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Middle schooler honored in Washington DC



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May 18, 2011 - Phoebe Holmes, 13, was honored in the nation's capital for her volunteer work, at the 2011 Prudential Spirit of Community Awards. Phoebe – along with 101 other youth volunteers from across the country – received a $1,000 award as well as congratulations from Academy Award-winning actress Susan Sarandon at the 16th annual award ceremony at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History.

Phoebe was named the top middle school youth volunteer in Michigan last February. In addition to the cash award, she received engraved silver medallions and an allexpense-paid trip with her parents to Washington, D.C.

"The Prudential Spirit of Community honorees have seen problems in their communities and around the world and have taken action," Sarandon said. "Their compassion to help others should give us all a lot of hope for the future."

Phoebe, an eighth-grader at Oakview Middle School, is an avid volunteer who has tutored elementary school children at a local library, exercised and entertained dogs and cats at an animal shelter, and built stage sets for a nonprofit youth theatre group. "I enjoy spending time with children and animals, so I was looking for any opportunity to play a role in their lives," Phoebe said.

At the library, Phoebe tutored children every week during the school year, helping them with their homework, test preparation, and anything else that they might need practice.

As a pet-sitter in her neighborhood, Phoebe sought work at the animal shelter because, "I wanted to spend my spare time with less fortunate animals who did not have a home," she said.

She recruited several friends to volunteer with her. Her work with the theatre group involved a wide variety of set-building jobs, including painting, hammering, drilling, and stapling.

"Phoebe represent young Americans who have a strong sense of community and who are dedicated to improving our neighborhoods, our nation and our world," said John R. Strangfeld, chairman and CEO of Prudential Financial, Inc. "With great anticipation, we look forward to her future."

achievements as she continue to spread the spirit of community."

More than 29,000 young people participated in the 2011 awards program last fall through schools,

Girl Scout councils, county 4-H organizations, American Red Cross chapters, YMCAs and affiliates of

the Points of Light Institute's HandsOn Network. The top middle level and high school applicants in each state were selected in February, and were flown to Washington this week with their parents for four days of special recognition events.

Visit http://www.newsinfusion.com/events/prudential to access video and

audio interviews with this year's winners.

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