For extraordinary efforts in serving others through volunteerism, 10 middle and high school students from across the country were named America's top 10 youth volunteers for 2006.
Ranging in age from 11 to 18, the National Honorees in The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards received personal awards of $5,000, plus $5,000 grants for the charities of their choice. Among the winners were:
• Evan Alicuben, 17, of Hilo, Hawaii, who spearheaded a project that placed "personal emergency dialers" in the homes of nearly 50 senior citizens in his community, to enable them to call for help quickly and easily in case of emergency;
• Ellie Ambrose, 12, of Nashville, Tenn., who organized an annual carnival and a 5K race that together have raised more than $40,000 over the past two years for sick and disadvantaged children in Africa;
• Alexander Lin, 13, of Westerly, R.I., who led a student community service group in a multifaceted project to reduce the adverse environmental impact of discarded consumer electronics-or "e-waste"-through recycling, public education and legislation;
• Savannah Walters, 13, of Odessa, Fla., who is waging an extensive, multistate campaign called Pump 'em Up to conserve energy resources and reduce pollution by urging drivers to keep their tires property inflated and thereby burn less gasoline; and
• Ajay Mangal, 18, of Pascagoula, Miss., who lost nearly all of his possessions when Hurricane Katrina flooded his coastal city, yet devoted himself to distributing emergency supplies to other victims immediately after the storm, and helped many families clean out their homes in the following weeks and months.
Other honorees made significant contributions to their communities by building a radio station and creating "barn quilts" to boost tourism. Still others founded a successful inner-city service organization for young people, worked to keep lead-tainted toys off of store shelves and started a nonprofit foundation that has collected and distributed personal-care products and other items to needy kids in the local community and around the world.
Conducted in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals, The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards were created to encourage youth volunteerism and to identify and reward young role models. For more information about the awards and this year's honorees, visit www.prudential.com/spirit.
Ten student volunteers have turned dedication into results, improving their communities and the world at large.