Prudential Sprit of Community Awards Name The Top Youth Voluntee - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Prudential Sprit of Community Awards Name The Top Youth Volunteers of the Year


 DOVER, DE.- The Prudential Spirit of Community awards have just awarded two of the top youth volunteers of the year.

Elizabeth Quesenberry, 17, of Wilmington, and Piper Biggs, 11, won the award which honors young people for outstanding acts of volunteerism. Quesenberry was nominated by Padua Acadamey High School and Piper was nominated by Kent County 4-H in Dover.

Currently in its' 20th year, The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards is conducted by Prudential Financial in Partnership with the National Association of Secondary Principals. (NASSP)

Quesenberry, a senior in high school, overcame a diagnosis of brain cancer and started a nonprofit organization that has raised $100,000 over the past six years to increase awareness of childhood cancer. The fund helps search for a cure, and ease the financial pressure on families of young cancer patients.

Following a year long battle with cancer, Elizabeth was finally cancer-free, but said the experience forever changed her life.

"During my battle I met other kids suffering worse than me and I watched my friends pass away from cancer," Quesenberry said. "I felt i had to do something about this epidemic."

 Biggs, a sixth-grader at Campus Community School, conducted a food drive last summer that provided 678 pounds of food for a men's shelter and an orphanage in her city.

"While food drives during traditional holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas are important, people are going hungry throughout the year," Biggs said. "I wanted to show people that giving should happen all of the time."

Biggs received her donations by advertising with a flyer and on social media. She also put a large donation box outside of her house and asked local businesses to put out donation boxes as well, it wasn't long before local neighbors began dropping off donations. Family and friends of hers sent checks in support of her project.

At the shelter where they donated, Piper and her mom helped stock the shelter's shelves and then had the opportunity to serve dinner to the residents.

"It was so great and heartwarming to see the reaction of those who donated and the impact of giving outside of holiday time." She said.

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

Hyung Jun Hahn, 18, of Hockessin is a senior at Alexis I. du Pont High School. In 2013, Hahn began teaching senior citizens computer skills when he partnered with Jewish Family Services to provide classes on using email and operating laptop and notepad devices. He said technology is a way he can communicate with his grandparents back in Korea, so he wanted to help other grandparents do the same. 

 Will Kenney, 12 of Delmar is a seventh-grader at Millsboro Middle School. He spent the summer of 2014 planning and implementing "Will's Carnival for a Cause," a family-style carnival with games, food, rides, music and more, that raised $5,800 to help fund research for a cure for Sturge-Weber syndrome. Kenney said he was inspired by a two-year old friend who has the illness and he has now become an advocate for the Sturge-Weber Foundation.

As state honorees, Biggs and Quesenberry will receive $1,000, an engraved silver medallion and an all expensed paid trip in May to Washington D.C., where they will join the top 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 receive the honor of America's top youth volunteers of 2015.

"Prudential is honored to celebrate the contributions of these remarkable young volunteers," said Prudential Chairman and CEO John Strangfeld. "By shining a spotlight on the difference they've made in their communities, we hope others are inspired to volunteer too."

Since the program began in 1995, more than 100,000 young volunteers have been honored at the local, state and national level. The program also conducted by Prudential subsidiaries in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Ireland, India, and China. In addition to granting its own awards, the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program also distributes President's Volunteers Service Awards to qualifying local honorees, on behalf of President Barack Obama.

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