February 11, 2014

Area students receive national honor

February 11, 2014

OKLAHOMA CITY — Two Muskogee-area students were honored by The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, a nationwide program honoring young people for outstanding acts of volunteerism.

Erika Vinson, 18, of Muskogee and Cierra Little Water Fields, 14, of Fort Gibson were recognized as Distinguished Finalists for their activities. Each will receive an engraved bronze medallion.

• Fields, a freshman at Fort Gibson High School, organized Oklahoma’s first “Native Youth Summit,” a free full-day conference where 212 attendees from 19 tribal nations across the country learned about bullying and suicide prevention, health, indigenous rights and other issues of importance to their communities. Cierra, who secured $15,000 in donations and a Youth Service America grant, developed the curriculum, coordinated guest speakers, promoted the program, managed registration, and recruited volunteers.

• Vinson, a senior at Warner High School, created a food pantry at Warner Public Schools that collects and distributes large boxes of food for holiday meals to families in need. Erika recruited a team of volunteers, made and distributed fliers, and organized and distributed the food boxes for Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter holidays.

“We applaud each of these young people for their exemplary volunteer service,” said Prudential Chairman and Chief Executive Officer John Strangfeld. “They use their time and talents to make a meaningful difference in their communities, and we hope their example inspires others to do the same.”

JoAnn Bartoletti, the executive director of the National Association of Secondary School Principals, said, “By going above and beyond in their volunteer service, these students have brought positive change to communities across the country.

“Congratulations to each and every one of them on this well-deserved honor.”

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