The Pramerica Spirit of Community Awards

 

The 'Pramerica Spirit of Community Awards' (SOCA) is an "annual" nationwide search to identify and recognize school students who have made a positive difference in their communities through voluntary community service. SOCA was introduced in India in 2010 and over the last 3 years, more than 8,000 children from approx. 450 schools across the country have participated in this initiative.

SOCA is an extension of the 'Spirit of Community Awards', the largest youth recognition program in the United States based exclusively on volunteer community service. It was created in 1995 by our joint venture partner, Prudential Financial, Inc. (PFI) to honor middle level and high school students for outstanding service to their communities. The US program has seen participation from over 310,000 young Americans over the past 18 years.

Besides India, this awards program is also conducted in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and Ireland.

For more information

The program is open to students of Classes VI to XII who have been engaged in community service activities. This is open to both Individuals and Groups.

SOCA 2014 will be officially launched in July 2013. Application forms can be filled online. Click below to Apply Now.

You can also write to awards@dhflpramerica.com for a paper application.

AWARDS FOR INDIVIDUAL APPLICANTS :

2 National Honourees win –

  Certificates & Silver medals for 15 Finalists
  Certificates & Bronze medals for 35 Runner - ups
  Certificates of Participation for all

AWARDS FOR GROUP APPLICANTS :

The Best Group Entry wins –

  Certificates & Silver medals for 3 Finalists
  Certificates & Bronze medals for 7 Runner - ups
  Certificates of Participation for all applicants

National Winners (Individual Category)


Ms Shubhi Arora - St. Mark's Sr. Sec School, Janakpuri, New Delhi

Shubhi Arora, 16, a student of St. Mark's Sr. Sec School, Janakpuri, New Delhi, has dedicated a great deal of time and energy to warning others about the dangers of tobacco, and has played an active role in a youth-focused anti-tobacco campaign over the past two years.

Shubhi was first inspired to get involved when an NGO visited her school and played a video on the effects of tobacco consumption. The video deeply impacted her, and soon, Shubhi was spreading the word to her friends and acquaintances. She wanted to do something more, and a few years later, she joined Hridayshan, the non-governmental organization through which she now leads thousands of students as an active advocate of the 'No-Tobacco' campaign. Her work earned her an invitation from the Public Health Foundation of India to discuss the importance of school-based health programs before the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services.

Shubhi’s efforts to spread awareness about the dangers of tobacco use have also included creating posters, setting up a Web page, leading many anti-tobacco initiatives and participating in conferences. Recently, she put forth a proposal for “plain packaging” of tobacco products in India and gave a detailed analysis of its importance and outcome to a panel of dignitaries from the Indian government and the World Health Organization. Impressed by her presentation, the concerned authorities have alreadyforwarded the proposal to the government signatories.


Ms Samvitha S. Ram - American International School, Chennai

Samvitha S. Ram, 17, a student of American International School, Chennai, has helped provide more than 7,000 toys for thousands of children in need as the founder of a collection drive called ”ToyConnect” and a movement to set up “toy libraries” throughout Tamil Nadu. Samvitha began her drive by convincing eight private schools in Chennai to help collect gently-used toys. She then gave assembly announcements, issued teacher reminders, posted on Facebook and visited additional schools to convince others to donate as well. Two non-governmental organizations endorsed Samvitha’s initiative, and soon, she and her team of student coordinators collected more than 7,000 toys.

Instead of giving away the toys outright, Samvitha decided she wanted to do something more sustainable – something that, over time, would help many kids reap the educational benefits of unstructured and creative play. So she came up with the idea of setting up toy libraries across Tamil Nadu. She worked with local charitable organizations and schools to establish six toy libraries with about 500 toys each, and gave away the rest of the toys to local schools (baalwadis) for students in need. The idea began to spread throughout the city, and other schools set up toy libraries that other institutions and baalwadis could access. Parents showed their support for the campaign by encouraging their children to donate old toys. Goonj, one of the organizations that endorsed Samvitha’s toy drive, now plans to set up around 40 more toy libraries in baalwadis across Tamil Nadu.

Samvitha has been actively involved in raising awareness about the benefits of toys for a child's primary education. “Learning through imaginative play and use of these toys in storytelling by the teachers will be the key benefits and lasting impact of this campaign,” she said.

National Winners (Group Category)



Rachana School, Ahmedabad (Team - Aniket Ahir, Namra Patel, Raj Ailani, Rutvik Savaliya, Vallari Patil)

Aniket, a student of Rachana School, Ahmedabad, created a campaign to save the declining population of house-sparrows in his city. An avid participant of his school's Bird Club, Aniket was encouraged by his teachers to work towards increasing the population of house sparrows, which had slowly seen a decline due to unfavourable nesting conditions.

Aniket and his friends first conducted an extensive research on house sparrows, their nesting habits and the most common places of their presence. This study helped them realize that the fast disappearance of house sparrows had a reverse effect on the ecosystem and eventually the environment.

He then went about designing nest boxes that were ideal for sparrows to inhabit. The toughest step was to convince residents of different localities, especially sparrow-rich areas, to install these nest boxes. Through various drives, Aniket and his friends went to different residential societies, spreading awareness about the need to save and rehabilitate sparrows. Soon more and more residents came forward to place nest boxes in their homes and Aniket managed to place 70 such specially designed nest boxes in sparrow-rich areas.

His biggest achievement though has been at his own house. The nest box in his house was inhabited by two sparrows that eventually expanded their family. “I will never be able to forget the feeling of happiness when I saw the sparrow babies. This beautiful experience will always motivate me to continue with this project.”

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