On May 5th, two New Mexico students received awards for their volunteer services. The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards gave Brianna Swinderman, from Rio Rancho, and Joseph Lee Estrada, from Velarde, titles as New Mexico's top youth volunteers for 2013 and as State Honorees.
A judging panel reviewed 5000 Local Honorees, and selected 102 to receive State Honorees titles. The panel chose these Honorees based on their personal growth, initiatives, impacts, and efforts.
State Honorees received $1000 dollars, silver medallions, and paid trips to Washington, D.C. for national recognition events. They also attended a gala awards ceremony at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History, visited congressional representatives, and met the top youth volunteers from around the world.
The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards recognized ten of the State Honorees as National Honorees who received gold medallions, crystal trophies, additional $5000 awards, and $5000 grants, from The Prudential Foundation, that went to nonprofit, aid-giving organizations that the Honorees chose.
[Additional commentary from Nick Brown: What Sara failed to mention was that these teenagers got to shake hands with major Hollywood movie star Kevin Spacey. Spacey, you’ll notice from the photo, is even wearing a suit for the ceremony—it’s not like he just walked up there in a bathrobe and a bag of chips, demanding a $2,500 check. He took this thing seriously.
It reminds me of the time I got straight A’s in school; my parents were so pleased they hired Lee Majors to come to our house and congratulate me in person. Of course that never happened, and I never got straight A’s, either, but the story puts some perspective on how these kids must have felt shaking hands with Kevin Spacey. Spacey also recently photobombed a woman in Boston.]