The Marion County 4-H program in Fairmont nominated Ridenour for the award. A senior at North Marion High School, she works on numerous volunteer projects to promote public awareness about diabetes, the environment and literacy. Inspired by a close friend who died from diabetes, Ridenour prepared a program about diabetes symptoms, prevention and care, which she has presented to her school, church and community organizations. In addition, she is involved in a broad range of recycling and environmental preservation projects and collects reading materials for soldiers serving overseas.
Monongah Middle School student Shilo Summers promotes public awareness about the importance of guide dogs and the work these animals perform by being active with the Pilot Dog Association. Summers researched and prepared a series of public-education talks and materials by training to work with and trust a guide dog. She also has persuaded local public officials to install Braille signs in a government building.
Both Ridenour and Summers will each receive a $1,000 award and an engraved silver medallion. Both will travel to Washington, D.C. in April for the programs’ national recognition events.
The program also has recognized two other West Virginia students as Distinguished Finalists. Kindra Whitlatch, 14, of Mineral Wells, helps with her community library’s summer reading program. She has entertained children by performing as a clown and leading in games. Additionally, she helps plan and prepare materials, reads to children and cleans the library every afternoon. Brianne Williams, 17, of Williamsburg is a senior at Greenbrier East High School. Through her West Virginia University Extension 4-H program, Williams has taught healthy nutrition and lifestyle habits to young children and their parents who reside in low-income housing developments. She also helps prepare nutritional snacks and recreational activities for children at 4-H camp. Both finalists will receive bronze medallions.
The Prudential Spirit of the Community Awards constitutes America’s largest youth recognition program based exclusively on volunteerism. They awards are designed to emphasize the importance our nation places on service to others and to encourage young Americans of all backgrounds to contribute to the communities.