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

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

Honors also bestowed on youth volunteers in Salem and Chester

CONCORD, N.H.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Emma Williams, 17, of Merrimack and Caitlin Shapleigh, 12, of
Londonderry today were named New Hampshire’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. Emma was
nominated by Bishop Guertin High School in Nashua, and Caitlin was
nominated by Londonderry Middle School in Londonderry. 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).

Emma, a senior at Bishop Guertin High School, began organizing an annual
basketball tournament in 2011 to raise money to provide Christmas gifts
for families in need in her community. As a member of her school’s
service group in eighth grade, Emma was challenged by the club’s advisor
to think of ways to raise money for charity. At the time, she was an
avid basketball player, so it didn’t take too long for Emma to propose a
fundraising “Heart to Hoops” basketball tournament.

After obtaining permission to use the school gym for a weekend in
November, Emma reached out to coaches and recruited eight teams, and
then, with the help of her father, lined up referees. The teams all paid
an entrance fee to play in the tournament, and additional money was
raised by selling tickets to spectators, and conducting a raffle and
shooting competitions. Emma also encouraged spectators to bring canned
food to the tournament, which was donated to charity. Emma’s annual
tournaments have raised more than $8,000, enough to brighten the
holidays of 80 families in her area. “My favorite part is the kids,” she
said. “It’s amazing to see young basketball players become excited about
doing something they love, while making a difference in the world.”

Caitlin, a sixth-grader at Londonderry Middle School, resolved to
conduct one volunteer project each month over the course of a year, and
also launched a campaign to persuade other young people to get involved
in volunteering. “My mom has a saying, ‘touch one, touch many,’” said
Caitlin. “She explained that if you help one person, you have no idea
how many other people might be helped in the future by one act of
kindness. It is now my motto, which inspires me when volunteering.”

In August of 2014, Caitlin sat down with a calendar and marked the
volunteer activities she wanted to do each month. These included
collecting canned goods for a food pantry, men’s winter coats for a
church, and more than 100 books for a local library. She also performed
at a senior center with her baton team, made gift bags for veterans, and
stuffed backpacks with donated school supplies for students in need.
Every time she volunteered, Caitlin documented the activity with photos
to share with other young people as part of her “Kids Can Too!”
campaign. In addition, she put together a PowerPoint presentation to
show elementary school children that they can make a difference without
a lot of effort. “I feel really good inside every time I finish a
volunteer project,” Caitlin said. “I want other kids to feel that same

As State Honorees, Emma and Caitlin 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 New Hampshire students as
Distinguished Finalists for their impressive community service
activities. Each will receive an engraved bronze medallion.

These are New Hampshire’s Distinguished Finalists for 2016:

Laura Perrault, 16, of Salem, N.H., a junior at Salem High
School, is the vice president of her school’s Key Club, and in that role
has been instrumental in coordinating a hunger campaign for which more
than 100 families with children on the school’s free lunch program are
provided with a weekend’s supply of food. Laura and other Key Club
officers and members meet weekly to sort and pack the donated food to
provide sustenance from Friday afternoon to Monday morning.

Danielle St. Peter, 14, of Chester, N.H., a member of the Girl
Scouts of the Green and White Mountains and an eighth-grader at Chester
Academy, joined with her Girl Scout troop to help the local food pantry
reorganize and improve their food storage and raise awareness to help
increase food donations. Danielle, who managed the group responsible for
replacing the old pantry shelves with new ones, also helped stock food
for the holidays and attended community organization meetings to promote
year-round food donations.

“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