The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, a nationwide program that honors young people for outstanding acts of volunteerism, has named two students – Skylar Thomas, 17, and Feven Tadele, 12 – D.C. top youth volunteers of 2019.
Thomas and Tadele each will receive $1,000 and an engraved silver medallion. The two students will also be invited to join the top two honorees from 50 U.S. states in early May for four days of national recognition events in Washington, D.C. Ten students will be selected there as America’s top youth volunteers of 2019.
Now in its 24th year, the Prudent Spirit of Community Awards is conducted by Prudential Financial in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP).
Thomas, a high school state honoree, was nominated by Ballou Senior High School where he’s a senior student. Thomas worked as a summer youth camp counselor, taught children from low-income families and helped them acquire skills that would benefit them in school and beyond.
“My mentor helped change my life by being there for me when I wasn’t focused on school, giving me someone to talk to about adolescent issues other than my mother, and continuously preaching that education is power,” said Thomas.
Middle Level State Honoree Feven Tadele was nominated by St. Augustine Catholic School where she’s a seventh-grader. Tadele, a dedicated volunteer, wants to give back to her community in several ways. She said her older sister inspires her to serve others.
“Ever since I was little I have looked up to my sister because I always saw her helping others in some way,” said Feven who finds volunteering rewarding. “It gives me a happy feeling inside.”
Feven, her sister and a friend have also traveled to Ethiopia where they distributed food to needy people and taught English to children, which was especially joyful for her.
“Every time I teach a student, I believe that I am helping prepare that child for the real world and helping them to become great citizens and a great asset to their community,” said Feven.
We're so pleased to announce the 2019 Prudential Spirit of Community State Honorees and Distinguished Finalists! See the full list of honorees and read their remarkable stories of service at https://t.co/8dbnXggjpM. pic.twitter.com/dzNz2vJq3p
— Prudential Spirit (@PruSpirit) February 5, 2019
Two other D.C. students were also recognized by judges as Distinguished Finalists for their “impressive community service activities.” One of them is Anjali Bose, a 16-year-old junior at Georgetown Day School, founded and runs the D.C. chapter of Toybank, an organization that works to improve the cognitive function of children through play.
Another Distinguished Finalist is Lukas Leijon, 18, a senior at School Without Walls High School. Leijon maintained trails on both the Appalachian Trail and auxiliary trails in the Northeast with the Appalachian Mountain Club for three summers.
Prudential CEO Charles Lowrey said these young volunteers have made meaningful contributions to individuals and communities through their service.
“It’s an honor to recognize their great work, and we hope that shining a spotlight on their service inspires others to consider how they might make a difference,” said Lowrey.