Montclair High Senior Honored with Presidents’ Volunteer Service Award

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Nikolas Di Donato, age 18, a Montclair High School senior, has been honored with a Presidents’ Volunteer Service Award for his exemplary volunteer service

Buddy Evans, YMCA of Montclair CEO, Nikolas Di Donato and Tammy Como, YMCA of Montclair Association Aquatics Director. Photo: Gosia Smerdel, for YMCA of Montclair.

The award, which recognizes Americans of all ages who have volunteered significant amounts of their time to serve their communities and their country, was granted by The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program. Buddy Evans, the President & CEO of the YMCA of Montclair, wrote a recommendation for Nikolas for national honors this fall in recognition of his volunteer service.

Nikolas has an extensive background of volunteer service. At his parish, St. Teresa of Calcutta, he served as a teaching assistant, and team youth leader. He also served as a teen missionary for the parish, working with Mustard Seed Communities, a nonprofit organization dedicated to caring for the most vulnerable populations in society internationally. He went to Latin America over the summer as a missionary to work with severely disabled orphans who were confined to wheelchairs. And, he has volunteered since grade school teaching immigrants and refugees English, helping them to assimilate to this country.

The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, sponsored by Prudential Financial in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), recognizes middle level and high school students across America for outstanding volunteer service.

Nikolas is an impressive young man,” said YMCA of Montclair President & CEO Buddy Evans. In addition to all of his community service, Nikolas works as a lifeguard and swim instructor at the YMCA of Montclair, where he has also touched lives and made a difference.

“Across the United States, young volunteers are doing remarkable things to contribute to the well-being of people and communities around them,” said Prudential CEO Charles Lowrey. “Prudential is honored to celebrate the contributions of these students, and we hope their stories inspire others to volunteer too.”

“Demonstrating civic responsibility through volunteerism is an important part of life,” said NASSP Executive Director JoAnn Bartoletti. “These honorees practice a lesson we hope all young people, as well as adults, will emulate.”

Prudential Spirit of Community Award application details were distributed nationwide last September through middle level and high schools, Girl Scout councils, county 4-H organizations, American Red Cross chapters, YMCAs and Affiliates of Points of Light’s HandsOn Network. These were advanced for state-level judging. In addition to granting President’s Volunteer Service Awards, The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards selected State Honorees, Distinguished Finalists and Certificate of Excellence recipients. Volunteer activities were judged on criteria including initiative, effort, impact and personal growth.

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