Sophomore Haley Draeger was recently recognized as one of Arkansas’ top youth volunteers of 2020 by The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, a nationwide program honoring young people for outstanding acts of volunteerism. As one of the state’s four Distinguished Finalists, Haley will receive an engraved bronze medallion. Her community spirit and exemplary volunteer service also qualified her for the program’s President’s Volunteer Service Award.
A member of the Girl Scouts – Diamonds of Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas, Haley organized and runs Kid’s Korner, a twice-monthly event that has given more than 1,300 outfits to 240 families who are staying at the Ronald McDonald House in Little Rock. Haley solicits, washes and organizes donated clothing, has helped recruit additional volunteers, and works directly with families who benefit from her initiative.
Though appreciative of the honor, Haley was quick to acknowledge all volunteers and the importance of community service.
“A project’s success is driven by all the volunteers who participate and contribute in various ways. It can be hard work and time consuming, but the payoff of helping others is worth it,” she said. “As a volunteer, you can directly impact another person’s life or a cause for the better. There is also the personal reward of knowing your actions made a difference. I think everyone should find a cause that is important to them and volunteer. The benefits to those you serve and within yourself are remarkable.”
The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, now in its 25th year, is conducted by Prudential Financial in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP). It represents the United States’ largest youth recognition program based solely on volunteer service. Since the program began in 1995, more than 130,000 young volunteers have been honored at the local, state and national level.
“In our 25th year of honoring young volunteers, we are as inspired as ever by the work students are doing to address the needs of a changing world,” said Charles Lowrey, chairman and CEO of Prudential Financial, Inc. “We hope that their resolve, their initiative and their perspectives on society’s challenges move others to consider how they can make a difference, too.”
“Middle level and high school students are doing remarkable things to shape the future of their communities through volunteer service. They inspire all students and schools to drive learning with real-world challenges,” said JoAnn Bartoletti, executive director of NASSP. “Congratulations to each of the 2020 honorees – it’s an honor to celebrate your commitment to creating positive change.”
Congratulations, Haley, on this well-deserved honor. You are a wonderful example of living Mercy, and we are very proud of you!
Mount St. Mary Academy, sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, develops young women with a moral and intellectual foundation rooted in Catholic tradition. Mercy-minded and college-prepared, our students meet the future with wisdom, compassion and integrity.