Steven Trezza is known throughout his hometown of West Hempstead for his committment to community service.
The West Hempstead High School senior and Eagle Scout has spent countless hours working with Operation S.P.L.A.S.H. (Stop Polluting Littering and Save Harbors) to clean up Long Island's bays. He created the “West Hempstead Storm Drain Project” to increase awareness about how storm water runoff hurts local waterways and recruited 75 volunteers to help place more than 900 medallions on storm drains through West Hempstead that warn people, “No Dumping – Drains to Bay.” He's also participated in numerous community projects with his fellow scouts including the December 2011 clean-up of Halls Pond Park.
Now, Trezza's service to his community has garnered national attention. The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, the United States’ largest youth recognition program honoring middle level and high school students for outstanding volunteer service, named Trezza one of eight "distinguished finalists" for New York.
In addition to Trezza, New York's other Distinguished Finalists are Shane Carman, 17, of Geneseo; Kevin Chaves, 16, of Northport; Jennah Ferrari, 11, of Syracuse; Marcella Ferraro, 17, of Catskill; Stefanie Kaufman, 17, of Westbury; Adam Moss, 17, of Rockville Centre; and Alec Urbach, 17, of Roslyn Heights. Each will receive an engraved bronze medallion.
The program, sponsored by Prudential Financial in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), also announced Tuesday that Samuel Lam, 17, of Old Westbury, and Cory Nichols, 12, of Oceanside, were named New York's top youth volunteers of 2013. As State Honorees, Lam and Nichols each will receive $1,000, engraved silver medallions and all-expense-paid trips to Washington, D.C., where they will join 100 other top youth volunteers from across the United States for four days of national recognition events.
“Prudential is proud to honor these students for making meaningful contributions to their communities,” said Prudential Chairman and CEO John Strangfeld. “We hope that shining a spotlight on their initiative, creativity and compassion inspires others to consider how they, too, can make a difference.”
“Through their volunteer service, each of these young people has made his or her mark on at least one person, school or community,” said JoAnn Bartoletti, executive director of NASSP. “When you consider the collective impact of each of these individual acts, it’s clear that young people can be a major force for good.”
Lam, New York's high school State Honoree, was honored for co-founding a nonprofit organization that is working to educate both young people and adults about “cyberbullying,” and to provide support and assistance to those who have been victims of online harassment.
Nichols, New York's middle level State Honoree, was honored for committing to donate $100 worth of food to a local food pantry each month for an entire year, and so far greatly exceeding his goal.
Read more about each of New York's State Honorees and Distinguished Finalists by clicking here.