Two students from southern Maine, Katherine Elliott, 18, of Scarborough, and Marissa Bates, 10, of Westbrook, were recently honored in Washington, D.C., for their outstanding volunteer service. At the 18th annual presentation of the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, held at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum, Elliott and Bates each received $1,000 awards and personal congratulations from Oscar-winning actor Kevin Spacey and Olympic gold-medalist Allyson Felix. The students were two of 100 young volunteers recognized throughout the country.
Elliott, a senior at Scarborough High School, leads a community collection drive each month to benefit local charitable organizations. Each month, she selects a nonprofit to support, contacts officials to determine the organization’s needs, and then asks area teenagers to help her collect and deliver donations. She uses a Facebook page to communicate with her volunteers, and publicizes her drives by hanging posters and stuffing mailboxes.
To date, Elliott’s drives have benefited a Ronald McDonald House, the Salvation Army, the Preble Street Soup Kitchen, the Center for Grieving Children, the Animal Refuge League, the Lighthouse Shelter, Children’s Miracle Network and Big Brothers Big Sisters.
Graduating South Portland seniors got help with college expenses as the student council at Dora L. Small Elementary School raised $400 to benefit South Portland Dollars for Scholars.
On April 8, Small School students Sebastian Couturier and Annika Schmitt and principal Bonnie Hicks received the Riot Pride Award from the South Portland Board of Education for the fundraising work, which included a bake sale and a skate night at Happy Wheels. A check for the funds was presented by Couturier and Schmitt to Theresa Libby, the secretary of South Portland Dollars for Scholars.