Fort Worth student named a top 10 youth volunteer
Orion JeanThe 10-year-old from Fort Worth was named one of America’s Top Ten Youth Volunteers by 2021 The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards during the program’s 26th annual and second fully virtual national recognition ceremony. Orion was selected from a field of more than 21,000 youth volunteers from across the country and received the title of National Honoree, as well as a US $ 5,000 scholarship, an engraved gold medallion, a crystal trophy for his school, and a US $ 5,000 scholarship from The Prudential Foundation for a non-profit organization of your choice.
The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, sponsored by Prudential Financial in partnership with the National Association of School Heads of Secondary School (NASSP) honors students in grades 5 through 12 for their significant contributions to their communities through volunteer service.
Orion, a fifth grader at Chisholm Ridge Elementarycollected more than 600 toys for children in a children’s hospital and provided more than 40,000 meals to people in need after winning a national speech contest encouraging people to race to kindness. Realizing that “the best way to spread kindness is to lead by example,” Orion began planning a series of “racing events” after winning its contest, starting with the “Race for 500 Toys”. For this toy ride, he researched toys that are both fun and budget-friendly, then posted a wish list on a website his mom created. With his prize money and donations received through the website, Orion began buying toys. He also set up toy collection boxes in his school and community center. In just over a month, Orion collected more than 600 toys, which he unpacked, sorted and shipped to a children’s hospital in Dallas last fall.
Orion wanted to do something bigger for his second “race” so he started the “race for 100,000 meals”. Working with an organization that collects food for the hungry, Orion filled “snack packs” with fruit, granola bars and water bottles, and appealed to others to do the same. He then helped organize local handover events and packed all the donated sack packages into delivery vans. Drop-off events have also been held in other states by people inspired by Orion. At the last count, Orion was well on its way to meeting his goal of 100,000 meals.
“After 26 years of honoring young volunteers, we know that students across America are doing great service to their communities, and we are particularly inspired by this year’s award winners for doing so in the face of unprecedented challenges,” he said Charles Lowrey, Prudentials Chairman and CEO. “Prudential prides itself on bringing these remarkable young people and their service histories to the fore.”
“These young volunteers are great examples of the resilience and commitment to social progress that so many students have shown over the past year,” he said Ronn Nozoe, Managing Director, NASSP. “NASSP congratulates these students on a well-deserved honor and thanks them for providing role models for all of us to turn adversity into reality.”