Two Virginia Youth Honored for Volunteerism at National Award Ceremony in Washington, D.C.
Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning Pays Tribute to Young Heroes from Sterling and Charlottesville as Part of Four-Day Recognition Events
WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Virginias top two youth volunteers of the year, Abby Miller, 14, of Sterling and Logan Ratzlaff, 10, of Charlottesville, were honored in the nations capital last night for their outstanding volunteer service during the presentation of The 2012 Prudential Spirit of Community Awards. The two young people along with 100 other top youth volunteers from across the country received $1,000 awards as well as personal congratulations from New York Giants quarterback and Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning at the 17th annual award ceremony and gala dinner reception, held at the Smithsonians National Museum of Natural History.
New York Giants quarterback and 2012 Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning congratulates Abby Miller, 14, of Sterling (center) and Logan Ratzlaff, 10, of Charlottesville (right) on being named Virginia's top two youth volunteers for 2012 by The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards. Abby and Logan were honored at a ceremony on Sunday, May 6 at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History, where they each received a $1,000 award.
Abby and Logan were named the top high school and middle level youth volunteers in Virginia in February. In addition to their cash awards, they received engraved silver medallions and an all-expense-paid trip with their parents to Washington, D.C., for this weeks recognition events.
Abby, a freshman at Potomac Falls High School, has helped raise a significant amount of money for pediatric cancer research with her guitar and voice, driven by her close relationship with a little girl who was diagnosed with neuroblastoma. As soon as I met Taylor Love, I fell in love&literally! said Abby. We instantly had a bond and I promised her that we would fight cancer together and we would never give up. Abby got the idea for her fundraising from a movie about a boy who played his guitar on city streets to earn money. She has a passion for music, so she began performing outside of stores, train stations, and other public places to collect donations for cancer research.
Since then, Abby has also played her music in malls, hospitals, convention centers, and in elementary and middle schools from Virginia to New York. In addition, she has posted several videos on YouTube, which have inspired a large number of donations to Taylors website and motivated young people in other countries to join her cause. The money that Abby has helped raise is being used to develop new treatments for neuroblastoma, a disease that does not afflict enough people to warrant much attention from major drug companies. Making a difference while doing something I love, for someone I love, is the best feeling in the world, said Abby.
Logan, a fifth-grader at Paul H. Cale Elementary School, spearheaded an effort to build a well that will give 300 people in an Ethiopian village access to clean water. When Logan was in third grade, his teacher showed a video about people in the world who do not have clean water to drink. Logan went home to speak with his mother. I told her I had a big idea, said Logan. I decided I wanted to raise enough money to build a well for some community in the world. We take for granted all that we have in this country, while some people are dying because they dont have enough resources.
With his mothers encouragement, Logan shared the idea with his classmates, many of whom were willing to help. The group decided to focus its efforts on raising money for Charity: Water, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to bring safe drinking water to developing nations. Logan set as his goal $5,000, the amount needed to build one well. After a presentation to get his principals permission, Logan and his team began fundraising by organizing a lemonade stand, writing letters and emails to friends, family and local businesses, hosting a bake sale and soliciting support from a local church. The effort continued in fourth grade with a school-wide quarter drive and other projects. One year after Logans idea was born, he and his supporters unveiled a check at an Earth Day assembly for $6,073. When I think how some kids have to walk for hours to get water for their family dirty water that makes them sick I realize how lucky I am, said Logan.
Through their extraordinary acts of volunteerism, these students are powerful examples of the way one young person can make a big impact, said John R. Strangfeld, chairman and CEO of Prudential Financial, Inc. (PRU) We are proud to honor them for their achievements, and hope their stories inspire others to consider how they, too, can make a difference.
More than 26,000 young people participated in the 2012 awards program last fall through schools, Girl Scout councils, county 4-H organizations, American Red Cross chapters, YMCAs and affiliates of the HandsOn Network. The top middle level and high school applicants in each state were selected in February, and flown to Washington this week with their parents for four days of special recognition events.
Conducted in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards were created 17 years ago by Prudential Financial to encourage youth volunteerism and to identify and reward young role models. Since then, the program has honored more than 100,000 young volunteers at the local, state and national level.
These young people have demonstrated remarkable leadership, selflessness and compassion, and they set a fine example for thousands of other students across the U.S. who want to make a difference, said Ken Griffith, president of NASSP. The actions of these young volunteers exemplify the best of what Americas youth have to offer.
NASSP (National Association of Secondary School Principals) is the leading organization of and national voice for middle level and high school principals, assistant principals, and all school leaders from across the United States and more than 45 countries around the world. The association provides research-based professional development and resources, networking, and advocacy to build the capacity of middle level and high school leaders to continually improve student performance. Reflecting its longstanding commitment to student leadership development as well, NASSP administers the National Honor Society", National Junior Honor Society®, National Elementary Honor Society®, and National Association of Student Councils®. For more information about NASSP, located in Reston, VA, visit www.nassp.org.
Prudential Financial, Inc., a financial services leader, has operations in the United States, Asia, Europe, and Latin America. Prudentials diverse and talented employees are committed to helping individual and institutional customers grow and protect their wealth through a variety of products and services, including life insurance, annuities, retirement-related services, mutual funds and investment management. In the U.S., Prudentials iconic Rock symbol has stood for strength, stability, expertise and innovation for more than a century. For more information, please visit http://www.news.prudential.com/
[Editors: Full-color pictures of the Spirit of Community Awards program logo and medallions are available at http://spirit.prudential.com.]
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Source: Prudential FinancialCopyright Business Wire 2012