Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Three Girl Scouts Named GSWPA’s Top Youth Volunteers of the Year

Girl Scouts Megan Shissler, Jamie Neely and Gabrielle Corcoran
Girl ScoutsWestern Pennsylvania (GSWPA) today named three Girl Scouts its top youth volunteers of the year.
The honor was granted to Megan Shissler, 14, of Delmont, Jamie Neely, 12, and Gabrielle Corcoran, 13, both of Pittsburgh, as part of the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards.
A nationwide youth volunteer recognition program, the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards are sponsored by Prudential Financial in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals.
By selecting Shissler, Neely and Corcoran as its top youth volunteers, GSWPA has advanced their applications for state-level judging in the 2017 Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program. Prudential will announce Pennsylvania’s top youth volunteers of the year on February 7, 2017.
Shissler, a ninth-grade student at Greensburg-Salem High School, earned a Girl Scout SilverAward for her project to redesign and update her community’s website, delmontboro.com. Her goal was to make the website not only more relevant and updated, but to also increase web traffic and give her community a better online presence.
Neely, in seventh grade at North Hills Junior High School, helped renovate a community garden in Troy Hill. She assisted in creating a brightly colored cinder block garden and adding picnic tables with built-in chess\checker boards. To help make the project environmentally friendly, recycled cinderblocks, pallets, and reclaimed wood were used and new rain barrels were installed. Neely organized a picnic at the completion of the project to reveal the improvements to the community.
A seventh grade student at Providence Heights Alpha School, Corcoran wanted to help the Sisters of Divine Providence at her school take time from their duties to relax and have fun. She scheduled social time for the sisters and introduced games for them to play. Corcoran also created a Knit-a-Thon, benefitting the sisters who take a vow of poverty. More than 200 people were involved in the event, including three local businesses.
Girl Scout Katie Handy
GSWPA also recognized Katie Handy, 17, of Jeanette, for her exemplary volunteer service with a Prudential Spirit of Community Certificate of Merit. She is a senior at Hempfield Area Senior High School.
Handy is working toward a Girl Scout Gold Award for her project to landscape the grounds at the Baltzer Meyer Historical Society’s one-room Harrold Schoolhouse in Greensburg. She is leading a team of volunteers to remove trees, weeds, plant flowers, and bury an exposed pipe. Her project will make the grounds safer and more beautiful for the historic schoolhouse’s many visitors.
“We’re extremely proud of each one of these Girl Scouts who have worked so diligently and creatively to help make their corner of the world a better place,” said Patricia A. Burkart, CEO of GSWPA. “Their leadership is an inspiration to us all.” 
As Local Honorees, Shissler, Neely and Corcoran are now in the running to be named one of two Prudential Spirit of Community State Honorees for Pennsylvania. State Honorees receive a $1,000 award and an all-expense-paid trip with a parent or guardian to Washington, D.C., for several days of special recognition events. Other state-level honorees will receive bronze medallions or Certificates of Excellence.
During May’s national recognition events in Washington, America’s top 10 youth volunteers of the year will be named by a distinguished selection committee. Each of these National Honorees will receive an additional $5,000, a crystal trophy for his or her school or organization, and a $5,000 Prudential Foundation grant for a charitable organization of their choice.
"Young people who contribute their time and talents to their communities are role models for all of us," said Prudential Chairman and CEO John Strangfeld. "We salute their dedication, their achievements, and their spirit of community."
"Demonstrating civic responsibility through community volunteerism is an important part of life," said NASSP Executive Director JoAnn Bartoletti. "These Honorees practice a lesson we hope all young people, as well as adults, will emulate."
The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards represents America’s largest youth recognition program based exclusively on volunteer service. Since 1995, the program has honored more than 115,000 youth volunteers at the local, state and national level. Learn more at spirit.prudential.com or www.nassp.org/spirit.