The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards Honors Two Local Students

Amanda Yang, 16, of Dresher and Lorelei McIntyre-Brewer, 11, of Duncannon were named Pennsylvania's top two youth volunteers of 2017 by The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, a nationwide program honoring young people for outstanding acts of volunteerism. As State Honorees, Amanda and Lorelei each will receive $1,000, an engraved silver medallion and an all-expense-paid trip in early May to Washington, D.C., where they will join the top two honorees from each of the other states and the District of Columbia for four days of national recognition events. During the trip, 10 students will be named America’s top youth volunteers of 2017.

The program judges also recognized eight other Pennsylvania students as Distinguished Finalists for their impressive community service activities. Each will receive an engraved bronze medallion. Two students are from the Pittsburgh area.

Ryan Poisker, 12, of Pittsburgh, Pa., a seventh-grader at Ingomar Middle School, led an initiative to create a Purple Up for Military Kids program at his school, working with his friends to make materials and raise awareness about the sacrifices of military children. Ryan, whose father is in the military, started his effort so other military kids wouldn’t have to deal with their emotions alone; since starting his program, school counselors have been able to connect kids from military families with one another.

Ethan Woodfill, 17, of Pittsburgh, Pa., a junior at Avonworth High School, is founder and president of the Avonworth-Area Do Something Club, a service group for students in grades 6-12 that has completed nearly 30 volunteer projects in almost four years. Ethan, who typically dedicates 5-10 hours a week to club activities, has also worked with the national Do Something organization to engage young people, locally and on a national level, in a trash scavenger hunt campaign that he came up with.

“Prudential is honored to recognize these young volunteers for their exemplary service,” said Prudential Chairman and CEO John Strangfeld. “We hope that their stories inspire others to consider how they, too, can volunteer their time and talents to improve their communities.”

The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards represents the United States’ largest youth recognition program based solely on volunteer service. All public and private middle level and high schools in the country, as well as all Girl Scout councils, county 4-H organizations, American Red Cross chapters, YMCAs and HandsOn Network affiliates, were eligible to select a student or member for a local Prudential Spirit of Community Award. These Local Honorees were then reviewed by an independent judging panel, which selected State Honorees and Distinguished Finalists based on criteria including personal initiative, effort, impact and personal growth.