Three Episcopal school students were among those honored for volunteerism at the 12th annual Prudential Spirit of Community Awards ceremony and gala dinner reception held May 6 at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.
Anna DeSanctis, an eighth-grader at Holy Spirit Episcopal School, in Houston, Texas; Ebony Archie, an eighth-grader at St. Andrews Episcopal School in Ridgeland, Mississippi; and Creighton Boggs, a seventh-grader at Heathwood Hall Episcopal School, in Columbia, South Carolina -- along with 99 other youth volunteers from across the country -- received $1,000 awards as well as personal congratulations from Indianapolis Colts quarterback and Super Bowl MVP Peyton Manning.
DeSanctis, 13, was recognized for raising more than $22,000 to create libraries at four orphanages in the region of China where she was born. She had the added distinction of being named one of America's top 10 youth volunteers and received an additional $5,000 award, gold medallion, crystal trophy for the organization that nominated her, and a $5,000 grant from the Prudential Foundation to charities of her choice.
Archie, 13, is a member of the Girl Scout Council of Middle Mississippi. She was honored for volunteering as a tutor with her church's after-school program that she started when her church was serving as a shelter for victims of Hurricane Katrina.
Every day from October through May, Archie went to the church after school to help children in kindergarten through fifth grade with their homework assignments, often researching topics in advance. She said several of the students reported improvement in their grades and attitude toward homework.
Boggs, 13, received her award for her yearly "All 4 Paws" birthday parties that have collected an SUV-full of cleaning and bedding supplies for a local shelter and more than $250 for shelter programs. Guests of her birthday parties are asked to bring items on a wish list from animal shelter officials instead of traditional presents.
The Prudential Spirit of Community Award, in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), was created by Prudential Financial, Inc. to encourage youth volunteerism and to identify and reward young role models. Since its inception, the program has honored more than 75,000 young volunteers at the local, state and national level.
All three schools are members of the National Association of Episcopal Schools (NAES).