Prudential Spirit of Community Awards

The Director of Compass is an approved certifier for the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards Program. Each November, Compass will select one middle school student (5th-8th grade) and one high school student (9th-12th grade) as Local Honorees. Being a Local Honoree is a noteworthy accomplishment for a student’s personal resume and future college application, and Local Honorees are considered by a state-wide panel for state-level honors.

The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards is “largest youth recognition program based exclusively on volunteer community service.” The program was established in 1995 by Prudential in conjunction with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), to honor middle school and high school students for “outstanding service to others at the local, state and national level.”

  • Getting Started
    Students must apply online through the International Scholarship and Tuition Service (ISTS), the administrative partner of Prudential. Students may begin the application process through the following link.
    Applications for Children Under Age 13
    If a student is under age 13, a parent must be designated in the initial online information page. The page will ask for a parent’s name, parent’s contact information, child’s birthdate, child’s e-mail address and a Parent Consent Code.
    What is a Parent Consent Code?
    If a student is under age 13, his/her parent will need to CALL the ISTS to receive a one-time code. The parent must call 866-664-0238. The parent will have to provide his/her first and last name, child’s e-mail address, and child’s birthdate as entered in the initial online information more. The parent will enter the furnished alpha-numeric code in order for the rest of the application to be accessible by the student. A parent must call to request a separate code for each child under age 13.
  • The Application
    The online application can be accessed at the following link after the parent consent is complete (for applicants under age 13).
    Basic Application Information/Applicant Tab
    The Applicant tab in the online application asks for basic contact information for the student: Name, Address, Phone Number, Date of Birth (previously entered in initial information page), Gender, Grade in School, Parent Name(s), and Parent Contact Information. For “Grade in School” the application should use his/her grade if enrolled in traditional school.
    School Information
    The Applicant tab asks for school information. The applicant should enter state (Virginia) and city (Herndon). A pull down menu will list several Herndon schools. Compass is not among them. Instead, the applicant should select “Not in List.” A field will be added allowing the student to enter the school name. School name must be entered as “Compass Homeschool Enrichment”. Enter this school name exactly so the application can be linked to Compass. Using “homeschool” or any other name will not place applicant in the Compass pool for consideration. Enter zip code 22124 for Compass.
    Activity Tab/General
    The applicant will have to provide some identifying information about his/her community service activity. If the applicant has participated in multiple activities, he/she should select one to be featured and considered for the award. Multiple service activities cannot be “bundled” for consideration for this award. The applicant should be prepared to answer the following general information about the his/her select activity:
    – Category of the activity (education, healthy futures, environmental stewardship, veterans/military families, economic opportunity, disaster relief services, or other)
    – Role in activity (started the activity on my own, worked with a partner or group to start the project, played a leadership role in an activity started by someone else, one of several/many participants, other)
    – How many hours did you spend on this activity?
    – Month/year activity started?
    – Are you still involved with the activity?
    – Did the activity involve fundraising?
    Activity Tab/Written Responses
    The applicant must provide short written responses to several questions about his/her activity:
    – Summarize your activity (200 word limit)
    – Inspiration/motivation to do activity (300 word limit)
    – Effort required (300 word limit)
    – Impact (300 word limit)
    – Personal Growth (300 word limit)
    Application Certification
    On the Certification tab of the online application, the applicant must list the Certifier. In order to be linked to Compass, the applicant must list the following (spelled exactly):
    – Certifier First Name = “Jennifer”
    – Certified Last Name = “Grove-Bradshaw”
    – Select “School Principal” from the pull down menu that asks, “This person is a…”
    Electronic Request
    To make sure that the Compass Director is notified about the application, the applicant should “Create a Supplemental Request.” On the Certification tab, under the heading “Instructions”, applicant should click to the link to “Create Request.” There, the applicant should enter the following (spelled exactly):
    – Name = “Jennifer Grove-Bradshaw”
    – E-mail = “”
  • Eligibility
    Applicants must be in 5th – 12th grade by November 6 of the application year. For homeschooled students, “grade” shall be the public school grade equivalent that a student would be enrolled in, by age and without acceleration, grade-skipping, or consideration of academic level, achievement or ability scores.
    Recognized volunteers must be US citizens or legal residents of the US.
    Compass Status
    Applicants must be current, enrolled Compass students.
    State of Residency
    Compass students who are residents of Virginia, Maryland, or the District of Columbia may apply. The Compass Honorees will be considered in the applicant pool from their home state.
    Volunteer Activity
    The applicant must have been engaged in the volunteer activity within twelve (12) months of the date of application.
    Not Eligible
    Children whose parents are employed by Prudential, NASSP, or any of their affiliate or partner programs are not eligible.
  • What Counts as Volunteer Service?
    Type of Community Service
    Volunteers may perform any type of community service that they wish. Major service categories include: education, healthy futures, environmental stewardship, veterans and military families, economic opportunity, disaster services, and more.
    Double Dipping/Double Counting Service Hours
    Community service activities used for the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards do not need to be uniquely completed for this award. Hours completed through, or required by, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Eta Sigma Alpha, church, PVSA, or similar civic or community initiatives, may be featured in the application, even if they were performed for or considered for another award or recognition.

