Taylor Davis, 13, of Palmetto Bay will be featured in a new television public service announcement (PSA) to be broadcast in cities across the country this fall to promote youth volunteerism and the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards.
Davis was named Florida’s top middle level youth volunteer for 2010 by the prestigious awards program earlier this year for single-handedly securing donations of $30,000 worth of art supplies to support her school’s cash-strapped art program.
The PSA, which can be viewed at <http://spirit.community.com>, is being distributed to 250 television stations in major cities across the United States. It is designed to alert young television viewers to the importance and rewards of volunteering in their communities, and to encourage current volunteers to apply for recognition through the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards. Also appearing in the PSA are several other Prudential Spirit of Community honorees for 2010.
Young volunteers can apply for the awards online at <http://spirit.prudential.com> or at <www.principals.org/spirit>. Applications for the 2011 program must be completed by Nov. 1 and then submitted to a middle or high school principal, Girl Scout council, county 4-H agent, American Red Cross chapter, YMCA, or affiliate of Hands On Network. Those without Internet access can get a paper version of the application form by calling 1-877-525-8491 toll-free.
Local honorees are chosen in early November and then submitted to a state-level judging committee. The top two candidates from each state — one high school student and one middle level student — are named State Honorees in February, receiving $1,000 awards, engraved silver medallions and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, DC, with a parent for four days of national recognition events in May. Ten National Honorees are named at that time.
Taylor won her award for single-handedly securing donations of $30,000 worth of art supplies to support her school’s cash-strapped art program. Taylor knew the budget was tight and that teachers often had to pay for art supplies themselves.
“Would my wonderful art program be the next to disappear?” she said.
So, she spent last summer trying to build her school’s inventory of art supplies.
“The inspiration was to help my teachers and fellow classmates to have the tools they needed to create freely,” David said.
She began by researching national and international art supply companies. Armed with the names and addresses of the CEOs, she sent handwritten letters to 45 companies in the U.S. and Europe, asking for supplies of any kind and promising to display their logos prominently on any donations. Within one week, Taylor started receiving positive responses. In September, Taylor held a surprise presentation for teachers and students in the school auditorium, with 75 boxes of donated supplies. She also organized car washes that raised $500 to help classmates from less affluent families pay for art fees. Her journey has led Davis to create a nonprofit organization, “The Traveling Canvas,” aiming to provide art education to children all over the world.