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Megan's Mission founder named one of nation's top volunteers
Federal Way resident Megan Johnson, 19, is one of 10 middle and high school students from across the country to win top honors in the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program.
Johnson was named a top youth volunteer at a ceremony May 3 in Washington, D.C. She earned the honor for initiating several programs over the past eight years that raise money to provide homeless people, hospitalized children, and drug-addicted babies with things that make their lives a little easier.
Johnson's charity work falls under the umbrella of Megan's Mission, a nonprofit organization she founded as a vehicle for volunteer work.
"It's a true honor and I'm extremely surprised," Johnson said Monday from Washington, D.C., after receiving the award. "When I first started Megan's Mission when I was 10, I never expected it to get an award or recognition. I just did it because I cared."
Johnson also has raised money to help four families get off the streets and into their own homes, and to make a large contribution to Shriners Hospitals, which asked her to become a national patient ambassador. To support her projects, Megan sells hot cider at Christmastime; writes and illustrates children’s books; sends letters to corporations; and sells homemade necklaces, ink pens and silicone wristbands. In addition, her projects have received support from schools, churches, community organizations, a network of 50 individual volunteers, and inmates at a local prison (who knit caps for her to give to the homeless).
Selected from a field of more than 21,000 applicants across the country, Johnson received a personal award of $5,000, an engraved gold medallion, a crystal trophy for her school (Highline CHOICE Academy in Burien), and a $5,000 grant from The Prudential Foundation for the nonprofit charitable organization of her choice.
All of the Prudential Spirit of Community State Honorees for 2010 were presented with $1,000 awards, and congratulated by former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Olympic snowboarding champion Seth Wescott. The honorees also received engraved silver medallions and an all-expenses paid trip with their parents to Washington, D.C.