Houston, Texas (NAPSI) - Every year, an awards program honors a class of young heroes - young people who are committed at an early age to making the world a better place to live.

The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program honors middle and high school students across theU.S.for volunteering in communities at home and abroad.

The good news is that the search is on forAmerica’s top youth volunteers of 2013. You can be part of the selection process by encouraging eligible young people to apply.

The Process

Prudential Spirit of Community Awards are granted to youth volunteers at the local, state and national level. From early September through November 6, students in grades 5−12 are invited to apply for the 2013 awards if they have volunteered in the past year. Applications are available at www.spirit.prudential.com.

Local Honorees are selected by school principals, Girl Scout councils, county 4-H groups, American Red Cross chapters, YMCAs and affiliates of the HandsOn Network. In February, several students in each state and theDistrict of Columbiaare named runners-up, and one middle level and one high school student are named State Honorees. Those 102 honorees receive $1,000 awards, silver medallions and all-expenses-paid trips toWashington,D.C.in May for special recognition events.

InWashington, a national selection committee selects 10 State Honorees asAmerica’s top youth volunteers. National Honorees receive $5,000 awards, gold medallions, crystal trophies for their nominating schools or organizations, and $5,000 grants from The Prudential Foundation for a charitable organization of their choice.

The 2012 Honorees

The 2012 National Honorees include an 8th-grader who raised money to build a home for orphans in Uganda, a 15-year-old girl who helped provide children living in poverty in India and the U.S. with resources ranging from computer labs to dental clinics, and a 7th-grader whose nonprofit organization has collected and distributed more than 175,000 toys over the past five years for child victims of house fires and other natural disasters.

The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program was created in 1995 by Prudential Financial and the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP). The awards constituteAmerica’s largest youth recognition program based solely on volunteer service.

For more information about the awards and the honorees or to learn more about applying, visit www.spirit.prudential.com.