Burien Student Wins Prudential Spirit Of Community Award
Burien CHOICE Academy senior Megan Johnson, 18, won a Prudential Spirit of Community Award for serving as the “top role model for community service among Washington’s high school students.”
Megan initiated several programs over the past eight years that raise money to provide homeless people, hospitalized children, and drug-addicted babies with things that make their lives a little easier.
Megan, who has had 26 surgeries to correct a facial disorder, knows the pain of being unaccepted.
â€œI was harassed in school,â€ she said. â€œThe kids made me feel worthless and I was so lonely. So when I saw a video about street people, I could feel their loneliness too.â€
Determined to show the homeless that somebody cared, Megan began making blankets and soliciting donations to buy them personal items. Then, in the following years, she started making blankets for infants born of drug-addicted mothers, and collecting DVDs for five childrenâ€™s hospitals. She also has raised money to help four families get off the streets and into their own homes, and to make a large contribution to Shriners Hospitals, which asked her to become a national patient ambassador. To support her projects, Megan sells hot cider at Christmastime; writes and illustrates childrenâ€™s books; sends letters to corporations; and sells homemade necklaces, ink pens, and silicone wristbands. In addition, her projects have received support from schools, churches, community organizations, a network of 50 individual volunteers, and inmates at a local prison (who knit caps for her to give to the homeless).
â€œMy dream is for others to see that even if you are different, you can make a huge difference,â€ said Megan.
Now in its 15th year, the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards is a nationwide program honoring young people for their commitment to making a difference through their exemplary acts of volunteerism.Â This year 102 state honorees will receive $1,000, an engraved silver medallion and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C.Â While in D.C, the students will tour the capitalâ€™s landmarks, visit their congressional representatives on Capitol Hill and attend a gala awards ceremony where 10 of the nominees will be named National Honorees.Â These honorees will receive an additional $5,000, gold medallions, trophies and $5,000 grants from The Prudential Foundation for the nonprofit, charitable organization of their choice.
The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program is the United States’ largest youth recognition program based exclusively on volunteer community service. The program was created in 1995 by Prudential in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) to honor middle level and high school students for outstanding service to others at the local, state, and national level.
The program’s goals are to applaud young people who already are making a positive difference in their towns and neighborhoods, and to inspire others to think about how they might contribute to their communities. Over the past 15 years, more than 280,000 young Americans have participated in the program, andÂ more than 90,000 of them have been officially recognized for their volunteer work.
Tune in and see if Megan will be amongst the top ten honorees on Monday, May 3 at 12:45pm during a live webcast from Washington D.C.Â To watch live simply visit http://www.visualwebcaster.com/event.asp?id=67402 to sign up.