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Alumni

Since 1996, more than 2,300 middle and high school students have gathered in Washington, D.C. to be celebrated as their states' top youth volunteers. These honorees, now ranging in age from pre-teens to their early 40s, are the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards alumni network. Learn about the impact they made in their communities in the alumni archives.


Are you a past State Honoree? Join the Spirit alumni Facebook group and LinkedIn group

To update your contact information with The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, contact us at spirit@prudential.com.

Alumni updates

Thanks to all who came out to our summer meetup for local alumni in Washington, D.C.

Pictured, L-R: Alisha Zhao (OR 2016), Evan Barnard (GA 2015), Sydney Kamen (DC 2014), Amelia Myre (DC 2016), Jordan Campbell (KY 2009), Charlton Boyd (2010 LA), and Kevwe Ajueyitsi (DC 2007).

Alumni also got together for a fall happy hour in New York City and spring  lunch in Chicago.

Pictured above, L-R: Brian McPartland (NY 2006), Charlton Boyd (LA 2010), Kyle Manske (WI 2010), Rishi Sethi (IL 2007), Lindsey Buxman (CO 2011), and Kendall Ciesemier (IL 2007). Pictured below, L-R: Esha Mishra (IN 2016), Glennita Williams (IL 2011), Alison Mansfield (IN 2008), and Derek Swierczek (IL 1997).

Past honorees: Stay tuned for news on future meetups!

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Congratulations to 2011 North Dakota State Honoree Cara Mund, who was named Miss America 2018. Her pageant platform: the Make-A-Wish fashion show fundraiser she started when she was 14. The Washington Post reports that Cara is the first North Dakota contestant in the pageant’s nearly 100-year history to earn the national title.

Alumni in the community

Clockwise from top left: N’Jhari Jackson (FL 2015) and Chase Hartman (FL 2017) linked up for a book donation to the Tampa-area children’s home Joshua House. ● Random Acts of Kindness-Louisville founder Andrew Dunn (2017 KY) raised $2,000 toward the creation of specialized Duffily Bag sleeping bags for the homeless, designed by Emily Duffy (2017 Ireland). ● 2017 honorees Carlie Steele (OR) and Micah Pinson (TX) met for lunch and shared updates on their projects. ● Social marketing firm director Amanda Sheckman (FL 2001) presented to student leaders at a NASSP LEAD conference about building a personal brand. ● Shelter-animal supporters Sarah Coutu (RI 2016) and Grace Preston (PA 2016) traveled with their families for a summer visit.

Planning a get-together with your Prudential Spirit of Community friends? Let us know at spirit@prudential.com – we’ll send you an alumni T-shirt!

Alumni advisory board

(Pictured from left to right)

We are pleased to introduce the 2018-2019 Spirit of Community Alumni Advisory Board.

Meghan Pasricha (Delaware, 2004)

Meghan was honored in 2004 for starting an anti-tobacco club at her school, which then developed into a full-blown campaign to educate young people across the country and overseas about the hazards of smoking. Today, Meghan is a principal with a New York City energy investment firm. While studying at Harvard, she partnered with her sister to create “Global Youth HELP.” The nonprofit trains young people around the world to become leaders in their communities through service, with the goal of helping kids turn their passions into action. Today, more than 20,000 young people have benefited from their health, education and leadership programs.

Samantha Quist (Kansas, 1999)

Samantha was honored in 1999 for establishing a children's library of more than 1,500 books and activities for the Battered Women Task Force (BWTF), an organization that provides secure housing for women and children who have been abused or are threatened by domestic violence. Today, Samantha is the founder of Lighthouse, developing project-based learning programs to help high school students figure out what they want to do with their lives. She’s also co-founder and director of the Founder Friendly Labs startup accelerator in Palo Alto, California. The Stanford graduate recently spent two years as executive director of Technovation. That nonprofit taught girls in more than 60 countries how to solve real-world problems through technology.

Joshua Williams (Florida, 2013)

Joshua was honored in 2013 for creating a foundation that had, at the time, distributed more than 475,000 pounds of food to families in need throughout South Florida. Now a college freshman at New York University, Joshua continues to serve as president and chief change maker for the Joshua’s Heart Foundation. The foundation now includes three youth-led chapters in Florida and Connecticut. Since 2005, Joshua’s program has distributed more than two million pounds of food to people in need, with the help of 15,000 youth volunteers.

Sarah Cronk (Iowa, 2011)

Sarah was honored in 2011 for co-founding a cheerleading squad at her high school that includes students with disabilities, and then forming a nonprofit corporation, The Sparkle Effect, that encourages teens across the country to start similar squads at their schools. Sarah went on to study psychology at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington, and is now a marketing specialist with the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis. She’s also a board member with the National Inclusion Project, working to ensure that children of all abilities can play, laugh and learn together. She currently serves as the Chief Development Officer of The Sparkle Effect, which now reaches more than 10,000 students nationwide.

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Thank you to the Spirit of Community Alumni Advisory Board for 2017-2018 -- our inaugural board!

Jordan Campbell, Kentucky State Honoree, 2010

Jordan was honored in 2011 for creating “Students Performing Amazing Musicals (S.P.A.M.),” a nonprofit student-run theater company that gave local students the chance to participate in musical theater. Today, Jordan runs a private consulting business called POP! Education, working with schools around the country to create arts-based lesson plans. In addition, he is currently a cast member in the Broadway musical AMAZING GRACE which is touring the country from November 2017- April 2018.

Kendall Ciesemier, Illinois State Honoree and National Honoree, 2007

Kendall was honored in 2007 for forming “Kids Caring 4 Kids,” a nonprofit organization that raised money to benefit children in Africa who’d been orphaned by AIDS. While attending Georgetown University, Kendall co-founded OWN IT, a women's leadership organization that’s reached thousands of college women on 11 university campuses with summits featuring prominent female leaders. Today, she is an Associate Producer at Mic in New York City.

Jacob Komar, Connecticut State Honoree and National Honoree, 2003

Jacob was honored in 2003 for restoring and upgrading outdated computers and donating them to families that couldn’t afford them through his program, “Computers for Communities.” Today Jacob is the founder and CEO of Fresh Local 52, LLC, a Providence, R.I.-based indoor vertical farm. He took technology he developed while pursuing his doctorate in neuroengineering at Brown University and used it to grow greens and microgreens indoors, stacked vertically – a technique that uses 98 percent less water, 95 percent less fertilizer and 75 percent less space than a traditional agricultural farm.

Glennita Williams, Illinois State Honoree and National Honoree, 2011

Glennita was honored in 2011 for collecting snacks and personal care items, including more than 600 pounds of Twinkies, for shipment to American troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, and then establishing an organization called “America’s Guardian Angels” to expand her impact. Today Glennita is studying political science at Northern Illinois University, where she’s introduced America’s Guardian Angels to students and faculty. In addition to collecting items for hospitalized veterans, her program has joined forces with other military organizations to assist troops, veterans and their families, and hopes to one day raise money for prosthetics for veterans and scholarships for military kids.