Two South Carolina Volunteers Honored at National Award Ceremony in Washington, D.C.
Two South Carolina Volunteers Honored at National Award Ceremony in Washington, D.C. Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning Pays Tribute to Young Heroes from Columbia as Part of Four-Day Recognition Events Business Wire WASHINGTON -- May 07, 2012 South Carolina’s top two youth volunteers of the year, Helen Clay, 17 and Anthony Frederick, 14, both of Columbia, were honored in the nation’s capital last night for their outstanding volunteer service during the presentation of The 2012 Prudential Spirit of Community Awards. The two young people – along with 100 other top youth volunteers from across the country – received $1,000 awards as well as personal congratulations from New York Giants quarterback and Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning at the 17^th annual award ceremony and gala dinner reception, held at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. New York Giants quarterback and 2012 Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning congratulates Helen Clay, 17 (center ... New York Giants quarterback and 2012 Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning congratulates Helen Clay, 17 (center) and Anthony Frederick, 14 (right), both of Columbia, on being named South Carolina's top two youth volunteers for 2012 by The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards. Helen and Anthony were honored at a ceremony on Sunday, May 6 at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History, where they each received a $1,000 award. Helen and Anthony were named the top high school and middle level youth volunteers in South Carolina in February. In addition to their cash awards, they received engraved silver medallions and an all-expense-paid trip with their parents to Washington, D.C., for this week’s recognition events. Helen, a junior at Heathwood Hall Episcopal School, has raised $38,000 to make and deliver more than 1,450 teddy bears to brighten the lives of hospitalized children through “Helen’s Hugs,” an organization she founded in late 2009. When Helen was 11, she was diagnosed with cancer and underwent a nine-hour life-saving surgery. “Hard days and nights at the hospital, intense nausea, endless shots, and daily chemotherapy treatment filled my summer break,” she said. “Yet the worst was when I lost my long, red hair.” The one bright spot was when a young boy named Zack, who had recently been hospitalized, sent Helen and other young patients individual boxes of toys. “Receiving his gift and knowing that he had recovered from a difficult illness brought great hope and courage to me lying in my hospital bed,” said Helen. Helen always remembered Zack and decided that she, too, wanted to bring comfort and hope to hospitalized children. Her first step was sending out letters to businesses and individuals to solicit donations. Helen also created a Facebook page to encourage donations and share photos. She assembled a team of more than 40 volunteers to help make bears at a local Build-A-Bear Workshop and prepare gift boxes for the recipients. Then Helen delivered them to local hospitals. Going into a child's room to give the bear in person was a task that was too painful for her at first. But after a few months, she summoned her courage and walked into a room to deliver a bear to a 17-year-old girl who was undergoing chemotherapy. “The awful scent hit me,” said Helen. “My heart immediately went out to the girl, and all I wanted to do was give her comfort. I trust the bear provided encouragement for her to keep fighting.” Anthony, an eighth-grader at Dent Middle School, started an organization that has raised more than $19,000 for cancer research primarily by selling lemonade, and also works to improve the lives of seniors and the homeless. Anthony was motivated by his mother’s breast cancer diagnosis. “I can recall watching my Mom in the hospital bed looking frail, weak and miserable. But she kept a smile on her face when I was close to her,” said Anthony. “My parents instilled in me to be positive and ‘when life gives you lemons make lemonade.’” So, he began selling lemonade and even his own toys to raise money for cancer research. His commitment to the cause was strengthened when his father, too, was diagnosed with leukemia. To publicize his lemonade stand, Anthony passed out flyers and sought interviews with the local press. He then recruited volunteers, including professional athletes, to serve lemonade. The success of his lemonade stand led to the formation of the “Kids Inspired by Cancer Kampaign” (KICK), which also seeks to assist senior citizens and homeless people. KICK volunteers visit and play games with seniors at a local retirement home, and distribute food to the homeless. Anthony also collected shoes and winter clothing for children at a homeless shelter. “For all my friends who are not volunteering to help others, please take time to give back,” said Anthony. “There are lots of people that are in need of simple stuff and as young people we can provide for or help the ones in need.” “Through their extraordinary acts of volunteerism, these students are powerful examples of the way one young person can make a big impact,” said John R. Strangfeld, chairman and CEO of Prudential Financial, Inc. “We are proud to honor them for their achievements, and hope their stories inspire others to consider how they, too, can make a difference.” More than 26,000 young people participated in the 2012 awards program last fall through schools, Girl Scout councils, county 4-H organizations, American Red Cross chapters, YMCAs and affiliates of the HandsOn Network. The top middle level and high school applicants in each state were selected in February, and flown to Washington this week with their parents for four days of special recognition events. Conducted in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards were created 17 years ago by Prudential Financial to encourage youth volunteerism and to identify and reward young role models. Since then, the program has honored more than 100,000 young volunteers at the local, state and national level. “These young people have demonstrated remarkable leadership, selflessness and compassion, and they set a fine example for thousands of other students across the U.S. who want to make a difference,” said Ken Griffith, president of NASSP. “The actions of these young volunteers exemplify the best of what America’s youth have to offer.” More information about The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards and this year’s honorees can be found at http://spirit.prudential.com or www.nassp.org/spirit. NASSP (National Association of Secondary School Principals) 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 www.nassp.org. 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 and investment management. 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 http://www.news.prudential.com/ [Editors: Full-color pictures of the Spirit of Community Awards program logo and medallions are available at http://spirit.prudential.com.] Photos/Multimedia Gallery Available: http://www.businesswire.com/cgi-bin/mmg.cgi?eid=50265476&lang=en Multimedia Available:http://www.businesswire.com/cgi-bin/mmg.cgi?eid=50265476 〈=en Contact: Prudential Harold Banks (w) 973-802-8974 or (c) 973-216-4833 email@example.com or NASSP Robert Farrace, 703-860-7257