Extraordinary teen volunteers honored in Prom Wishes scholarship competition

June 27, 2007 (PRLEAP.COM) Education News
Eleven outstanding teenagers were honored in the Prom Wishes Scholarship competition, which asked the students to describe their “Wish for a Better Tomorrow” as well as their efforts to serve their communities. Narrowing the field down from many impressive essays, Prom Wishes by P, a prom supply company based in South Whitley, Indiana, awarded ten students a $1,000 scholarship and one $5,000 scholarship.

Each of the scholarship winners had a unique volunteering experience, stemming from founding his or her own organization. Grand prize winner, Jessie Bullock of Overland Park, Kansas, created Culinary Kids, through which she taught nutrition and cooking skills to inner-city children in Kansas City.

Bullock’s passion for food and wellness lead to a recipe for success. With grant money, she was able to teach classes lasing about an hour and a half and focused on snacks that are “practical, fun, and nutritious.” Recipes ranged from frozen fruit popsicles in ice cube trays to English muffin pizzas. Bullock was also able to provide her students with “do it at home kits” containing ingredients and recipes so that the children could make the snacks at home after learning them in class. The kits help the children pass on their new knowledge to their families. Bullock found that her young pupils were receptive to healthy eating.

“As the classes progress, I have noticed that the kids are equally excited about the food pyramid as they are about the free snacks they are making,” Bullock wrote. “They have consistently improved in placing a piece of food in the food group it belongs to, and have a more complete understanding of what exactly a balanced diet consists of.”

Bullock’s high school and Culinary Kids were each awarded a $1000 gift certificate to Prom Wishes through the scholarship program. Bullock will attend Vanderbilt University.

The top 10 runners up were each awarded with $1,000 plus $150 gift certificates for their schools and organizations. The runners up included Rachel Albert of Ashland, Massachusetts who established “Food for Thought,” collecting children’s books for local food pantries. Albert will attend Muhlenberg College in Pennsylvania.

Patrick Chappell of Broomfield, Colorado is a victim of child molestation who founded “Patrick’s Shield,” sending volunteers into the community to teach children about the crime, how to protect themselves, and what to do if they become victims. He will attend Loyola University Chicago.

Amy Cole from Chickasha, Oklahoma created the Chickasha Homework Club, offering free tutoring after a successful math-tutoring program was cut from her school. She will attend Oklahoma State University.

Anamika Goyal of Marlboro, New Jersey, founded of the Focus Foundation which raises money to fund free eye clinics in India. Goyal will start at Duke University in the fall.

Eric Gant of Pisgah, Alabama taught over 196 students free music lessons when there was no music program available in his school system, resulting in over 200 volunteer hours. He will attend Auburn University.

Lindsay Hochman of Coral Springs, Florida founded Packtically New, providing underprivileged students with refurbished backpacks. Hochman will attend the University of Florida.

Aditi Jain of Cupertino, California created Project Literacy International (www.projectlit.org), which raises money to fund schools in foreign, impoverished countries. Jain will begin classes at the University of Pennsylvania this fall.

Sarah McGrath of Cincinnati, Ohio started Volleyball for the Cure, raising over $4,000 for the Susan G. Komen Foundation at her school’s volleyball games. McGrath will attend Ohio State.

Jason Sanchez of Prescott, Arizona established Youth Ventures Unlimited, recycling computer waste and keeping toxic waste matter out of landfills among other volunteering accomplishments. Sanchez will be the first member of his family to graduate from college. He will start at Yavapai College this fall with plans to later transfer to Harvard.

Michelle Vetovitz of Crestwood, Kentucky collected gently used soccer equipment for children who speak English as a second language (ESL). Vetovitz will attend Indiana University.

Prom Wishes, a branch of Stumps Prom, selected these eleven students from a pool of thousands, honoring them for their academic success and motivation to create meaningful community service experiences for themselves and their peers, proving their leadership skills and others-centered attitudes.

For more information and excerpts from the winning scholarship essays, please visit: http://www.promwishescatalog.com/service.cfm?page=scholarshipwinners07.