Kelly Aarons of Bridgeport, a student at Lauralton Hall, has been honored for her exemplary volunteer service with a President's Volunteer Service Award.
The award, which recognizes Americans of all ages who have volunteered significant amounts of their time to serve their communities and their country, was granted by The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program on behalf of President Barack Obama.
Kelly has spent more than 300 hours teaching and mentoring elementary level students. She said she loves working with children and wanted to make an impact on the students at the school. She had a knack in bonding with the children to bring out the best in them as she helped them with their schoolwork, improved their writing skills through fun activities and even took them on nature walks to teach the young students about the world around them.
“I was motivated to do this volunteer work because I love children and they are our future,”  Kelly said. “There was never a day without a hug and seeing them thrive.”
The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, sponsored by Prudential Financial in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), recognizes middle level and high school students across America for outstanding volunteer service.
“The recipients of these awards demonstrate that young people across America are making remarkable contributions to the health and vitality of their communities,” said John Strangfeld, chairman and CEO of Prudential Financial. “By recognizing these students and placing a spotlight on their volunteer activities, we hope to motivate others to consider how they can also contribute to their community.”
Prudential Spirit of Community Award applications were distributed nationwide last September through middle level and high schools, Girl Scout councils, county 4-H organizations, American Red Cross chapters, YMCAs and HandsOn Network affiliates. These schools and officially designated local organizations nominated local honorees, whose applications were advanced for state-level judging.
Volunteer activities were judged on criteria including personal initiative, creativity, effort, impact and personal growth.