Lilliana Tracy, age 11 of Bellevue, was recently named one of Iowa's top two youth volunteers of 2020 by The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, a nationwide program honoring young people for outstanding acts of volunteerism.
As a State Honoree, Tracy will receive $1,000, an engraved silver medallion and an all-expense-paid trip in early May to Washington, D.C., where she 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 2020.
The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, now in its 25th year, is conducted by Prudential Financial in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP).
Tracy, honored at the Middle Level, was nominated by the staff at Marquette Catholic Schools in Bellevue.
Lilliana, a sixth-grader at Marquette Catholic Schools, makes regular visits to a local nursing home to cheer up residents and make them feel a little less lonely. Every Christmas, there’s a Christmas tree in her community with the names of people confined to their homes and nursing-home residents. In 2017, Lilliana picked the name of a woman at Mill Valley Nursing Home and visited her throughout the holiday season. “But I wanted to visit her more than just during the Christmas season,” she said, “so I have been visiting her every other month for the last two years.” Lilliana enjoyed the visits so much that she selected the name of another woman at the nursing home the following year, and now visits her as well.
During her visits, Lilliana chats with her new friends, plays games such as Tic-Tac-Toe and Hangman, watches Chicago Cubs baseball games on TV, and plays songs for them on her trumpet. Sometimes she brings her little sister with her. “Now she wants to go with me all the time,” said Lilliana. It’s difficult finding the time outside of school and extracurricular activities for her visits, but “I can’t even imagine what it would be like to be lonely,” she said. “It is a joy for them to get visitors, and it is a joy for me to see them happy.”
The program judges also recognized four other Iowa students as Distinguished Finalists for their impressive community service activities. Each will receive an engraved bronze medallion.
About The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards
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 Points of Light Global Network members, 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.
While in Washington, D.C., the 102 State Honorees – one middle level and one high school student from each state and the District of Columbia – will tour the capital’s landmarks, meet top youth volunteers from other parts of the world, attend a gala awards ceremony at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, and visit their congressional representatives on Capitol Hill. On May 4, 10 of the State Honorees – five middle level and five high school students – will be named America’s top youth volunteers of 2020.
These National Honorees will receive additional $5,000 scholarships, gold medallions, crystal trophies and $5,000 grants from Prudential for nonprofit charitable organizations of their choice.
Since the program began in 1995, more than 130,000 young volunteers have been honored at the local, state and national level. The program also is conducted by Prudential subsidiaries in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Ireland, India, China and Brazil. In addition to granting its own awards, The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program also distributes President’s Volunteer Service Awards to qualifying Local Honorees.
The National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) is the leading organization of and voice for principals and other school leaders across the United States. NASSP seeks to transform education through school leadership, recognizing that the fulfillment of each student’s potential relies on great leaders in every school committed to the success of each student. Reflecting its long-standing commitment to student leadership development, NASSP administers the National Honor Society, National Junior Honor Society, National Elementary Honor Society, and National Student Council. Learn more at www.nassp.org