National 4-H Council; Kathryn Forbes, national chair of volunteers, American Red Cross; Neil Nicoll, CEO of YMCA of the USA; Michael Cohen, president and CEO of Achieve, Inc.; Barry Stark, president of NASSP; and two 2007 Prudential Spirit of Community National Honorees: Kelly Davis of West Bath, Maine West Bath is a town in Sagadahoc County, Maine, United States. The population was 1,798 at the 2000 census. A sub-locality of West Bath is Winnegance. Geography
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 38.8 km² (15.0 mi²). 30.6 km² (11. , and Kelydra Welcker of Parkersburg, W.Va.
In addition to granting its own awards, The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program will be distributing President's Volunteer Service Awards to nearly 2,800 of its Local Honorees this year on behalf of the President's Council on Service and Civic Participation The President's Council on Service and Civic Participation was created by President George W. Bush in January 2003 by executive order. Its mission is to encourage volunteerism and to recognize the contributions Americans make through service and civic participation. . The President's Volunteer Service Award recognizes Americans of all ages who have volunteered significant amounts of their time to serve their communities and their country.
The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards represent the United States' largest youth recognition program based solely on volunteer service. The program is part of a broad youth-service initiative by Prudential that includes a youth leadership training program administered by the Points of Light & Hands On Network; a free booklet of volunteer ideas for young people offered through the Federal Citizen Information Center; and a Web site featuring profiles of outstanding youth volunteers, volunteer tips and project ideas for students, an electronic newspaper on youth volunteerism, and more (www.prudential.com/spirit). The Spirit of Community Awards program also is conducted by Prudential subsidiaries in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Ireland.
For information on all of this year's Prudential Spirit of Community State Honorees and Distinguished Finalists, visit www.prudential.com/spirit, or www.principals.org/prudential.
NASSP is the preeminent organization and the national voice for middle level and high school principals, assistant principals and aspiring school leaders. NASSP provides its members the professional resources to serve as visionary leaders. NASSP promotes the intellectual growth, academic achievement, character development, leadership development, and physical well-being of youth through its programs and student leadership services. NASSP administers the National Honor Society The National Honor Society (NHS), established in 1921, is a recognition program for American high school students who show achievement in scholarship, leadership, service, and character. [TM], the National Junior Honor Society National Junior Honor Society, or NJHS is a worldwide organization that consists of many chapters in middle schools (grades 6-8). Selection is based on five criteria: citizenship, service, leadership, scholarship and character. [TM] and the National Association of Student Councils[TM].
Prudential Financial, Inc. (NYSE NYSE
See: New York Stock Exchange : PRU), a financial services leader, has operations in the United States, Asia, Europe, and Latin America. Leveraging its heritage of life insurance and asset management expertise, Prudential is focused on helping individual and institutional customers grow and protect their wealth. The company's well-known Rock symbol is an icon of strength, stability, expertise and innovation that has stood the test of time. Prudential's businesses offer a variety of products and services, including life insurance, annuities, retirement-related services, mutual funds, investment management and real estate services. For more information, visit www.prudential.com.
Editors: Graphics depicting the award program's logo and medallions may be downloaded from www.prudential.com/spirit.