Two Missouri Students Recognized for Volunteer Service


Two Missouri students were recently honored as Prudential Spirit of Community Award winners for their outstanding acts of volunteerism.

Missouri’s 2015 youth volunteer winners are:

  • Nicole Shah, Greenwood Laboratory School, Springfield
  • Blake Harris, Congress Middle School, Park Hill School District

Shah, a junior, helped start a non-profit organization that has raised more than $65,000 in the last two years for children and others with serious illnesses. Her organization, “Every Teen Helps Inspire Change,” (ETHIC) is comprised of volunteers from five high schools and two colleges.

Harris, an eighth grader, began volunteering at a young age. Two years ago he began a project called “Pass It On,” which is designed to perform random acts of kindness for people who need a helping hand. This includes working with the elderly, ill and others who need special assistance with day-to-day activities.

“We are proud of these students who go the extra mile to help those in need,” said Missouri Commissioner of Education Margie Vandeven. “It takes a special person to serve the community in this fashion.”

Shah and Harris will travel to Washington D.C. in May where they will be considered for the national award.

Six other Missouri students were honored as distinguished finalists for their service activities. Those finalists are:

  • Sophie Bernstein, Clayton High School, Clayton School District
  • Taylor Brooks, Dora High School, Dora R-III School District
  • Aileen Markovitz, Eureka High School, Rockwood School District
  • Jade McNeil, Troy-Buchanan High School, Lincoln County R-III School District
  • Jordan Richardson, Platte County High School, Platte County R-III School District
  • Yearam Tak, Francis Howell High School, Francis Howell School District

Each of the distinguished finalists will receive an engraved bronze medallion.

The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards represents the largest youth recognition program based solely on volunteer service in the United States. Since the program began in 1995, more than 100,000 young volunteers have been honored at the local, state and national level. For more information about the program, visit