WASHINGTON D.C. (WOAY)- West Virginia’s top two youth volunteers of 2018, Kayla McKinney, 18, of Princeton and Lakyn Campbell, 13, of Parkersburg, were honored in the nation’s capital last night for their outstanding volunteer service during the 23rd annual presentation of The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards.
Kayla and Lakyn – along with 100 other top youth volunteers from across the country – each received $1,000 awards and personal congratulations from Olympic gold medalist and World Cup champion Lindsey Vonn at an award ceremony and gala dinner reception held at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History.
The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program, sponsored by Prudential Financial in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), named Kayla and Lakyn West Virginia’s top high school and middle level youth volunteers in February. In addition to their cash awards, they each received an engraved silver medallion and an all-expense-paid trip with a parent to Washington, D.C., for four days of recognition events.
Kayla, a senior at McKinney Homeschool, has performed her own songs and shared her struggle with bullying at schools, after-school programs and community centers in numerous cities over the past three years, imparting messages of kindness, hope and empowerment to more than 25,000 young people.
Lakyn, a seventh-grader at Jackson Middle School, has conducted an annual collection drive at her school over the past two years to provide paper products and personal care items for a Good Samaritan Center, following several years of other volunteer activities. Lakyn started volunteering at age 4, helping to raise money on a Relay for Life team after she lost her brother to cancer.
The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program was created in 1995 to identify and recognize young people for outstanding volunteer service – and, in so doing, inspire others to volunteer, too. In the past 23 years, the program has honored more than 120,000 young volunteers at the local, state and national level.