A 12-year-old from William James Middle School is among those named as Georgia’s Top Youth Volunteers of 2021.
The award is delivered by The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, which is Prudential Financial’s partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), and honors students in grades 5-12 for making meaningful contributions to their communities through volunteer service.
Kruthik Ravikanti, 17, of Alpharetta and Ava Mincey, 12, of Statesboro were recognized in the program as distingusihed finalists for 2021.
As State Honorees, Kruthik and Ava will each receive a $2,500 scholarship, a silver medallion and an invitation to the program’s virtual national recognition celebration in April, where 10 of the 102 State Honorees will be named America’s top youth volunteers of the year. Those 10 National Honorees will earn an additional $5,000 scholarship, a gold medallion, a crystal trophy for their nominating organization and a $5,000 grant for a nonprofit charitable organization of their choice.
“We created the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards 26 years ago to highlight and support the work of young people taking on the challenges of a changing world – a mission that rings truer than ever given the events of last year,” said Charles Lowrey, Prudential’s chairman and CEO. “We are proud to celebrate the vision and determination of Spirit of Community’s Class of 2021, and all the ways they’re making their communities safer, healthier and more equitable places to live.”
Middle Level State Honoree: Ava Mincey
Nominated by William James Middle School
Ava, a sixth-grader at William James Middle School, has raised thousands of dollars for Alzheimer’s disease research in honor of her late great-grandmother, by selling lemonade and raising money online. Ava has volunteered at the community support center established by her grandmother since 2015, where she has come to enjoy helping clients and their caregivers. Her work there taught her a lot about Alzheimer’s disease, and convinced her that she needed to help find a cure. “The more research and education about the disease that can be done, the better the odds are for finding a cure,” she said.
With her father’s help, Ava perfected a recipe for “Ava’s Lemonade” and set up a stand in her front yard to sell it. As friends and family members spread the word about Ava’s endeavor, sales vastly exceeded her initial expectations, and were exceeded yet again after word spread on social media. Before long, Ava was selling her lemonade in multiple locations, making deliveries all over town and even in surrounding counties, and expanding her product line to include juices made from fresh pineapples, peaches, strawberries and raspberries. So far, her efforts have yielded more than $2,000 for Alzheimer’s research. Ava also serves as an advocate for a personal device that alerts caregivers to the location of their Alzheimer’s patients.
State Honorees in The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards Class of 2021 – the top middle level and high school volunteer from all 50 states and the District of Columbia – were selected for service initiatives completed, at least in part, between the fall of 2019 and the fall of 2020. Selection was based on criteria including impact, effort, initiative and the personal growth demonstrated over the course of the project. Several Distinguished Finalists and runners-up were also selected in each state, and all qualifying applicants received President’s Volunteer Service Awards.
“It speaks volumes about the character of today’s secondary school students that the Spirit of Community program heard from more than 21,000 applicants this fall – most of them stories of young volunteers overcoming the hardships of a global pandemic to support those in need,” said Ronn Nozoe, Chief Executive Officer, NASSP. “While we’re especially proud to celebrate this year’s 102 State Honorees, NASSP applauds every student who’s found a way to volunteer this past year. You inspire your peers and adults alike to remember that, even in times of crisis, we all have something to give.”