Delaware’s Top Two Youth Volunteers Selected in 21st Annual National Awards Program

Wilmington and Delmar students earn $1,000 awards, engraved
medallions and trip to nation’s capital

Honors also bestowed on youth volunteers in Newark and Wilmington

DOVER, Del.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Micah Freer, 18, of Wilmington and Will Kenney, 13, of Delmar today were
named Delaware’s top two youth volunteers of 2016 by The Prudential
Spirit of Community Awards, a nationwide program honoring young people
for outstanding acts of volunteerism. Micah was nominated by Mount
Sophia Academy in Newark, and Will was nominated by Millsboro Middle
School in Millsboro. The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, now in
its 21st year, is conducted by Prudential Financial in partnership with
the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP).

Micah, a senior at Mount Sophia Academy, spearheaded a yearlong effort
to build a pavilion to be used by church, school and community groups,
and by families and individuals who hike, bike and jog at an adjacent
state park. In search of a project that would have a lasting impact on
his community, Micah brainstormed with officials at his church and came
up with the idea of building a pavilion where people could meet, sit and
talk. At first, Micah questioned whether the project might be too large
an undertaking for a teen. But he decided to go ahead after considering
how many people could benefit from it.

To begin, Micah drew up designs of the pavilion and began applying for
permits from the city. He recruited volunteer engineers to review and
give feedback on his plans, asked professional drafters to make
blueprints, and consulted construction experts to ensure that the
structure would be built correctly. Then Micah started fundraising,
writing letters to individuals and businesses seeking money, materials
and discounts. When it was time to begin construction, Micah got
hands-on help from 50 volunteers, including church members, Boy Scouts,
friends and family. The total cost of building the 18-by-24-foot
pavilion was a little over $15,000. “The pavilion was made with steel
and quality materials, so it will last for decades,” said Micah. “Every
time I see it being used, it brings a smile to my face.”

Will, an eighth-grader at Millsboro Middle School, organized two
carnivals that raised more than $15,000 to help fund medical research
and benefit patients who have Sturge-Weber syndrome, a rare neurological
disorder. A little girl he knows who has the disease inspired Will’s
project. “I decided to have a carnival with activities for all ages so
that she could enjoy the fun,” he said. After the first “Will’s Carnival
for a Cause” in August 2014 was a success, Will was more determined than
ever to raise money and the public’s awareness of Sturge-Weber with a
more elaborate carnival.

For his second carnival last September, Will gathered a core group of
seven volunteers to help him plan. As chairman of the event, he
organized monthly meetings, wrote emails and letters soliciting
donations for game prizes and a silent auction, asked businesses to
donate food and other items, and recruited fellow football players to
help with logistics. In addition to the auction and 23 games, the event
included three rides, a petting zoo, food and refreshments, a “dunking
booth” featuring football coaches and a county councilman, and an
appearance by Miss Delaware. To help people understand more about
Sturge-Weber syndrome, Will distributed literature at the carnival and
posted information on social media. Most of all, the experience taught
him the value of teamwork, said Will. “One person cannot move a
mountain, but a village can,” he said.

As State Honorees, Micah and Will each will receive $1,000, an engraved
silver medallion and an all-expense-paid trip in early May to
Washington, D.C., where they 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 2016.

Distinguished Finalists

The program judges also recognized two other Delaware students as
Distinguished Finalists for their impressive community service
activities. Each will receive an engraved bronze medallion.

These are Delaware’s Distinguished Finalists for 2016:

Jayna Lennon, 17, of Newark, Del., a senior at The Charter School
of Wilmington, recruited and led a team of family and friends to an
almost $9,000 fundraising tally to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma
Society. Jayna, who was one of 12 teens accepted into the Leukemia and
Lymphoma Society’s Student of the Year Campaign, had six weeks to put
together her team, create fundraising materials, build a website and
secure donations to support the program.

Jane Lyons, 15, of Wilmington, Del., a freshman at Ursuline
Academy, co-founded “Youth Overcoming Obstacles” to help improve the
lives of teens resettling into society after incarceration, and to
reduce recidivism. Jane, who co-founded the program with her brother,
has collected and donated business clothing appropriate for job
interviews, organized a book drive and a Christmas stocking project, and
raised $9,000 to support the project through events including a “Guest
Ice-Cream Scooper Night,” “Guest Bartender Night” and “Freedom 5K Race.”

“Prudential commends each of these young volunteers for using their
creativity and compassion to bring positive change to their
communities,” said Prudential Chairman and CEO John Strangfeld. “We hope
their stories inspire others to consider how they can make a difference,

“We are pleased to honor these students not only for their exemplary
acts of service, but for the powerful example they’ve set for their
peers,” said JoAnn Bartoletti, executive director of NASSP.
“Congratulations to each of the 2016 honorees.”

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 HandsOn Network affiliates, 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

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 2, 10 of the State Honorees –
five middle level and five high school students – will be named
America’s top youth volunteers of 2016. These National Honorees will
receive additional $5,000 awards, gold medallions, crystal trophies and
$5,000 grants from The Prudential Foundation for nonprofit charitable
organizations of their choice.

Since the program began in 1995, more than 115,000 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 on behalf of President Barack Obama.

For information on all of this year’s Prudential Spirit of Community
State Honorees and Distinguished Finalists, visit


The National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) is the
leading organization of and voice for middle level and high school
principals, assistant principals, and school leaders from across the
United States and 35 countries around the world. The association
connects and engages school leaders through advocacy, research,
education, and student programs. NASSP advocates on behalf of all school
leaders to ensure the success of each student and strengthens school
leadership practices through the design and delivery of high quality
professional learning experiences. 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 Association of Student Councils.
For more information about NASSP, located in Reston, VA, visit

About Prudential Financial

Prudential Financial, Inc. (NYSE: PRU), a financial services leader, has
operations in the United States, Asia, Europe, and Latin America.
Prudential’s diverse and talented employees are committed to helping
individual and institutional customers grow and protect their wealth
through a variety of products and services, including life insurance,
annuities, retirement-related services, mutual funds and investment
management. In the U.S., Prudential’s iconic Rock symbol has stood for
strength, stability, expertise and innovation for more than a century.
For more information, please visit

Editors: For full-color pictures of the Spirit of Community Awards
program logo and medallions, click here:


Prudential Financial
Harold Banks, (973) 802-8974 or (973) 216-4833