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Nevada 4-H Program Members Selected for 2008 Prudential Spirit of Community Awards

Posted 3/6/2008

Three Nevada 4-H Members were selected for recognition as part of the 2008 Prudential Spirit of Community Awards. Rachel Lambin (Douglas County), Rachel Willimott (Lyon County) and Charles Mann (Douglas County) were selected among 4,500 nationwide applicants to be honored for their volunteerism and community service. Rachel Lambin was chosen, as one of two of Nevada’s "top youth volunteers," to have her application evaluated for possible selection as a National Honoree and to travel to Washington D.C. for "several days of national recognition events."

Rachael Lambin, 17, of Gardnerville was nominated by JRJ Homeschool in Minden. As a State Honorees, she will receive $1,000, an engraved silver medallion, and an all-expense-paid trip in early May to Washington, D.C., where she will join the top two honorees — one middle level and one high school youth — from each of the other states and the District of Columbia for several days of national recognition events. Ten of them will be named America’s top youth volunteers for 2008 at that time.

Rachael, a high school junior at JRJ Homeschool, raised and donated more than $30,000 to purchase land and help build a new school for orphans in one of the largest slums in Kenya, and also organized an effort to collect 2,500 pounds of books for the school. Rachael has been an avid volunteer since she was 6 years old, spearheading community service projects ranging from a river cleanup to awareness campaigns about asthma and obesity. Her most recent endeavor began after she heard a man from Kenya speak at her church about a school in the slums of the Mathare Valley outside Of Nairobi that lacked adequate space and resources. "I saw a need and began to act on it," said Rachael. "1 was going to find a way to purchase land, build a school, and provide it with books and supplies." Rachael organized garage sales, sought donations from local businesses and churches, applied for matching funds from other organizations, and donated prize money she won from another volunteer awards program. She then organized a volunteer group to help her collect textbooks, Bibles and school supplies from schools and churches for the Kenyan orphans. Last summer, Rachael traveled to Kenya with her family and church to see the new school building. While there, she helped teach a summer Bible school for 3,000 kids, participated in a symposium for women and worked in the slums. "I know there are poor people in our own backyard who need help," said Rachael, "but even the poorest of the poor in America are living much better than the average person in Mathare."

Charles Mann, 17, of Wellington, a senior at Smith Valley High School in Smith, makes and sells prayer bracelets to help pay the medical bills of two young women undergoing treatment for cancer. Charles purchases supplies, recruits friends to help him make the bracelets, and then sells them at his school, as well as at craft fairs and local hair salons. He also raised money for his cause by organizing a "Hats Off for Cancer" fund-raiser at his school.

Rachel Willimott, 16, of Silver Springs, a sophomore at Silver Stage High School and a member of UNCE-Lyon County 4-H in Silver Springs, helps plan and organize an annual Easter egg hunt and raffle for disadvantaged children and families living in her community. Along with her parents and the members of a community club, Rachel publicizes the event, solicits donations of funds and raffle prizes, shops for supplies, prepares Easter eggs and baskets, and coordinates activities on the day off the event.

"Over the past 13 years, we’ve seen an incredible-number of young Americans who have selflessly devoted their time and energy to helping others in their communities," said Arthur F. Ryan, chairman of Prudential Financial. "The volunteer work of this year’s honorees is as inspiring as any we’ve seen, and we are honored to recognize the amazing contributions they’ve made to their neighborhoods, cities and nation."

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 Volunteer Centers, were eligible to select a student or member for a local Prudential Spirit of Community Award this past November. Nearly 4,500 Local Honorees were then reviewed by state level judges, who selected State Honorees and Distinguished Finalists based on criteria such as personal initiative, creativity, effort, impact and personal growth.

The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards represent the United States’ largest youth recognition program based solely on volunteer service. The program is part of a broad youth-service initiative by Prudential that includes a youth leadership training program administered by the Points of Light & Hands On Network; a free booklet of volunteer ideas for young people offered through the Federal Citizen Information Center; and a Web site featuring profiles of outstanding youth volunteers, volunteer tips and project ideas for students, an electronic newspaper on youth volunteerism, and more (www.prudential.com/spirit). The Spirit of Community Awards program also is conducted by Prudential subsidiaries in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Ireland.

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