Livingston student honored for outstanding volunteer service at award presentation

Photo Courtesy of Harold Banks
New Jersey distinguished finalist Avika Bansal with Prudential presenter Nunzio Martucci.

LIVINGSTON, NJ — Avika Bansal of Livingston, a sophomore at Livingston Senior High School, was presented with an engraved bronze medallion to recognize her selection as a distinguished finalist for New Jersey in the 2017 Prudential Spirit of Community Awards on March 21.

Bansal has been collecting and donating essential items for people in need since she was very young, organizing drives that have gathered 5,000 pairs of shoes, 1,000 pounds of food, toiletries and more. She began her efforts in 2009 to help shoeless children, like those she had seen on a trip to India. She has since dedicated more than 1,000 hours to her collection.

The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, conducted by Prudential Financial in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals, represent the United States’ largest youth recognition program based exclusively on volunteer community service. All middle and high schools in the United States, along with all Girl Scout councils, county 4-H organizations, Red Cross chapters, YMCAs and affiliates of HandsOn Network, were eligible to select a student or member for a local Prudential Spirit of Community Award last November. Two state honorees — one middle and one high school student — plus a select number of distinguished finalists from each state and the District of Columbia were selected based on criteria such as personal initiative, effort, impact and personal growth.