Wisconsin's Top Two Youth Volunteers Selected in 18th Annual National Awards Program Weston and Waukesha students earn $1,000 awards, engraved medallions and trip to nation’s capital Honors also bestowed on youth volunteers in De Pere, Beaver Dam, Elkhorn, Bristol, Menomonee Falls and River Falls Business Wire MADISON, Wis. -- February 5, 2013 Peyton Medick, 14, of Weston and Colleen DeLisle, 13, of Waukesha today were named Wisconsin's top two youth volunteers of 2013 by The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, a nationwide program honoring young people for outstanding acts of volunteerism. Peyton was nominated by Idea Charter School/D.C. Everest Junior High in Weston, and Colleen was nominated by Kettle Moraine School District in Dousman. The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, now in its 18th year, is conducted by Prudential Financial in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP). Peyton, a freshman at Idea Charter School/D.C. Everest Junior High, created a large food distribution network that has provided more than 80 tons of food and $30,000 in monetary donations for food pantries in central Wisconsin and across the country. In 2007, Peyton met a young boy who was homeless and starving. That chance encounter, along with a television show she saw about hunger in her community, left an indelible mark on her. “I believe eating is a basic human right,” Peyton said. “So many of us have plenty to eat. If everyone with enough to eat gives a little, we can solve this problem.” So Peyton asked her principal if she could conduct a food drive at school for a local pantry. It didn’t stop there. She began speaking to hundreds of students at a time about the problem of hunger in their community. Through schools, churches and clubs, she recruited volunteers. She contacted grocery store managers for donations, persuaded churches and businesses to host drop boxes, and obtained support from several national organizations. In addition to food drives, Peyton’s initiative, called “Peyton’s Promise,” provides holiday meals to families in need by selling T-shirts and giving grocery store shoppers lists of items needed to prepare holiday food boxes. Peyton’s program has trained more than 25 student “advocates” in two states, who have taught thousands of others how to run food drives in their own communities. Peyton estimates that more than 5,000 families currently benefit each month from the many activities of “Peyton’s Promise.” Colleen, a seventh-grader at Kettle Moraine Middle School, organized a volunteer club at her school that has engaged more than 100 fellow students in a variety of community service projects. Since she was a little girl, Colleen has volunteered in her community, whether it was serving meals to the needy or reading to toddlers. But she wanted to do more for her community and at the same time involve her friends. “There wasn’t a way to do that,” Colleen said. So her mother suggested that she start her own group at school to do service projects. After speaking with a cousin who was in high school, Colleen learned about Interact, a service-based student group sponsored by Rotary International. She researched the club online, downloaded organization packets, contacted the local Rotary club about starting a chapter, found a teacher to be the club’s advisor and obtained her principal’s permission. The club’s dozen members now meet monthly to discuss issues in the community and the world and then advertise their projects through posters, announcements and videos to get other students involved. So far, they have organized a day at school to call attention to the plight of Africa’s child soldiers, supported U.S. service members through the “Got Your 6” campaign, raised money for education and medical needs, and made Christmas cards for the residents of a local senior center. As State Honorees, Peyton and Colleen 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 from each of the other states and the District of Columbia for four days of national recognition events. During the trip, 10 students will be named America’s top youth volunteers of 2013. Distinguished Finalists The program judges also recognized six other Wisconsin students as Distinguished Finalists for their impressive community service activities. Each will receive an engraved bronze medallion. These are Wisconsin's Distinguished Finalists for 2013: Paige Bani, 18, of De Pere, Wis., a senior at West De Pere High School, has raised more than $5,500 by holding a Tourette’s syndrome awareness 5K through the program she created, “Connor’s Cause.” Paige, who started the organization to help educate others about Tourette’s syndrome after her brother was diagnosed with it, has traveled across the state giving presentations to help students and teachers better understand the condition. Anna Boschert, 18, of Beaver Dam, Wis., a senior at Beaver Dam High School, has teamed up with a classmate to raise $160,000 toward the construction of a new environmental science classroom with a lab and greenhouse through the project “Generating a Greener Future.” Anna has conducted public presentations to spread the word and organized a number of fundraisers including pizza sales, brick and tile sales, coupon books and a letter campaign to secure sponsorships. Quentin Cauffman, 19, of Elkhorn, Wis., a member of the Walworth County 4-H and a senior at Elkhorn Area High School, is a volunteer camp counselor for third- through fifth-grade boys at the 4-H camp. Quentin also has participated in food drives, recycling and highway clean-up projects, and runs classes for young people on art, robotics and sports. Trevor Foster, 17, of Bristol, Wis., a junior at Central High, founded Wisconsin’s first high school chapter of Habitat for Humanity in 2011 and has since encouraged 50 students to join the organization. Trevor, who has helped to raise more than $5,000 to support the cause, has since joined forces with a local Habitat affiliate and will soon begin building homes within the community. Julie Schweiss, 19, of Menomonee Falls, Wis., a senior at Menomonee Falls High School, helped raise nearly $20,000 by co-chairing her school’s team for an American Cancer Society Relay for Life charity walk. Julie, who had volunteered for the Relay for Life in the past, planned and led committee meetings, recruited, helped assemble teams, and played a major role in various fundraisers including a rummage sale, car wash and bake sale. Trevor Stokes, 18, of River Falls, Wis., a senior at River Falls High School, founded “HomeFront,” an organization that rallies young volunteers to provide assistance to elderly veterans and veterans with disabilities in the local area. Trevor, whose grandfather is a Korean War veteran, has organized his volunteers to provide year-round assistance with basic tasks including errands, moving furniture, hooking up electronics, raking leaves, putting up and taking down holiday decorations and just being a friend. “Prudential is proud to honor these students for making meaningful contributions to their communities,” said Prudential Chairman and CEO John Strangfeld. “We hope that shining a spotlight on their initiative, creativity and compassion inspires others to consider how they, too, can make a difference.” “Through their volunteer service, each of these young people has made his or her mark on at least one person, school or community,” said JoAnn Bartoletti, executive director of NASSP. “When you consider the collective impact of each of these individual acts, it’s clear that young people can be a major force for good.” About The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards represents the United States’ largest youth recognition program based solely on volunteer service. 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 HandsOn Network affiliates, were eligible to select a student or member for a local Prudential Spirit of Community Award. Nearly 5,000 Local Honorees were then reviewed by an independent judging panel, which selected State Honorees and Distinguished Finalists based on criteria including personal initiative, effort, impact and personal growth. While in Washington, D.C., the 102 State Honorees – one middle level and one high school student from each state and the District of Columbia – will tour the capital’s landmarks, meet top youth volunteers from other parts of the world, attend a gala awards ceremony at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, and visit their congressional representatives on Capitol Hill. On May 6, 10 of the State Honorees – five middle level and five high school students – will be named America’s top youth volunteers of 2013. These National 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. Since the program began in 1995, more than 100,000 young volunteers have been honored at the local, state and national level. The program also is conducted by Prudential subsidiaries in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Ireland and India. In addition to granting its own awards, The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program also distributes President’s Volunteer Service Awards to qualifying Local Honorees on behalf of President Barack Obama. For information on all of this year’s Prudential Spirit of Community State Honorees and Distinguished Finalists, visit http://spirit.prudential.com or www.nassp.org/spirit. About NASSP 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 36 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. About Prudential Financial 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: For full-color pictures of the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program logo and medallions, click here: http://bit.ly/Xi4oFW Contact: Prudential Financial Harold Banks, 973-802-8974 or 973-216-4833 firstname.lastname@example.org
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Wisconsin's Top Two Youth Volunteers Selected in 18th Annual National Awards Program
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