Roswell and Belen students earn $1,000 awards engraved medallions and
trip to nation’s capital
Honors also bestowed on youth volunteers in Belen and Los Alamos
SANTA FE, N.M.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Cameron Estrada, 17, of Roswell and Cody Osborn, 13, of Belen today were
named New Mexico’s top two youth volunteers of 2016 by The Prudential
Spirit of Community Awards, a nationwide program honoring young people
for outstanding acts of volunteerism. Cameron was nominated by Roswell
High School in Roswell, and Cody was nominated by Holy Ghost Catholic
School in Albuquerque. The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, now in
its 21st year, is conducted by Prudential Financial in partnership with
the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP).
Cameron, a senior at Roswell High School, formed a therapy group at her
high school to help girls deal with the pressures of being a teenager.
Cameron herself was feeling very stressed from the demands of schoolwork
and extracurricular activities when she decided to seek the advice of
her school’s mental health counselor. “This visit led to my discovery
that there were probably many other teens at my high school that were
having the same issues,” she said. A therapy group, she thought, might
help address these issues.
Cameron began convening lunch meetings with girls whom she thought would
benefit. As word got out, participation in her meetings increased, with
as many as 30 girls showing up. In addition to dynamic discussions, the
meetings often feature guest speakers on issues such as healthy eating
habits, dating violence, alcohol and substance abuse and suicide
prevention. Cameron also leads her group in an annual drive to collect
necessities for the homeless. Due to the success of her initiative, a
similar group has sprung up for boys at the school, and a local middle
school has followed suit. In addition, Cameron is now advocating for
teens across the country by serving on the National Youth Advisory
Council for School Based Health Centers in Washington, D.C.
Cody, an eighth-grader at Holy Ghost Catholic School, has volunteered as
a group leader and games facilitator over the past three years at his
parish’s summer vacation Bible school camp. “I first got involved with
the camp when I saw a flier at my parish announcing the camp, and how
volunteers were needed to put on the program,” said Cody. “I have come
back to this program every year since it was fun and provided a way to
serve my parish.”
For the first two years, Cody was a group leader, responsible for
guiding an assigned age group to various activities throughout the
weeklong camp. More recently, he has assisted two adults in
administering games for the young campers, such as water-balloon
baseball. He prepares materials for each day’s events, and cleans up
after each session. Cody also has recruited some of his friends to come
and help. “I get a sense of accomplishment and joy from this project,
seeing the smiles on kids’ faces as they have fun,” he said. “It has
shown me the great feeling doing service gives me, and brings me back to
it every year.”
As State Honorees, Cameron and Cody 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 2016.
The program judges also recognized two other New Mexico students as
Distinguished Finalists for their impressive community service
activities. Each will receive an engraved bronze medallion.
These are New Mexico’s Distinguished Finalists for 2016:
Joseph Davis, 18, of Belen, N.M., a senior at Belen High School,
spearheaded a drive two years in a row that has provided at least 100
frozen turkeys and $3,000 in monetary donations for food to support
Thanksgiving dinners at two local food pantries. Joseph, who was asked
in 2014 to lead the National Wild Turkey Federation program Turkey
Hunter’s Care Drive, wrote and distributed a funding letter to local
businesses for donations and price discounts and worked with a partner
in 2015 with the goal of increasing the amount of donations.
Joanna O’Neill, 18, of Los Alamos, N.M., a member of the Los
Alamos County 4-H and a senior at Los Alamos High School, is the
youngest certified member of the National Ski Patrol in Los Alamos,
where she has been volunteering for the past four years. Joanna, who is
a mentor in the Young Adult Patroller program to encourage other youth
to get involved, also administers first aid, transports patients and
enforces ski area rules.
“Prudential commends each of these young volunteers for using their
creativity and compassion to bring positive change to their
communities,” said Prudential Chairman and CEO John Strangfeld. “We hope
their stories inspire others to consider how they can make a difference,
“We are pleased to honor these students not only for their exemplary
acts of service, but for the powerful example they’ve set for their
peers,” said JoAnn Bartoletti, executive director of NASSP.
“Congratulations to each of the 2016 honorees.”
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.
These 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
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 2, 10 of the State Honorees –
five middle level and five high school students – will be named
America’s top youth volunteers of 2016. 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 115,000 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, India, China and Brazil. 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.
The National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) is the
leading organization of and voice for middle level and high school
principals, assistant principals, and school leaders from across the
United States and 35 countries around the world. The association
connects and engages school leaders through advocacy, research,
education, and student programs. NASSP advocates on behalf of all school
leaders to ensure the success of each student and strengthens school
leadership practices through the design and delivery of high quality
professional learning experiences. Reflecting its long-standing
commitment to student leadership development, 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 www.news.prudential.com.
Editors: For full-color pictures of the Spirit of Community Awards
program logo and medallions, click here: http://bit.ly/Xi4oFW
Harold Banks, (973) 802-8974 or (973) 216-4833