National awards program seeks state's top youth volunteers

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The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards is looking for Rhode Island's top youth volunteers of the year.

Students in grades 5-12 are invited to apply for 2018 Prudential Spirit of Community Awards by Nov. 7 if they have made meaningful contributions to their communities through volunteer service within the past 12 months. The application is available at spirit.prudential.com and www.nassp.org/spirit.

The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, sponsored by Prudential Financial in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), was created in 1995 to recognize the exemplary volunteer work of middle level and high school students. The awards have been granted annually for the past 22 years on the local, state and national level.

“We’ve learned over the past two decades that young people are doing innovative, important work to improve communities at home and abroad,” Prudential Chairman and CEO John Strangfeld said in a statement. “We honor their contributions in the hope that their example will inspire others to consider what they can do to make a difference.”

Rhode Island's top youth volunteers of 2017 were Max Hempe, 18, of Wakefield, who led a campaign to purchase a bullet- and stab- protective vest for a police dog in the Cranston Police Department’s K9 unit, and Haylee Balme, 14, of Coventry, who led her 4-H club in collecting money and donated items to make 100 “blessing bags” for homeless people in West Warwick and Providence.

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