February 5, 2004

Kiddoo Named Finalist For Volunteer of the Year Honor

A Scotland County R-I senior was among the finalists for the Prudential Spirit of Community Initiative’s top youth volunteers.

Emily Kiddoo, 18, of Memphis was one of the 10 distinguished finalists for the prestigious award.

Logan Skelley, 15, of Joplin and Brittany Sanders, 13, of Gladstone, were named the state’s top two volunteers for 2004. The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards is a nationwide program now in its ninth year of honoring young people for outstanding acts of volunteerism. The program is conducted by Prudential Financial in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals. More than 20,000 high school and middle level students submitted application’s for this year’s program.

Skelley, a sophomore at Joplin High School, started a can-recycling program that has generated more than $1,000 to help low-income residents in the Joplin area pay their winter heating bills. Logan got this idea for his project, called “Canned Heat,” from reading in a newspaper article that a family’s heat can be cut off if they get behind in their utility bills.

“I could not imagine what it would be like not to have heat during cold, winter nights—especially if you were sick or had small children,” he said.

Logan posted fliers around town encouraging people to save their cans, and asked local businesses and schools to save their cans, too. After he collects the saved cans, he sorts and bags them, and stores them in his garage until he has enough to transport to a recycling center.

Logan gives the proceeds from the recycling to Crosslines Churches, which distributes them to people who need help paying for heat during the winter months. “No one should be left in the cold,” said Logan. “I feel that the more funds I can raise, the more families I can help.”

Sanders, a seventh-grader at St. Charles Borromeo Parish School in Oakview, organized a youth service club in honor of a friend who died from brain cancer.

“My best friend, Kristin, inspired me to begin ‘Kristin’s Kids Club,’” said Brittany. “I was motivated to keep Kristin’s spirit alive.”

Brittany began with little projects on her own, donating her birthday and Christmas gifts to sick children, cleaning up her block, collecting canned goods for a food pantry, and volunteering at a soup kitchen.

Frustrated that many of her friends didn’t understand why she was doing these things, she decided to start a club that has since grown from 10 to more than 400 members, and has undertaken a wide range of community service projects.

Brittany developed a newsletter and website to support the club’s activities, and is now spending a lot of time and effort starting similar groups in other cities and states.

Brittany and her fellow club members have raised thousands of dollars for numerous causes, collected and distributed countless cans of food for the hungry, sent money and supplies to poor children in Afghanistan, collected bags of litter, and provided local children with new school supplies.

“We as youth can make this world a better place to live and grow up in,” said Brittany.

Distinguished Finalists

Kevin Duniven, 18, of St. Louis, Missouri, a senior at Lindbergh High School, provided lawn-maintenance and landscaping services to low-income tenants of more than 30 houses in the St. Louis area. Kevin spent a total of 250 hours mowing lawns, weeding, removing rocks and dead trees, and planting flowers and shrubs for people who didn’t have the ability to take care of their yards themselves.

Maria Jurado, 17, of Kansas City, Missouri, a senior at Center Senior High School, is leading her high school’s Key Club in a project to make and collect Spanish-language books for Children’s Mercy Hospital. Called “Read to Lead,” the project is designed to provide the large number of Hispanics who visit or stay at the hospital with reading materials in their native language.

Emily Kiddoo, 18, of Memphis, Missouri, a senior at Scotland County R-I High School, developed an e-mail program to enable residents of a local nursing home to communicate with family and friends without the cost of long-distance phone charges.

Rebecca Mowry, 17, of Trimble, Missouri, a junior at East Buchanan High School in Gower, established libraries filled with hundreds of large-print books for three senior convalescent centers that previously had no books. Rebecca purchased many of the books herself, then collected donated books, purchased and installed the bookshelves, and developed a card catalog system for each library.

Brett Stuppy, 12, of Sainte Genevieve, Missouri, a seventh-grader at Valle Catholic Grade School, spearheaded the installation of a flagpole at a “sheltered workshop” for disabled workers, and then helped organize a dedication ceremony, picnic and an America-themed carnival at the facility. The events took place on the first anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Leah Swaney, 17, of Columbia, Missouri, a senior at Rock Bridge High School, organized a one-day dental clinic for low-income Hispanic residents through a local Hispanic Outreach Center. Leah arranged for a dentist to conduct exams, and provided dental care information, free toothbrushes, toothpaste, and dental floss to the more than 40 people who attended the clinic.

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