WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.) welcomed two Delaware students to his Washington office today to congratulate them on receiving the 2011 Prudential Spirit of Community Awards. Charter School of Wilmington senior Jon Austin Osborne and Cab Calloway School of the Arts sixth-grader Genevieve Spence were among 102 young people from across the nation to receive the award.

“It was a true honor to meet with these outstanding young people,” Senator Coons said. “I was impressed to learn about their humanitarian efforts and their deep commitment to serving their communities. They are true role models for their peers and I offered them my sincerest congratulations.”

Osborne co-founded the student-run Humanitarian League of Delaware to encourage young people to participate in humanitarian activities and now has 80 students involved in both local and international volunteer projects. Members of the organization, including Osborne, have traveled to Haiti to organize a children’s summer camp, assist with food distribution and to help at a clinic.

Spence, after learning about the benefits of mental and physical exercises for Alzheimer’s patients, came up with the idea of donating Wii video game systems to local nursing homes. She raised money by making and selling friendship bracelets, holding a garage sale and soliciting a donation from Best Buy. She has also spent time visiting with and playing with the residents. 

The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards is the United States’ largest youth recognition program based exclusively on volunteer community service. The awards were created in 1995 by Prudential in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals to honor middle and high school students at the local, state and national level for outstanding service to others.