Written by Ozaukee Press
Wednesday, 04 March 2015 21:34
Grafton senior given Prudential Spirit award as one of state’s top two youth volunteers
A Grafton High School senior has been named one of Wisconsin’s top two youth volunteers by The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, a nationwide program honoring young people for acts of volunteerism.
Marlaina Perelshtein was nominated by her school for the award, which includes a $1,000 prize, an engraved silver medallion and an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C.
Perelshtein founded a Grafton High School volunteer group that gives students the chance to participate in service activities with nonprofit groups.
She said that while volunteering at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin when she was 12, she met a boy waiting for a heart transplant and realized the impact volunteers can have on those who are sick or in need.
“It was at that moment that I knew more people needed to get involved as there is strength in numbers,” she said.
Perelshtein continued her vol-unteer efforts by chairing a committee for a March of Dimes fundraising walk, assisted with Children’s Hospital’s annual prom and singing to young patients in a pediatric cancer ward. Eventually, she formed the Teens on the Scene volunteer group at Grafton High.
When the group meets, each member must propose at least one service opportunity. Many of the opportunities result from Perelshtein’s close ties to organizations such as Children’s Hospital, the March of Dimes, Children’s Miracle Network and Make-A-Wish Foundation.
The Teens on the Scene approach has been so successful that there are four more TOS chapters in Wisconsin.
“My friends frequently question my love of volunteering,” Perelshtein said. “What they don’t realize is that volunteering can be just as fun as any other activity.”
The other Wisconsin youth volunteer chosen by The Prudential Spirit of Community of Awards was Lia Haile, 11, of Manitowoc who created a community club of more than 600 adults and children.
The two Wisconsin award winners will travel to Washington, D.C., in early May, joining the top two honorees from each state and the District of Columbia for four days of national recognition events.
During the trip, 10 students will be named America’s top youth volunteers for 2015.