Abbigail Adler, 14, of Greenville was named one of North Carolina's top youth volunteers of 2016 by The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, a nationwide program honoring young people for outstanding acts of volunteerism. The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, now in its 21st year, is conducted by Prudential Financial in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals.
Abbigail, an eighth-grader at The Oakwood School, launched an online business selling jewelry and personalized items to raise money for organizations that work to end violence in the Middle East. In school, Abbigail learned about the Middle East and clashes between cultures and religions in that volatile part of the world. “This violence does nothing but kill innocent people and worsen relationships between different cultures,” she said. “I want to do something to change that.”
As someone who loves art, Abbigail saw an opportunity to use her artistic skills and creativity to promote peace in the Middle East. She used her own savings and some donations to start her business, then began creating beautiful and useful products, built a website to sell them (www.artsforisrael.org), and designed a logo and business cards.
Abbigail spends at least five hours a week making her artistic creations, filling orders and updating and marketing her online store. At the end of each month, she donates her profits – more than $500 so far – to organizations that, according to her research, “come together to stop the devastation and violence on a large scale, and promote peace in our world today.”
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As a State Honoree, Abbigail will receive $1,000, an engraved silver medallion and an all-expense-paid trip in early May to Washington, D.C., where she will join the top honorees from 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 2016.