OKLAHOMA CITY – Two teens from Jenks and Okmulgee were named Tuesday as Oklahoma's top two youth volunteers for 2011 by The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards.
Sixteen-year-old Parth Singh was nominated by Jenks High School in Jenks, and 12-year-old Timothy Reeves was nominated by the Okmulgee County 4-H in Okmulgee.
As State Honorees, each 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 several days of national recognition events. Ten of them will be named America's top youth volunteers for 2011 at that time.
Parth Singh, a senior at Jenks High School, is an active Key Club member who helped create a youth chapter of Habitat for Humanity in Tulsa and organized "15 Days of Kindness" in his town last fall.
While he was growing up in India, Parth's family stressed service to others; his grandparents were followers of Mahatma Gandhi and his mother had been involved in serving the community all her adult life.
When Parth arrived in Tulsa, he joined his school's Key Club and began volunteering with Habitat for Humanity.
Parth also was awarded the 2011 Nestle Very Best in Youth award.
The Nestle sponsored biennial program was created to spotlight the best in youth leadership, the program identifies teens whose efforts are making a profound impact in lives other than their own.
Singh is one of the 25 winners in the United States this year and the first one ever to win this award from Oklahoma in the program's 12 year history.
Timothy Reeves, a sixth-grader at Reeves Homeschool Academy and a member of the Okmulgee County 4-H, has raised more than $4,600 for a local Ronald McDonald House over the past three years.
Timothy started raising money for his cause when he joined 4-H three years ago and decided he wanted to "pay back" all that was done for his sister.
In addition, the program judges recognized four other Oklahoma students as Distinguished Finalists for their impressive community service activities. Each will receive an engraved bronze medallion:
Katy Crocker, 15, of Tulsa, a member of the Tulsa County 4-H and a homeschooled high school sophomore, was just 10 years old when she founded SHARE (Selfless Heroes Appreciation and Relief Effort), through which she has delivered more than 3,600 home-baked cookies for firefighters, police officers and Ronald McDonald House.
Emily Morrow, 17, of Norman, a member of the Cleveland County 4-H and a homeschooled high school junior, is a teen representative for "Health Rocks!," a national 4-H program that teaches youth how to resist dangerous behaviors.
Kenneth Ramsey, 18, of McAlester, a senior at McAlester High School, founded his school district's first paper recycling program, "Buffalos Are Wiping Out Waste."
Sheyda Zakerion, 18, of Tulsa, a junior at Union High School, served with a small team of teen volunteers on the Youth Philanthropy Initiative, a three-year service program for which the team received a $50,000 grant to tackle an important issue.
"These award recipients have proven that young people across America are critical to the future of our neighborhoods, our nation, and our world," said John R. Strangfeld, chairman and CEO of Prudential Financial. "Each and every one of these honorees deserve our respect and admiration, and we hope by shining a light on them, they will continue to serve as an example for others."
While in Washington, D.C., Singh and Reeves will tour the capital's landmarks, attend a gala awards ceremony at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History.