WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Angus King congratulated Meghan Charest of Falmouth and Kevin Ayotte of Madawaska for being named the top youth volunteers in Maine for 2015 by The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards. Senators Collins and King met with the two winners to recognize and thank them for their work in their communities and their contributions to the state of Maine.
“Meghan and Kevin have demonstrated a remarkable commitment to their communities, and it was a pleasure to congratulate them on this well-deserved recognition,” said Senators Collins and King in a joint statement. “Maine is blessed with a strong sense of community and civic duty, and it is very encouraging to see young people continue that important tradition.”
Charest, 17, and Ayotte, 14, were honored at a ceremony on Sunday, May 3rd held at the Smithsonian’s Museum of Natural History. They each received a $1,000 prize, an engraved silver medallion, and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C. to join the top honorees from each state and the District of Columbia for the national recognition events.
Charest was recognized for her efforts to offer fresh fruits and vegetables to people in need through a community garden she started to offer organic produce to a local food pantry. After she researched crop yields, secured grant funding, and recruited volunteers, the community garden project now yields about 500 pounds of food a year for the Falmouth Food Pantry.
Ayotte was recognized for his volunteer work at the Four Seasons Trail Association in Madawaska. He volunteers at the organization in both the winter and summer months, performing an array of tasks that include stacking and loading firewood at the lodge, shoveling the porch and deck, waxing skis for the youth ski program, mowing the lawn, cutting brush, and building trails.
Established in 1995, the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards has grown into the nation’s largest youth recognition program based entirely on community service. The program is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year and has honored more than 100,000 young volunteers at the local, state, and national level.