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Ninth Annual Search Under Way for Alabama's Top Youth Volunteers.

 State Honorees Receive Cash Awards, Medallions and
 Trip to Washington, D.C., for National Events
 Florence and Cullman Youth Were Alabama's Honorees in 2003

MONTGOMERY, Ala., Sept. 2 /PRNewswire/ -- Many young people across Alabama are working to make their communities better places to live -- by helping the less fortunate, promoting health and safety, protecting the environment, and taking part in countless other volunteer activities. This week the search begins to identify those who have made the greatest commitment and impact over the past year, in the ninth annual Prudential Spirit of Community Awards.

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

Application forms for The 2004 Prudential Spirit of Community Awards will be available over the next two months in middle level and high schools, Girl Scout councils, county 4-H offices, American Red Cross chapters, YMCAs, Camp Fire USA councils and member Volunteer Centers of the Points of Light Foundation & Volunteer Center National Network. They also may be obtained by visiting or, or by calling this toll-free telephone number: 1-888-450-9961.

Students must submit completed applications by October 31, 2003. Then, participating schools and local organizations will select and honor their top youth volunteers, and submit them for state-level judging. The top two candidates from each state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico -- one high school student and one middle level student -- will be named State Honorees in February 2004, and will receive $1,000 awards, engraved silver medallions, and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C., in May 2004 for four days of national recognition events. Runners-up at the state level will receive bronze medallions or Certificates of Excellence.

Last year, more than 24,000 students nationwide participated in The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards. In Alabama, Andrew Newton of Florence and Stephanie Roberts of Cullman were the state's top youth volunteers for 2003. Andrew, Alabama's top high school youth volunteer, was honored for establishing a 2-1/2-year computer recycling program that collected and refurbished used PCs for donation to non-profit agencies, benefiting more than 1,900 people. Stephanie, Alabama's top middle level volunteer, was recognized for spearheading two volunteer service projects at her school: a trash-recycling program to support a local dog pound, and an "adopt-a-grandparent" program at a nursing home.

"Most awards given to students these days recognize academic or athletic performance," said Prudential Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Arthur F. Ryan. "We believe it's equally important to reward and celebrate young people who see important needs in their communities and commit themselves to meeting those needs."

In May 2004, a distinguished national selection committee will name America's top ten youth volunteers of the year. These National Honorees will receive additional awards of $5,000, gold medallions and crystal trophies for their schools or organizations. They also will have $25,000 worth of products donated in each of their names to needy children in their communities by Kids In Distressed Situations, Inc., the national charity of the children's apparel and products industry.

"The young people who win these awards through their tremendous volunteer efforts serve to inspire young and old alike to make a positive difference in their own communities," said Gerald Tirozzi, executive director of NASSP. "It is an honor to recognize so many of the nation's future community leaders. Their energy, spirit, and dedication set a fine example for their peers."

The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, created in 1995, constitute the country's largest youth recognition program based solely on community service, and have honored nearly 50,000 young volunteers at local, state and national levels over the past eight years. The program, which also is conducted in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, is part of a broad Prudential initiative to promote youth volunteerism. The initiative includes a youth leadership training program administered by the Points of Light Foundation, a free booklet of volunteer ideas for young people offered through the Federal Citizen Information Center, and other education materials for schools and students.

NASSP -- the preeminent organization and the national voice for middle level and high school principals, assistant principals and aspiring school leaders -- 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(TM) and the National Association of Student Councils(TM).

Prudential Financial companies serve individual and institutional customers worldwide and include The Prudential Insurance Company of America, one of the largest life insurance companies in the U.S. These companies offer a variety of products and services, including life insurance, property and casualty insurance, mutual funds, annuities, pension and retirement related services and administration, asset management, securities brokerage, banking and trust services, real estate brokerage franchises and relocation services.

The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards are sponsored by Prudential Financial in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals. The program is supported by National 4-H Council; Girl Scouts of the USA; American Red Cross; YMCA of the USA; Camp Fire USA; Points of Light Foundation & Volunteer Center National Network; America's Promise; Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America; Key Club International; National Council of La Raza; National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry, Inc.; National Urban League; United National Indian Tribal Youth, Inc.; United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism; and these national education organizations: American Association of School Administrators, Council of the Great City Schools, National Community Education Association; National Middle School Association; National School Boards Association; and National School Public Relations Association.

CONTACT: Dawn Kelly of Prudential Financial, +1-973-802-7134; or Michelle White of NASSP, +1-703-860-7344

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Publication:PR Newswire
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 2, 2003
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