RALEIGH, N.C. – Today through November 7, 2017, The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards is looking for North Carolina's top youth volunteers of the year.

Students in grades 5-12 are invited to apply for 2018 Prudential Spirit of Community Awards if they have made meaningful contributions to their communities through volunteer service within the past 12 months. The application is available by clicking here.

The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards was created in 1995 to recognize the exemplary volunteer work of middle level and high school students. The awards have been granted annually for the past 22 years on the local, state and national level. "We've learned over the past two decades that young people are doing innovative, important work to improve communities at home and abroad," said Prudential Chairman and CEO John Strangfeld. "We honor their contributions in the hope that their example will inspire others to consider what they can do to make a difference."

North Carolina's top youth volunteers of 2017 were Victoria Kosinski, 18, of Kinston, who taught a self-defense course and coordinated the renovation of a new domestic violence shelter in her community as part of her multi-faceted program to empower women and educate the public about domestic violence, and Caleb Lumpkin, 14, of Winston-Salem, who is a volunteer facilitator of a book club that teaches and encourages people with intellectual disabilities to read. Read more about Victoria and Caleb's trip to Washington, D.C.

How to Apply
To apply for a 2018 Prudential Spirit of Community Award, students and certifiers must complete the following steps:
• Students complete the online application by November 7, 2017.
• Then, students submit the application for certification to their principal or head of a local participating organization.
• Certifiers review all applications for their school or organization, then select a Local Honoree to nominate for state-level judging by November 17, 2017.
Applications can be certified by a middle or high school principal or head of a Girl Scout council, county 4-H organization, American Red Cross chapter, YMCA or an affiliate of Points of Light's HandsOn Network. (Students can request a paper application by calling 855-670-4787.)

The 2018 Awards Program
On February 6, 2018, the top middle level and high school volunteer from each state and the District of Columbia will be named State Honorees. They will receive $1,000, engraved silver medallions and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C., with a parent or guardian for four days of recognition events from April 28-May 1, 2018.
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.