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16th Annual Search Under Way for Alaska's Top Youth Volunteers

State Honorees Receive Cash Awards, Medallions and Trip to Washington, D.C., for National Events

Eagle River and Soldotna Youths Were Alaska's Honorees in 2010

JUNEAU, Alaska--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Over the past 15 years, Prudential Spirit of Community Awards have been given to more than 450 middle and high school students across Alaska for helping the less fortunate, promoting health and safety, protecting the environment, and serving their communities through many other volunteer activities. This week the search begins to identify more young Alaskans who have made meaningful contributions to their communities over the past 12 months, as the prestigious awards program kicks off its 16th year.

"We want to tell them in the strongest possible terms how important their volunteer work is, and how proud we are of their efforts."

These awards, presented nationwide by Prudential Financial, Inc. in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), honor outstanding community service by young people in grades 5 through 12.

"A surprising number of young people today are getting involved in serving their communities, but they're not always recognized for the great things they are doing," said Prudential Chairman and CEO John R. Strangfeld. "We want to tell them in the strongest possible terms how important their volunteer work is, and how proud we are of their efforts."

Young volunteers can apply online at http://spirit.prudential.com or at www.principals.org/spirit. Applications must be completed by November 1, 2010, and then submitted to a middle or high school principal, Girl Scout council, county 4-H agent, American Red Cross chapter, YMCA, or affiliate of the HandsOn Network. Those without Internet access can get a paper version of the application form by calling 877-525-8491 toll-free.

Participating schools and local organizations will select Local Honorees in early November and present them with Certificates of Achievement. These Local Honorees also will receive the President's Volunteer Service Award from President Barack Obama if they have contributed the minimum number of volunteer hours to qualify (50 hours for age 14 and younger, 100 hours for older students). All Local Honorees are then reviewed by a state-level judging committee, which will name the top two candidates from each state and the District of Columbia - one high school student and one middle level student - as State Honorees on February 8, 2011. These State Honorees will receive $1,000 awards, engraved silver medallions, and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C., with a parent for four days of recognition events April 30-May 3, 2011. Runners-up at the state level will receive bronze medallions or Certificates of Excellence.

In Washington, a distinguished national selection committee will name 10 of the 102 State Honorees as America's top youth volunteers of the year. These National Honorees will receive additional awards of $5,000, gold medallions, crystal trophies for their nominating schools or organizations, and $5,000 grants from The Prudential Foundation for nonprofit, charitable organizations of their choice.

Esther Smith, 18, of Eagle River and Vienna Schmitter-Schrier, 14, of Soldotna were Alaska's top youth volunteers for 2010. Esther, Alaska's top high school youth volunteer, was honored for spending four summers working in foreign countries to aid impoverished children by teaching English, assisting with feeding programs, taking care of orphans, and helping with development projects. Vienna, Alaska's top middle level volunteer, was recognized for helping to raise more than $5,000 to establish a scholarship fund so that poor children in El Salvador could continue going to school beyond the sixth grade.

"Year after year the students recognized through this program have demonstrated an amazing commitment to helping others and improving their communities," said Gerald Tirozzi, executive director of NASSP. "It is an honor to recognize and celebrate the positive things being done by our nation's future leaders."

The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program is the United States' largest youth recognition program based solely on community service, and has honored more than 90,000 young volunteers at local, state and national levels since 1995. The awards program also is conducted by Prudential subsidiaries in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Ireland and India.

In existence since 1916, the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) is the preeminent organization of and national voice for middle level and high school principals, assistant principals, and aspiring school leaders from across the United States and more than 45 countries around the world. NASSP's mission is to promote excellence in school leadership. The National Honor Society®, National Junior Honor Society®, National Elementary Honor SocietyTM, and National Association of Student Councils® are all NASSP programs. For more information about NASSP, located in Reston, Va., visit www.principals.org or call 703-860-0200.

Prudential Financial, Inc. (NYSE: PRU), a financial services leader with approximately $690 billion of assets under management as of June 30, 2009, has operations in the United States, Asia, Europe and Latin America. Leveraging its heritage of life insurance and asset management expertise, Prudential is focused on helping individual and institutional customers grow and protect their wealth. In the United States, the company's Rock symbol is an icon of strength, stability, expertise and innovation that has stood the test of time. Prudential's businesses offer a variety of products and services, including life insurance, annuities, retirement-related services, mutual funds, investment management, and real estate services. For more information, visit http://www.news.prudential.com.

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