MORRISTOWN, NJ  – Unity Charter School student Andrew Eppedio of Landing, has been honored for his exemplary volunteer service with a President’s Volunteer Service Award. 

​The award, which recognizes Americans of all ages who have volunteered significant amounts of their time to service their communities and their country, was granted by The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program on behalf of the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation.  Unity Charter School nominated Andrew for national honors this fall in recognition of his volunteer service.  

​During the summer of 2016, Andrew volunteered full-time for six weeks alongside the educators of the Audubon Society to help teach kids (K-3) about the environment.  His role was hands-on, helping implement the curriculum, indoor and outdoor activities, animal handling, as well as basic care for the classroom and students (cleaning, prepping snacks, organizing, and animal care). His work totaled over 205 hours and helped to inspire some of the 175 children who attended, through hands-on experience with the watershed, habitats, ecosystems, plants and animals.

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​On his application Andrew said, “My earliest childhood memories involve looking under rocks for insects, exploring tide pools for sea creatures, identifying birds, and hunting for as many plants as I could find. I have always been an environmentalist, and it’s the only thing I can dream of for my future. I don’t know if I will be the next great primatologist like Jane Goodall, a sustainable innovator like Elon Musk, an iconic documentarian like David Attenborough, or bloom into a future steward like John James Audubon.”

​Andrew is a talented, intelligent young man, who at a young age has a global view of the world and an innate concern and care for the environment and those around him, said Connie Sanchez, Executive Director at Unity Charter School.  

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

​“The recipients of these awards demonstrate that young people across American are making remarkable contribution to the health and vitality of their communities,” said John Strangfeld, chairman and CEO of Prudential Financial.  “By recognizing these students and placing a spotlight on their volunteer activities, we hope to motivate others to consider how they can also contribute to their community.”

​“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 applications were distributed nationwide last September through middle level and high schools, Girl Scouts councils, county 4-H organizations, American Red Cross chapters, YMCA and HandsON Network affiliates.  These schools and officially designated local organizations nominated Local Honorees, whose applications were advanced for state-level judging.  In addition to granting President’s Volunteer Service Awards on behalf of the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation, The Prudential Spirit of the Community Service Awards selected State Honorees, Distinguished Finalists and Certificate of Excellence recipients.  Volunteer activities were judged on criteria including personal initiative, creativity, effort, impact, and personal growth.