Top Youth Volunteers in Each State Selected in National Awards Program

Some helped the homeless.

Others created programs and opportunities for people with disabilities. Many collected books to ensure that all kids can develop a love of reading.

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Those are just some of the stories of the 102 youth volunteers — two from each state and the District of Columbia — who have been named State Honorees by the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, a nationwide program honoring students in grades 5-12 for outstanding volunteer service. The awards program, now in its 21st year, is conducted by Prudential Financial in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals.

Each of the 102 State Honorees will receive $1,000, an engraved silver medallion, and an all-expense-paid trip in early May to Washington, D.C., for four days of national recognition events. During the trip, 10 of them will be named America’s top youth volunteers of 2016.

In addition to the State Honorees, the program’s judges recognized 234 students nationwide as Distinguished Finalists for their impressive community service activities. Each will receive an engraved bronze medallion.

More than 500 other applicants were awarded Certificates of Excellence for their volunteer work.

“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, too.”

“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.”

At least three of the recognized students are African American:

Damacia Howard, 12, of Union City, Ga., a seventh-grader at Georgia Cyber Academy, has collected thousands of books in her community for students in Africa, working with a national charity called Books for Africa.

Jameshia Attaway, 12, of Indianola, Miss., a sixth-grader at Carver Elementary School, celebrates her birthday each year by throwing a party for children in need and giving them gifts she collects from businesses, local organizations, and community members.

My’Kah Knowlin, 14, of Lincoln, Neb., a freshman at Lincoln High School, formed a network of student role models and mentors at nine schools throughout Nebraska to help stop bullying and support victims.

Learn about the volunteer activities of each State Honoree and Distinguished Finalist at