Friday, May 18, 2012

Local teen is one of America’s top 10 youth volunteers of the year

Samantha Kerker, a junior at Atlantic Community High School, has been recognized by The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards as one of America’s top 10 youth volunteers for 2012, out of 26,000 applicants nationwide.

The 17th annual event took place in Washington, D.C., on Sunday, May 6, where Kerker received a $5,000 scholarship, an engraved gold medallion, a crystal trophy for her school, and a $5,000 grant from the Prudential Foundation, which she plans to donate to the international relief and development agency Food For The Poor.

“I still have tears pouring down my eyes from winning,” said Kerker. “I am so proud to be able to represent my school and my community on a national level.  I am honored to win this award from Prudential.” 

Kerker was bitten by the philanthropic bug at the age of 15. That’s when she chose to forgo her desire to buy a car when she turned 16 to fulfill the dream of homeownership for a destitute family she had never met. Investing money she earned since the sixth-grade in tie-dye materials and clothing, she enlisted the support of family and friends to sell her goods. In December 2010, Kerker and her mother Sindee traveled to Nicaragua with Food For The Poor to see her dream fulfilled. That’s where she got to meet the family who received the house she fundraised to build.

Inspired to do more, Kerker partnered with Food For The Poor and has spent the past two years spreading awareness about the severity of poverty in developing countries. She met with Florida State Representative Bill Hager and former Palm Beach County superintendent of schools, Bill Malone, to discuss the formation of Students For The Poor chapters in Palm Beach County high schools.

The Boca Raton resident was also named Florida’s top high school youth volunteer in 2012 for her initiative to start Students For The Poor chapters in Palm Beach County high schools. Students For The Poor is a unique student outreach effort initiated by students and developed by Food For The Poor. Chapters are based on high school and college campuses throughout the United States.

“All of us here are so very proud of Samantha,” said Angel Aloma, Executive Director of Food For The Poor. “It’s so encouraging to see the gift of giving being planted into the hearts and minds of the young people who are participating in our Students For The Poor chapters. With their help, we can continue to work toward breaking the cycle of poverty.”

To support the building initiative of Palm Beach County’s Students For The Poor chapters, tax-deductible donations can be made through the charity’s secure website at

Food For The Poor, named by The Chronicle of Philanthropy as the largest international relief and development organization in the nation, does much more than feed millions of the hungry poor in 17 countries of the Caribbean and Latin America. This interdenominational Christian ministry provides emergency relief assistance, clean water, medicines, educational materials, homes, support for orphans and the aged, skills training and micro-enterprise development assistance, with more than 96 percent of all donations going directly to programs that help the poor.      
Wanda Wright
Food For The Poor
Public Relations
954-427-2222 x 6079

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