Prudential “Spirit of Community Award” for N.J. Youth Volunteers

May 6, 2003

Gideon Sofer, 18, of Highland Park, N.J. was named one of America’s top ten youth volunteers for 2003 in a ceremony today at the International Trade Center, in Washington D.C., receiving a national Prudential Spirit of Community Award for his outstanding volunteer community service.

Also honored was Janna Zuckerman, 13, of Edison, N.J. She and Gideon were named New Jersey’s top two youth volunteers for 2003 in February, and were recognized last night at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, along with the top two youth volunteers of every other state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

At that event, all 104 Prudential Spirit of Community State Honorees for 2003 were presented with $1,000 awards and congratulated by former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and David Gallagher, star of the hit TV series “7th Heaven.” The honorees also received engraved silver medallions and an all-expense-paid trip with their parents to Washington, D.C., for this week’s recognition events.

Sofer was selected from a field of 24,000 applicants across the country. He received $5,000, an engraved gold medallion and a crystal trophy for his school, Highland Park High School in Highland Park. In addition, he will have $25,000 in toys, clothing and other juvenile products donated in his name to needy children in his area by Kids in Distressed Situations, Inc., the national charity of the children’s apparel and products industry

“Conducted in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards were created eight years ago by Prudential Financial, Inc. to encourage youth volunteerism and to identify and reward young role models. Since then, the program has honored nearly 50,000 young volunteers at the local, state and national level,” said the bulletin.

“Gideon and Janna are extraordinary young people who exemplify the spirit of community that is so important to the future of our cities, towns and neighborhoods,” said Arthur F. Ryan, chairman and CEO of Prudential. “By honoring them, we hope not only to give them the recognition they so richly deserve, but also to inspire others to follow their example.”

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