Tuesday, March 18, 2014
Savannah Campbell, 17, of Mount Pleasant, a member of Clemson University Extension's 4-H youth development program, has been honored for her exemplary volunteer service with a President's Volunteer Service Award.
The award, which recognizes Americans of all ages who have volunteered significant amounts of their time to serve their communities and their country, was granted by The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program on behalf of President Barack Obama. Charleston County 4-H nominated Savannah for national honors this fall in recognition of her volunteer service.
Savannah has been spreading the spirit of volunteerism by utilizing the leadership, citizenship and communication skills that she has gained through being a member of a 4-H youth club. In 2011, Savannah was looking for a way to become a better leader with an emphasis on community service. She investigated many different organizations to help her meet her goal. In the end, Savannah says, “I found 4-H, which was exactly what I was looking for in a program.” She also found that there was not a club in her area – so she started one. The Charleston Change 4-H Club was established and soon other youth in the community wanted to join.
Savannah took the opportunity to educate the community about all of the opportunities that 4-H had to offer. “Isn't 4-H for farm people?” was the No. 1 question that she was asked. A simple, “No, 4-H is for youth from all walks of life and it has something for everyone” was her response. As president of the Charleston Change 4-H Club, Savannah led a multitude of club activities and was invited to attend the Health Rocks! National Conference in Washington D.C. Here she received the training needed to become a youth ambassador for the Health Rocks! 4-H program that is aimed at reducing drug, alcohol and tobacco use in youth, ages 8-14. Savannah took the training and ran with it. She lead training and education for Family Services on Joint Base Charleston, City of North Charleston, City of Charleston, Town of Mount Pleasant's Recreation Departments, Charleston County School District's Kaleidoscope programs and Communities in Schools.
Savannah's efforts educated more than 3,000 local youth about Health Rocks! This only fueled her passion about community service and Savannah has led the Charleston Change 4-H club to organize school supply drives and bake sales to raise money to help youth in Honduras, Cambodia, Ghana and Rwanda. Of her 4-H experience, Savannah says, “I'll always remember the positive impact 4-H has made on me and I'm glad that our programs will continue to give more kids the same opportunities. I've learned that giving back to your community doesn't only help others, but it helps me as well and I would tell other young people to do the same.”
The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, sponsored by Prudential Financial in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), recognizes middle level and high school students across America for outstanding volunteer service.
“The recipients of these awards demonstrate that young people across America are making remarkable contributions to the health and vitality of their communities,” said John Strangfeld, chairman and CEO of Prudential Financial. “By recognizing these students and placing a spotlight on their volunteer activities, we hope to motivate others to consider how they can also contribute to their community.”
“Demonstrating civic responsibility through volunteerism is an important part of life,” said NASSP Executive Director JoAnn Bartoletti. “These honorees practice a lesson we hope all young people, as well as adults, will emulate.”
Prudential Spirit of Community Award applications were distributed nationwide last September through middle level and high schools, Girl Scout councils, county 4-H organizations, American Red Cross chapters, YMCAs and Hands-On Network affiliates. These schools and officially designated local organizations nominated Local Honorees, whose applications were advanced for state-level judging. In addition to granting President's Volunteer Service Awards on behalf of President Barack Obama, The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards selected State Honorees, Distinguished Finalists and Certificate of Excellence recipients. Volunteer activities were judged on criteria including personal initiative, creativity, effort, impact and personal growth.