Georgetown Day School and Alice Deal Middle School students earn
$1,000 awards, engraved medallions and invitation to national events
WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Gavrielle Kamen, 16, and Amelia Myre, 13, today were named the District
of Columbia’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. Gavrielle was nominated by Georgetown
Day School, and Amelia was nominated by Alice Deal Middle School. 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).
Gavrielle, a junior at Georgetown Day School, organizes weekly
video-conferencing sessions at her school that bring together teens from
the United States, Middle East and southern Asia to talk about their
experiences and perspectives, in an effort to promote peace and
understanding in a troubled part of the world. Growing up with a mother
who is a psychologist, Gavrielle says she learned the importance of
honest, sincere communication in resolving human conflict.
“Understanding and communication are the most primary basis for human
change,” she said. “The best way to go about creating change is for
people to learn how to respect, trust and communicate.”
Last summer, Gavrielle participated in a conflict-resolution forum with
teens from several Middle Eastern countries. She returned home
determined to apply what she had learned and continue to build bridges
among young people in countries with deep animosities. “I decided that
the way I could help the most in my community was to have as many people
as possible speak face to face with other humans their age in different
regions involved in the Middle East conflict,” she said. Using
large-screen Skype technology, she began hosting weekly forums involving
teens from Israel, Palestine, Jordan, Egypt, Afghanistan, Pakistan and
India, as well as students at her school. Her sessions began with over
60 American participants and more than 200 from overseas. “Together, we
are learning how to empathize, and what it means to obtain peace and
justice,” she said.
Amelia, an eighth-grader at Alice Deal Middle School, launched an
initiative with her sister to support wounded veterans by raising money
and focusing attention on their sacrifices. Amelia, who began
volunteering at Walter Reed Bethesda National Military Medical Center at
age 9, purchased gifts one year for the patients there and handed them
out during a Christmas party. At the event, she saw a quadruple amputee
receive a specialized “track chair” from a nonprofit organization, and
realized she could do more to help America’s wounded warriors.
Amelia and her sister decided to launch an initiative to help more
veterans get track chairs. They invited some of the amputees they had
met at Walter Reed to come to their school to share their stories, and
persuaded a local television station to cover the visit. Then Amelia
hosted a car wash outside of her school that raised $1,000. At first, “I
didn’t know much about amputees and specially designed chairs for them,”
she said, “but now I am determined to help in every way I can.”
As State Honorees, Gavrielle and Amelia each will receive $1,000, an
engraved silver medallion and an invitation to four days of national
recognition events in Washington, D.C., where they will join the top two
honorees from all 50 states. During the trip, 10 students will be named
America’s top youth volunteers of 2016.
The program judges also recognized two other District of Columbia
students as Distinguished Finalists for their impressive community
service activities. Each will receive an engraved bronze medallion.
These are the District of Columbia’s Distinguished Finalists for 2016:
Kali Thompson, 16, a junior at McKinley Technology High School,
volunteers regularly as an assistant to the chef at the DC Central
Kitchen, an organization that serves homeless people in the community.
Kali, who began volunteering in 2014 doing more basic tasks like peeling
vegetables, has graduated to assisting with cooking duties and
supervising other volunteers.
Zachary Ware, 12, a seventh-grader at Washington Latin Public
Charter School, spent the summer of 2015 riding 3,000 miles on his
bicycle as a participant in the “Ride to Freedom,” a charity bike ride
to support people in China who practice the ancient meditative practice
known as Falun Gong. Zachary worked with other riders to raise awareness
by handing out cards, participating in press conferences and visiting
the state capitols in each state they rode through.
“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