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Prudential Names Cumming Teen Top Youth Volunteer in Georgia

In addition to the Piney Grove Middle School student, the volunteer service awards program also honored students from nearby towns.

Piney Grove Middle School student Kelsey Hirsch was named Georgia's top middle school youth volunteer of 2013 in the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards.

The 13-year-old student was joined in the honor by David Resnick, 18, of Roswell, a senior at Centennial High School, who received the high school top volunteer designation, according to a release from Prudential.

As state honorees, Hirsch and Resnick each will receive $1,000, engraved silver medallions and all-expense-paid trips to Washington, D.C., where they will join 100 other top youth volunteers from across the United States for four days of national recognition events, according to a release by Prudential.

Hirsch, an eighth grader at Piney Grove Middle School, sold more than $14,000 worth of silicone wristbands to help the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) respond to a recent surge in call volume from victims of sexual violence. After hearing about the allegations of sexual abuse at Penn State University, Kelsey, whose parents are both Penn State alumni, felt she needed to do something to help survivors of sexual assaults. “I want to make sure this never happens again,” she explained.

She designed a blue silicone wristband and met with RAINN officials to propose selling them for $3 each to support RAINN’s mission. The organization agreed to publicize her effort, and Kelsey began selling the bands through friends and relatives, social media and events sponsored by other advocacy groups. The money she raised so far has helped RAINN increase its capacity to handle a 47 percent increase in volume on its telephone and Internet hotlines that occurred since the Penn State scandal broke.

Ben Bearup, 14, of Alpharetta and Shaun Verma, 17, of Milton were recognized as distinguished finalists.

  • Ben Bearup, 14, of Alpharetta, an eighth-grader at Webb Bridge Middle School, co-founded “Sheltering Books,” a nonprofit organization that has provided more than 155,000 gently used books to homeless shelters in the United States, as well as to schools in need in other countries, VA hospitals and the military.
  • Shaun Verma, 17, of Milton, a senior at Milton High School, founded “MDJunior,” an organization that brings together medical professionals with middle and high school students in underserved communities to help inspire children. Shaurya has raised more than $40,000 to support the organization, which today has 20 chapters in seven states, 114 mentors and nearly 600 participating students.
  • David Resnick, 18, of Roswell was nominated for the award by Centennial High School in Roswell. He plays a leadership role in an organization that throws an annual holiday party for more than 750 children from homeless shelters throughout Atlanta.

The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards is part of a national program honoring middle level and high school students for outstanding volunteer service.

The program also recognized four other Distinguished Finalists from Georgia:

  • Julia Abelsky, 18, of Atlanta
  • Mary Claire Birdsong, 18, of Augusta
  • Chase Czaykowsky, 15, of Lawrenceville
  • Sara McCorkle, 17, of Claxton

The Distinguished Finalists each will receive engraved bronze medallions.

Bridget Hatch February 06, 2013 at 12:51 PM
So glad to have such positive role model youth in our communities. What great accomplishments at such a you g age
Liz Kennedy (Editor) February 06, 2013 at 05:50 PM
Hi Bridget, I totally agree!

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