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Awards for Youth Volunteers

Those who give of themselves to help others are usually motivated by something, or someone, who brings great meaning to their lives. A young lady might run in a breast cancer race to honor someone special who has battled the disease. A man might make a donation to a homeless shelter because he once knew the pain of being homeless himself.

Personally, I have been passionate about volunteering because my sister, who is mentally retarded, has taught me the great lesson that there is always someone more needy than myself. But, I think I have been most inspired to volunteer when I hear stories about amazing children and teens who have dedicated themselves to helping others. And many help simply because they feel they should.

Take Brittany Berquist, for instance, an 18-year-old from Norwell, Massachusetts. Along with her brother, Brittany has raised more than $2.5 million dollars worth of phone calling cards and distributed them to soldiers throughout the world so they can connect with their families for free. Brittany raised the money by creating a cell phone recycling program and implementing collection sites in all 50 states and Canada. You can check out her program at Cell Phones for Soldiers.

And 12-year-old Shelby Romero of Hutto, Texas, created and implemented a charity bicycle race and has raised more than $400,000 to support a horse riding therapy program for disabled children. Shelby, a horse lover and rider, was motivated to act when she learned of a friend's child who, despite his diagnosis of cerebral palsy, was able to ride horses at the Ride On Center for Kids. Helping out for Shelby was second nature.

These young people, along with countless others, are doing more to help their fellow man than most adults can only dream about. How can one not be inspired by their stories of selflessness and charity?

Let's applaud these young volunteers by recognizing their efforts with awards like the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards. This awards program, now entering its 16th year, has honored thousands of young Americans for their volunteerism. Honoring these good deeds makes others aware of how our nation's youth are making this world a better place. Every person, both young and old, who hears of their good deeds, can be inspired to do the same.

If you know a young person who is an active volunteer, do us all a favor by encouraging them to apply for The 2010 Prudential Spirit of Community Awards. Who will be named this year? And, who will they inspire?

Prudential Spirit of Community Awards Application and information.

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