Wednesday, April 18, 2012
The 2012 Prudential Spirit of Community Awards
Today I'm sharing a bit of a different kind of post with you all - the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards was something that really touched me. It is simply amazing that youth are thinking to give back to veterans in such drastic and moving ways; devoting countless hours towards putting others above themselves. I hope you enjoy reading about these inspirational young ladies!
The 2012 Prudential Spirit of Community Awards Honors Youth Volunteers Whose Work has Supported Servicemen and Women
In February, The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards singled out America's most outstanding youth volunteers to reward their incredible work and hold them up as examples for all of us -- kids and adults alike. Several of these students’ work support servicemen and women! The effort they put forth is absolutely amazing!
Created in 1995, The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards represents the United States’ largest youth recognition program based solely on volunteer service, and is a truly remarkable program! Each year, the program’s judges select two State Honorees and a handful of Distinguished Finalists in each state and the District of Columbia. The 234 Distinguished Finalists receive bronze medallions, and the 102 State Honorees each receive $1,000, an engraved silver medallion and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C. where they tour the capital’s landmarks, attend a gala awards ceremony, and visit congressional representatives on Capitol Hill.
On May 7th, while in D.C., 10 of this year’s State Honorees will be named National Honorees. 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. This wonderful trip is designed to not only thank the students for all their hard work, but to also recognize their efforts and encourage others to follow in their footsteps.
These young volunteers have helped their communities in ways that range from assisting Americans who are sick or disabled, to collecting food, medical supplies, clothing, books, and school supplies to send overseas, to working in orphanages, building homes, and teaching impoverished children. They are truly an inspiration!
Two of the state honorees whose work supported servicemen and women are Krystal Shirrell and Rebel Rauterkus.
Krystal Shirrell, 18, of Brownsburg, Ind., a senior at Brownsburg High School, has engaged in a variety of activities to assist and support U.S. veterans and soldiers. While attending a workshop organized by her sister to make hats for cancer patients, Krystal heard someone talking about how patients undergoing kidney dialysis treatment often struggle to control their body temperature. Shortly afterward Krystal was at a Veterans Day banquet when she learned that many veterans need dialysis, and an idea took shape: she could make lap blankets to help kidney-damaged veterans stay warm during treatment. Krystal spent up to eight hours making each blanket. She also taught middle school students and senior citizens at a local nursing home how to make the blankets. So far, she has delivered more than 250 of them to the local VA hospital. On one visit, she learned about the VA’s domiciliary program for homeless vets, and immediately wanted to do something for these veterans as well. She conducted a collection drive that provided more than 5,000 needed items for vets in the program, and she hosts monthly bingo nights for them, too. In addition, Krystal designed a “thank-you” coloring sheet for elementary school students to send to veterans, and launched a campaign to send decorated Christmas trees and care packages with special gift items to troops over the holidays. Krystal says she wants to “let veterans know the younger generation has not forgotten them and is reaching out with thanks and support.”
Rebel Rauterkus, 17, of Freedom, Wyo., a member of the Lincoln County 4-H and a senior at Star Valley High School in Afton, raised more than $2,000 for the local American Legion Post by buying and raising two hogs, which were then raffled off to the public. Rebel, whose family members are active volunteers, appreciates how much local veterans do for her community and how little they ask in return. When she heard that the organization was in need of money, she knew she had to help. Her family had raffled off prize-winning hogs in the past to support local causes, so Rebel decided she would use money from her savings account to do the same. “When I met with members at the American Legion, they thought I needed money,” said Rebel. “When I said I wanted to make money to give to them, there were overcome with emotion. Several wept.” As a 4-Her, Rebel knew the qualities she wanted in a hog. “I traveled to several breeders and (pig) sales and knew exactly what I was looking for,” she said. “Show pigs require lots of time, exercise and loving care.” After she had chosen her “boys,” as she referred to them, Rebel had 161 days to raise “the best quality meat on the market.” Last September, Rebel’s efforts paid off at the raffle when community members lined up for a chance to win Rebel’s pork. “The response and results were overwhelming,” she said. With her donation, the Alpine American Legion Post 46 will now be able to make more improvements to their ball field and continue to provide full military honors services at veterans’ funerals, she said.
How can you get involved and help support these volunteers?
1. Check out the amazing work of all 102 state honorees here and share their stories!
2. Cheer on these heroes and share the live webcast of the May 7th event with your family and friends. You can secure your spots for this free webcast event here: http://www.visualwebcaster.com/event.asp?id=85447
3. Join The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards on Facebook:
4. Follow The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards of Twitter:
5. Check out The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards on YouTube:For more information on the volunteer activities of all of the 2012 Honorees, please visit: