A sixth-grader at Expeditionary Learning Middle School in Syracuse was among 10 students named America’s top youth volunteers of 2019 by The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards. The national program is sponsored by Prudential Financial in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP).
Samaia A. Goodrich, 11, of Syracuse was honored for organizing projects in her community to encourage inner-city youth to make a difference. Her efforts involved raising money to buy Christmas presents, clothes and household goods for families who moved from Puerto Rico to Syracuse after Hurricane Maria devastated their homeland.
Goodrich and the others were honored at the 24th annual awards ceremony at Union Station in Washington, D.C., part of a four-day celebration that included a gala at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History.
National winners were selected from a field of more than 29,000 middle school and high school youth volunteers across the nation. The field was narrowed to 102 state honorees, who were evaluated based on initiative, effort, impact, and the personal growth demonstrated in the course of their volunteer service.
National honorees each received $5,000 personal awards, engraved gold medallions, crystal trophies for their schools, and $5,000 grants from The Prudential Foundation for charities of their choice. Each state honoree received a $1,000 award.
The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards was created in 1995 to identify and recognize young people for outstanding volunteer service and to inspire others to volunteer. In the past 24 years, the program has honored more than 125,000 young volunteers at the local, state and national level.