Thursday, September 08, 2005

Prudential Searches For Youth Volunteers

CARSON CITY, Nev. - Over the past 10 years, Prudential Spirit of Community Awards have been given to more than 400 middle level and high school students across Nevada 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 Nevadans who have made meaningful contributions to their communities over the past 12 months, as the prestigious awards program kicks off its 11th 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.

"Young people who take the initiative to serve their communities through volunteerism are a great source of strength for our nation, and give us ample reason to be optimistic about the future," said Prudential Chairman and CEO Arthur F. Ryan. "We want to recognize them, encourage them, and hold them up as role models for all young Americans."

Application forms for The 2006 Prudential Spirit of Community Awards will be available over the next two months through middle level and high schools, Girl Scout councils, county 4-H agents, American Red Cross chapters, YMCAs, and member Volunteer Centers of the Points of Light Foundation & Volunteer Center National Network. They also may be obtained at www.prudential.com/spirit or www.principals.org/prudential, or by calling toll-free 888-450-9961.

Students must submit completed applications by October 31, 2005. Then, participating schools and local organizations will select Local Honorees and present them with Certificates of Achievement. These Local Honorees also will receive the President's Volunteer Service Award from the President's Council on Service and Civic Participation if they have contributed the minimum number of volunteer hours to qualify. 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 in February 2006. 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 6-9, 2006. Runners-up at the state level will receive bronze medallions or Certificates of Excellence.

Last year, more than 20,000 students nationwide participated in The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards. In Nevada, Christopher Ruiz-Gardner, 18, of Las Vegas and John-Henry Lambin, 13, of Gardnerville were the state's top youth volunteers for 2005. Christopher, Nevada's top high school youth volunteer, was honored for organizing a community clothing drive that collected more than 15,000 articles of winter clothing and nearly $2,500 to assist the homeless. John-Henry, Nevada's top middle level volunteer, was recognized for creating "Kids Extreme," a program that supports young people who have asthma and dyslexia and seeks to educate others about these conditions.

In May 2006, a distinguished national selection committee will name America's top 10 youth volunteers of the year. These National Honorees will receive additional awards of $5,000, gold medallions, crystal trophies for their schools or organizations, and $5,000 grants from The Prudential Foundation for nonprofit, charitable organizations of their choice.

"Over the past 10 years, thousands of determined, thoughtful, and selfless young people have been recognized through the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards," said Gerald Tirozzi, executive director of NASSP. "NASSP is proud to be a part of a program that publicly recognizes the efforts of these amazing young people and we hope that it serves to inspire young people everywhere to give back to their communities and become civically engaged."

The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards represent the United States' largest youth recognition program based solely on community service, and have honored more than 60,000 young volunteers at local, state and national levels over the past 10 years. The program, which also is conducted in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, is part of a broad youth-service initiative by Prudential that 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 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).

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, 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. For more information, visit www.prudential.com.

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