Senators Benjamin L. Cardin and
Barbara A. Mikulski and
(both D-Md.) today congratulated two Maryland students, Forrest Carroll, 17, of Lutherville and Victoria Brown, 14, of Reisterstown, for being named the top two youth volunteers in Maryland for 2010 by The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program. The two young people – along the top youth volunteers from every other state – were in Washington this week for a gala award ceremony at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, where they received $1,000 awards in recognition of their outstanding volunteer work.
Senator Cardin said. “Forrest has worked to for Habitat for Humanity helping to raise money for affordable housing and Victoria has worked to bring attention to the suffering in Darfur. I want to commend them for their volunteerism and for all they have done to make world a better place.”
Senator Mikulski said. “I’m so proud of Forrest and Victoria for being dedicating to volunteerism at such a young age. Their drive to make a difference has made a real impact on the world and on the lives of others. These young leaders are inspiring examples to all of us and are among our brightest hopes for a better tomorrow.”
Forrest Carroll, 17, of Lutherville, Md., a senior at The Park School of Baltimore, has been a leader of a Habitat for Humanity chapter at his school for the past four years, helping to raise close to $600,000 and build homes for six low-income families. “Since that day when I was accepted as a Habitat leader in ninth grade, Park Habitat for Humanity has been an enormous part of my life,” he said. Forrest plays a key role in conducting fund-raisers that bring in more than $100,000 a year, such as an annual 5K run, a phone-a-thon, and a program that does small construction and painting jobs for homeowners in return for donations. He is responsible for organizing, supervising, and working on home construction projects in Baltimore City. In addition, he delivers presentations about Habitat to schools, corporations, and national youth conferences; coordinates with city and school officials; and mentors underclassmen and students from other schools. Forrest is now working on an ambitious new Habitat
initiative that will seek to assemble a coalition of schools throughout his region to build an entire block of new affordable homes at a time. “I have learned the incredible impact people can have when they work together as one,” he said.
Victoria Brown, 14, of Reisterstown, Md., an eighth-grader at Krieger Schechter Day School in Baltimore, has personally raised more than $1,600 for the Save Darfur Coalition by making and selling safety pin jewelry and chocolate candies, and has spent a great deal of time over the past few years making people aware of atrocities in the Darfur region of Sudan. When Victoria first learned about the situation in Darfur, “what really caught my attention was that, even after atrocities such as the Holocaust and Rwanda, people could still allow such treacherous things to happen to other people,” she said. She joined her school’s Darfur club and soon became co-leader of the group. In addition, she began creating beaded safety pins to raise money for refugees. She stayed after school three or four days a week, threading the pins with colored beads in the image of hearts, soccer balls, animals, and American flags. She then sold them at school for $1 each, and received so many orders that she had to teach
other young people how to make them. To collect more funds, Victoria made chocolate candies in the shape of smiling faces, and sold them through local businesses with a description of the Darfur crisis attached. “Just the thought that the money I was raising was helping these unfortunate people and giving them healthy food, medical supplies, and clean water was incredibly rewarding,” she said. Victoria also talks frequently to others about Darfur, and has participated in lobbying efforts in Washington, D.C.