The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards provides college scholarship money to those students who show an exceptional display of altruism in their communities. This award program has a 15 year tradition and is the largest youth recognition program based solely on community service and volunteerism in the US. To be a qualified applicant, giving back to the community must be essential in the student’s life.
National Prudential award winners receive:
- $1000 for being a State Honoree
- An additional $5000 in college grant money as a National winner
- $5000 to donate to a charity of her/his choice
- A medallion and a trophy
State honorees win $1000, a medallion and an all-expense paid trip to Washington D.C. to take part in national recognition events.
To be eligible, a student must be in grades five through 12 as of November 1 the year s/he applies, has participated in community service that occurred at least partly 12 months prior to the date of application and submits the application to the principal or the head of an officially designated organization by November 1.
The officially designated organizations are the Girl Scouts of America, 4-H Club, American Red Cross, YMCA and affiliates of the HandsOn Network.
Students must display an intense desire for community service and have many hours of community service in order to apply. For example, 2010 National Honoree Alie B. Gorrie, 17, organized a benefit concert to support low-vision research at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She raised $420,000 for the hospital. Country singing sensation Sara Evans performed at the event.
Shannon McNamara, 17, of New Jersey founded a nonprofit organization called SHARE. The organization has created libraries with a total of 21,000 books for three rural schools in Tanzania. McNamara also created an after-school program for Tanzanian girls.
Benjamin Slater, 18, of Texas has raised more than $800,000 for the local hospital over the past seven years by creating an annual kids’ golf tournament called KidSwing. Slater solicited corporate sponsors, recruited local sponsorship and oversaw all the fund-raising, making it one of the hospital’s biggest yearly events.
Therefore, in order to receive educational financial aid as a National Honoree, applicants must think and dream big. Showing up at a local hospital a couple hours a month to volunteer won’t cut it for this award. Students must create, implement and oversee all stages of volunteerism. And they must be able to express all of this on their application.
The future does look bright with the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards. Students who are leaders in community service should apply. Remember to think big and plan big for a chance to win free money for college.
Deadline: November 1