2004 Regular Session

To: Rules

By: Senator(s) King, Albritton, Browning, Carmichael, Chamberlin, Chaney, Clarke, Dearing, Gordon, Harden, Hyde-Smith, Jackson (15th), Jackson (32nd), Lee (35th), Little, Nunnelee, White, Wilemon

Senate Concurrent Resolution 545

(As Adopted by Senate and House)


     WHEREAS, Paula Hamilton, 14, a student at Oak Grove Middle School in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, has been named the state's top middle level youth volunteer for 2004 by receiving a Prudential Spirit of Community Award; and

     WHEREAS, this prestigious award, presented by Prudential Financial in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals, honors young volunteers across America who have demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to serving their communities; and

     WHEREAS, Paula, an eighth-grader at Oak Grove Middle School, is an active volunteer dedicated to helping disabled children at a local Association for Retarded Citizens (ARC) Chapter.  It was a Special Education teacher at Paula's school who first noticed Paula's special rapport with disabled students and recommended her to ARC administrators.  She began by volunteering during the organization's six-week summer school, and then started lending her energy and abilities on weekends as well.  Soon after, she was invited to participate in the association's Buddy Program; and

     WHEREAS, Paula has learned about the various mental and physical disabilities of the children she works with, and must be constantly alert for seizures, allergic reactions, illness and accidents.  "I must keep the children entertained and safe," she said.  Thanks to Paula and other volunteers like her, the parents of these disabled children are able to enjoy some respite, and the children are able to simply have fun.  "My volunteering allows the children to interact with special kids and normal kids, and allows me to see the different situations that life holds," said Paula; and

     WHEREAS, "People as caring and committed as this young student are critical to the future of our neighborhoods, our cities and our nation," said Arthur F. Ryan, Chairman and CEO of Prudential Financial.  "By recognizing this honoree, we hope to encourage other young people, our future leaders, and all Americans to think more about the value and importance of volunteering in their communities"; and

     WHEREAS, all public and private middle-level and high schools in the country, as well as all Girl Scout councils, county 4-H organizations, American Red Cross chapters, YMCA's, Camp Fire USA councils and volunteer centers, were eligible to select a student or member for a local Prudential Spirit of Community Award this past November.  Local honorees were then reviewed by state-level judges, who selected State Honorees and Distinguished Finalists based on criteria such as personal initiative, creativity, effort, impact and personal growth; and

     WHEREAS, on May 3, 2004, ten of the 104 State Honorees - five middle-level and five high school students - will be named America's top ten youth volunteers of the year by a prestigious national selection committee.  These National Honorees will receive an additional $5,000.00, a gold medallion and a crystal trophy.  In addition, the ten National Honorees will have a total of $250,000.00 in children's products donated in their names to needy children in their communities by Kids in Distressed Situations, Inc., the national charity of the children's apparel and products industry; and

     WHEREAS, the success of the State of Mississippi, the strength of our communities and the overall vitality of American society depend, in great measure, upon the dedication of young people like Paula, who use their considerable talents and resources to serve others:

     NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE SENATE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI, THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES CONCURRING THEREIN, That we do hereby commend and congratulate Oak Grove Middle School student Paula Hamilton of Hattiesburg, Mississippi, upon her receipt of the 2004 Prudential Spirit of Community Award, and recognize her outstanding record of volunteer service, peer leadership and community spirit and extend to her and her family the best wishes for success in her future endeavors.

     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That this resolution be presented to Paula and her family and be made available to the Capitol Press Corps.