Victoria Kosinski, 18, of Kinston was named North Carolina’s top high school youth volunteer of 2017 by The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, a nationwide program honoring young people for outstanding acts of volunteerism. She will receive $1,000, an engraved silver medallion and an all-expense-paid trip in early May to Washington, D.C., for four days of national recognition events. During the trip, 10 state honorees will be named America’s top youth volunteers of 2017.
Victoria, a senior at Kinston High School, taught a self-defense course and coordinated the renovation of a new domestic violence shelter in her community as part of her multifaceted program to empower women and educate the public about domestic violence. With a second-degree black belt in tae kwon do, she began by teaching unarmed self-defense skills to 60 women, using a PowerPoint presentation that included information on domestic violence and what to do when faced with an armed intruder. After learning that a building had been donated to the United Way, Victoria volunteered to lead a renovation project and turn it into an 18-bed facility for women and children fleeing abuse. Victoria was nominated by Girl Scouts North Carolina Coastal Pines in Raleigh
Finalists from the Triangle were:
Hannah Scanlon, 17, of Raleigh, a senior at Millbrook High School, founded “Music is Instrumental,” a program that works to enhance music education by running the North Raleigh Honor Band for middle schoolers and providing related service opportunities for its high school mentors. Hannah wanted to provide children with music opportunities as robust as the ones in her old hometown, and has since provided dozens of middle and high school musicians with opportunities to learn and grow.
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Patterson Sheehan, 18, of Raleigh, a senior at St. David’s School, has raised money to travel on service trips to Ethiopia, Guatemala and Rwanda, where she provided services including child care and building a roof of a school. Patterson, who developed a stronger sense of community after her family adopted a young boy from Ethiopia, has also volunteered to coach the middle school boys soccer team at her school.
The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards represents the United States’ largest youth recognition program based solely on volunteer service.