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Utah's top youth volunteers of 2017 selected by national program

Feb 15, 2017 11:16AM

Rebekah Reno, 16, of Orem was named one of Utah’s top two youth volunteers of 2017 by the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, a nationwide program honoring young people for outstanding acts of volunteerism. As a State Honoree, Rebekah will receive $1,000, an engraved silver medallion and an all-expense-paid trip in early May to Washington, D.C., where they will join the top two honorees from each of the other states and the District of Columbia for four days of national recognition events. During the trip, 10 students will be named America’s top youth volunteers of 2017.

The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, now in its 22nd year, is conducted by Prudential Financial in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP).

Rebekah, a senior at Freedom Preparatory Academy, mentored five younger girls last summer as a counselor at the Utah Valley University’s “LeadHERship” Conference. As an active member of her school’s student council, Rebekah was delighted when organizers asked her to participate in the conference, which was designed to empower young girls as they progress in their education. “This was the first year it was offered by UVU; this meant that being part of the first group of counselors, we set a precedent for the coming years of the program,” Rebekah said.

She and her fellow counselors attended training sessions the weekend before the weeklong conference. Then she and a partner were placed in charge of five girls, ranging in age from 11 to 13. As a counselor, Rebekah helped the girls through each day’s activities and encouraged them to develop their strengths, abilities and talents. At the end of the each day, the counselors reviewed with the girls what they had learned, including confidence-building, teamwork, etiquette, and public speaking. On the last day of the conference parents were invited to hear about the progress their daughter had made. “I know that my girls left empowered and excited as they looked forward to entering junior high,” she said.

Freedom Preparatory Academy has a long history of cultivating leadership skills through curriculum and after school activities. The school opened its doors in September 2003. Now, with well over a decade of distinguished progress and achievement, this vision has been realized and thousands of students have flourished in their pursuit of educational excellence.

Empowering students to become effective communicators and critical thinkers is Freedom Preparatory Academy’s goal. Our objective includes molding ethical and passionate leaders through a broad, rigorous curriculum, participation in school activities, and community outreach. With a focus on college preparation and life-long learning, students will experience a challenging atmosphere while building a foundation for global success. Freedom Prep focuses on making a positive and measurable impact in the local community and beyond by providing an education of the highest quality to students who will go on to become leaders in their families, community, business, and society. 

Freedom Preparatory continues to meet the expectations and desires of conscientious parents seeking a personalized, parent-involved educational organization. Finding leaders, governing board members, teachers and employees who pioneer new paths and work together to build, create and support a twenty-first century vision and mission continues to hallmark a thriving and growing K-12 organization today.

Freedom Prep continues to provide a rich and challenging college prep educational program for Utah Valley families. Please visit the schools and see what Freedom Prep can offer your family. Visit www.freedomprep.net for campus locations and information.

For information on all of this year’s Prudential Spirit of Community State Honorees and Distinguished Finalists, visits http://spirit.prudential.com or www.nassp.org/spirit