Puhi student honored for service to community

Kelsey Ritchie, 18, of Puhi, has been honored for her exemplary volunteer service with a President’s Volunteer Service Award, states a press release.

The award, which recognizes Americans of all ages who have volunteered significant amounts of their time to serve their communities, was presented by The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program on behalf of the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation. Ritchie participated in the Spirit of Community program this year as a representative of Island School, in Puhi, where she is a member of the graduating class of 2006, and president of student government.

As a student leader, Ritchie helped coordinate several fund raising projects over the past two school years, including collecting money for victims of the December 2004 tsunami in Asia. “We put big plastic water bottles around campus and people donated their change,” she said in a press release. “This year, Island School raised funds for victims of Hurricane Katrina.”

“Another focus of our community service is collecting money and food for the Kaua`i Food Bank,” said Ritchie in the release.

This year, the school held two food drives, collecting hundreds of pounds of food as well as monetary donations.

“I’m proud I could use my leadership position to help other people,” said Ritchie, who will graduate on June 10.

Her community service work won’t stop at graduation. Ritchie is one of the eleven members of the group from Island School known as JUMP — Juveniles Use Media Power — to Change the World. This group is traveling to Kenya this summer to work with youth to develop media projects that make a difference in the world. For more information about this project, log on to their Web site www.jumptochangetheworld.org/.

“The recipients of these awards vividly demonstrate that young people across America are making remarkable contributions to the health and vitality of their communities,” said Art Ryan, chairman and CEO of Prudential Financial, in the release. “They truly deserve all of the praise and encouragement we can give them.”

“The young people recognized by the Spirit of Community Awards demonstrate an enormous capacity for giving and reaching out to those in need,” said Gerald N. Tirozzi, executive director of the National Association of Secondary School Principals, in the release. “NASSP is proud to honor them as they are wonderful examples of the high caliber of young people in our nation’s schools today.”

Program applications were distributed last September through all public and private middle level and high schools, Girl Scout councils, county 4-H organizations, American Red Cross chapters, Honorees, Distinguished Finalists and Certificate of Excellence recipients. Volunteer activities were judged on criteria such as personal initiative, creativity, effort, impact, and personal growth.

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