    Self-Organized Work
    Community service work does not need to be done through an organization or established program. Self-initiated service work such as an individual’s or family’s commitment to cleaning up a park or stream, can be counted for this award. Compass may ask for additional details or documentation on self-initiated projects.
    How many hours?
    There is not a minimum number of required hours for the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards.

  • What Does Not Count as Volunteer Service?
    Court-Ordered Service
    Volunteer service mandated by the court cannot be counted.
    Paid Work
    Volunteers must not receive any compensation or stipend for the community service hours.
    Monetary/In-Kind Donations
    Monetary or in-kind donations to an organization do not have a volunteer hour equivalency and cannot be counted.
    Unpaid Student Work
    Not all unpaid student work can be counted as volunteer, community service work. Unpaid work in a for-profit place of business, such as an office, is considered an internship experience and shall not count as volunteer work because the student’s effort would benefit a business rather than a charitable effort.
    Work for Family
    Unpaid work for family is usually not counted as volunteer work. Mowing the lawn for your parents or washing a car for your grandparents is considered a contribution to your own family and not volunteer work that benefits the community. Work in the family’s business is not usually considered volunteer work. If you believe that there should be an exception, contact the Compass certifier.
    Live-In Exchange Student
    Activities and interactions with an exchange student who is living in your home is generally not considered volunteer work. Eating, running errands, taking trips, going on outings, and doing ordinary activities of daily life when accompanied by an exchange student does not transform such activities into a volunteer role (since you would likely be doing these things anyway, without an exchange student.)
    Marches, Rallies, Protests
    Participation in marches, rallies, or protests shall not count as volunteer hours.
    Attendance/Participation in an Organization
    A student’s attendance at regular meetings or participation in field trips, such as a Girl Scout meeting or Boy Scout field trip, do not count as volunteer hours. However, service projects or charitable work done through one of these organizations, such as a youth group visit to a nursing home, can be counted.
    Hours spent on fundraising activities for a member’s own organization cannot be counted as service. For example, time spent earning money through the sale of Boy Scout popcorn, Girl scout cookies, honor society pizza day, etc., cannot be counted as community service. However, efforts expended to raise money for another charitable organization, such as a carwash or lemonade stand to raise funds for the animal shelter or cancer society, could be counted.
  • The Award
    Local (i.e. School) Honoree
    Compass can select one middle school student (5th-8th grade) and one high school student (9th-12th grade) as Local Honorees. Local Honorees will receive Certificates of Achievement and will advance to state-level judging.
    State Level
    One middle school student and one high school student from each state and DC will be selected as State Honorees. State Honorees receive an engraved silver medallion, an award of $1000 and an all-expense paid trip with a parent or guardian to DC. In addition, 2-10 applicants from each state will be selected to receive Distinguished Finalist honors and an bronze medallion. Select runners-up at the state level will receive a Certificate of Excellence.
    National Level
    Five middle school and five high school students will be selected as National Honorees. Each National Honoree will receive $5000, a gold medallion, a crystal trophy for their school, and a $5000 grant for the charitable organization of their choice.
  • Key Dates
    Deadline for student to complete online application
    November 1, 2019
    Deadline for Compass to Certify Local Honorees for state-level competition
    November 8, 2019
    State Honorees Notified
    Mid-February, 2020

For more information or questions on the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, see the program website or contact Compass.