|[May 07, 2012]
Two New Mexico Youth Honored for Volunteerism at National Award Ceremony in Washington, D.C.
WASHINGTON --(Business Wire)--
New Mexico's top two youth volunteers of the year, Jerry Hou, 17, of
Albuquerque and Priscilla Duenas, 12, of Rio Rancho, 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 17th 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 Jerry Hou, 17, of Albuquerque (center) and Priscilla Duenas, 12, of Rio Rancho (right) on being named New Mexico's top two youth volunteers for 2012 by The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards. Jerry and Priscilla 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.
Jerry and Priscilla were named the top high school and middle level
youth volunteers in New Mexico 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
Jerry, a junior at Albuquerque Academy, started a community service club
that recruits young musicians to perform at senior centers, hospitals,
facilities for children with disabilities and other venues. One of the
club's biggest events was a concert that raised more than $3,500 to
benefit children impacted by Japan's recent earthquake and tsunami.
Jerry has been playing piano since he was 5 and loves music, so when
thinking about how to satisfy a school community service requirement, he
rounded up 14 young musicians to put on a recital at a local senior
center. The event was so successful that Jerry decided to form a music
club to perform regularly.
After winning the support of his school's community service supervisor,
he began promoting his "Music Connection of New Mexico" through email, a
website, a Facebook (News - Alert) page and newsletters. Soon he had about 100
musicians willing to play at various recitals. As club president, Jerry
finds places to perform, creates programs for the recitals, and
coordinates with local sponsors. For his big "Help Japan Relief
Concert," the club created a brochure, designed and printed T-shirts to
sell, choreographed sound and lighting, and recruited volunteers to
prepare refreshments. More than 50 performers played for an audience of
300 at the event. Since Jerry covered the expenses with a school grant
and a donation from his parents, he was ale to donate all of the
proceeds to an international child relief organization that supplies
provisions and medical supplies in Japan. The concert, he said, "truly
showed that we were all connected in a common goal, and benefited our
world in a way that was bigger than we ever imagined."
Priscilla, a seventh-grader at Lincoln Middle School in Rio Rancho, has
been an enthusiastic volunteer at two food banks, her church and her
school over the past several years. "My grandmother inspired me because
she was willing to work even though she has painful arthritis," she
said. After taking training classes, Priscilla worked at a community
food bank and at a similar operation at her church.
Despite high temperatures and no air conditioning, she packed groceries
for the needy and helped elderly men and women carry boxes of food to
their cars. Priscilla also helped babysit babies and toddlers one Sunday
a month at her church and, during two summers, helped a former teacher
get her classroom ready for a new school year. In addition, she helped
plant a garden at a school. Priscilla definitely plans to continue
volunteering. "I love it," she said. "It makes me feel good!"
"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
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=50264741&lang=en
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