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

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

Honors also bestowed on youth volunteers in Covington, Moreauville,
New Orleans and Mandeville

BATON ROUGE, La.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Stanley Celestine, 16, of Cottonport and Ashini Modi, 12, of Shreveport
today were named Louisiana’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. Stanley was nominated
by Louisiana School for the Agricultural Sciences in Bunkie, and Ashini
was nominated by Caddo Parish 4-H in Shreveport. 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).

Stanley, a junior at Louisiana School for the Agricultural Sciences, is
trying to decrease the incidence of childhood obesity and improve the
general health of all citizens in his community through an initiative he
calls “Healthy Avoyelles.” Three years ago, Stanley formed a nonprofit
mentoring program to help elementary students improve their science,
technology and math skills. During that project, Stanley noticed that
many young children in the rural, economically depressed Avoyelles
Parish were obese and had serious health problems often associated with
being overweight. “Obese children have a higher percentage of becoming
obese adults,” said Stanley. “So I set out to educate families about the
health risks associated with child obesity, the many causes, and how to
create a healthier lifestyle.”

After researching the subject of obesity, Stanley began planning events
and applying for grants to finance his endeavors. The majority of people
in his community, he said, are the working poor who often do not have
easy access to health services. So Stanley organized a back-to-school
festival where families could receive basic health services and
information about healthy living. He also started a health and wellness
walk to promote exercise, secured a grant to teach healthy cooking to
500 adults, and is planning a youth-run community compost garden to
provide better nutrition. Stanley estimates that his health initiative
has affected more than 2,000 children to date.

Ashini, a sixth-grader at Caddo Parish Middle Magnet School, established
a 1,500-book library at a local homeless shelter so that the children
there could “explore, imagine and find the beauty of reading.” With the
help of family and friends, Ashini collected children’s books in her
community from individuals, schools, public libraries, a thrift shop and
a bookstore. They all went into a room at the Providence House shelter
that is now called the “Reading Rainforest,” decorated by Ashini and her
family with handmade trees and tropical animals and reptiles.

To further encourage kids at the shelter to use the new library, Ashini
started a story time at the facility. Several times a year, usually on a
holiday, she reads a book to the children and supervises a related craft
project. “Founding the library program and story time has given me a
profound joy of giving,” said Ashini. “I sincerely hope that every child
at Providence House will utilize the library to develop a love of books,
which can open many new doors and possibilities for them.”

As State Honorees, Stanley and Ashini 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 four other Louisiana students as
Distinguished Finalists for their impressive community service
activities. Each will receive an engraved bronze medallion.

These are Louisiana’s Distinguished Finalists for 2016:

Beverly Brown, 17, of Covington, La., a senior at St. Scholastica
Academy, has taught a finance and entrepreneurship course to 300
children ages 9-14 attending school in a low income neighborhood and at
an at-risk youth activity center. Beverly, who created a curriculum to
teach the children about supply and demand, fiscal responsibility,
marketing, management and charitable giving, helped the children create
and run a lemonade stand, and make and sell products at a holiday market.

Luke Corona, 14, of New Iberia, La., an eighth-grader at Catholic
High, has been volunteering at a local nursing home’s bingo game once a
month for the past four years as part of “Senior Servers,” a group he
started with his friends. Luke and his friends create a theme for the
monthly games – for example, handing out treat bags for Halloween and
handmade cards for Mother and Father’s Day – and also donated iPods and
iTunes cards that the home uses to engage and calm residents with

Anna Bell Hines, 17, of New Orleans, La., a senior at Benjamin
Franklin High School, has served for the past three years as a youth
ambassador for the Louisiana chapter of the U.S. Green Building
Council’s Green School Challenge, and in that role has visited local
schools to educate students about the environment and sustainability.
Anna Bell also helped her chapter host the Greenbuild International
Conference and Expo, was a keynote speaker at The Green Schools’
National Conference in Virginia and worked with the council on a
promotional video.

Sean Noel, 14, of Mandeville, La., an eighth-grader at St. Paul’s
School in Covington, created a project to honor local veterans called
“St. Tammany Remembers,” and created a website to archive the names and
contact information of all local veterans so they can be invited to and
participate in veterans’ events. Sean, who has collected a list of 400
local veterans, has also helped to collect and distribute 4,500 care
packages for troops overseas, organized color honor guard services for
funerals of local veterans, and has spoken at numerous veterans’ events.

“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 http://spirit.prudential.com
or www.nassp.org/spirit.


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 www.nassp.org.

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 www.news.prudential.com.

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