Feb 22, 2013 - By Christina George, Staff WriterThe Prudential Spirit of Community Awards honors young people for exemplary acts of volunteerism.
Wind River High School senior Darlee Hyatt is among 102 students nationwide to receive this year's The Prudential Spirit of Community Award for being top youth volunteers.
"She's always very willing to help out with anything," school guidance counselor Amy Mason said about why she and principal Ceatriss Wall nominated the 18-year-old for the award.
According to a news release, two students from each state and Washington, D.C., were named state honorees for The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, a nationwide program that has been honoring young people for exemplary acts of volunteerism for 18 years.
A Newcastle teen also received the honor.
"The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards represents the United States' largest youth recognition program based solely on volunteer service," a news release from the program states.
Each honoree receives $1,000, an engraved silver medallion and an all-expense-paid trip in May to Washington, D.C., for four days of national recognition events. Hyatt plans to travel east with her parents, Brenda and Delvin Hyatt.
During the trip, 10 students will be named America's top youth volunteers for 2013, and they will each receive an additional $5,000 award, a gold medallion, a crystal trophy and a $5,000 grant from The Prudential Foundation for a nonprofit charitable organization of their choice.
"Darlee has been a leader in her class," Wind River superintendent Diana Clapp said. "Winning this award is very well deserved."
Hyatt's volunteer efforts started three years ago when she and the girls basketball team started a community service week at the school. For the entire week, various fundraising events were held and money raised was donated to organizations.
Hyatt said money went to individuals with cancer the first year. The following year, funds were donated to various military service groups.
"I liked the feeling of helping the first two years," Hyatt said.
So this year, Hyatt stopped playing basketball and asked if she could take on organizing service week alone. The events were held the last week of January.
"We raised $8,000 for Help for Health," Hyatt said.
The teen said she likes volunteering in her community because she can see the effect it has.
"Instead of helping someone two states away, we help our community members," she said. "You improve your community."
This will not be Hyatt's first time visiting Washington, D.C. She previously attended the National Youth Leadership Forum.
Hyatt is a two-time Student of the Week, is on the honor roll and is a member of the National Honor Society and Fellowship of Christian Athletes. The class president has also lettered in volleyball and basketball, and she is a recipient of the Girls State Scholarship for Central Wyoming College, where she plans to attend after graduation to study early childhood education.
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