A senior from Smith-Cotton High School has been honored for her exemplary volunteer service with a President's Volunteer Service Award.

Sedalia 200 says that Erika Hilario received the award, which recognizes Americans of all ages who have volunteered significant amounts of their time to serve their communities and their country, was granted by The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program.

As a member of Girl Scout Troupe 104, Hilario and her fellow scouts sold homemade cookies to raise money for the Sedalia Animal Shelter; they also volunteered at the shelter for three days. Hilario worked more than 250 hours to benefit the shelter and raised about $2,000 for new blankets, toys and food.

The volunteer experience and her time as a Girl Scout have inspired her. “During my time with the Girl Scouts, I have learned how to juggle multiple tasks, manage time under pressure and gained experience in negotiating,” she said. “I also have attained strong leadership and relationship-building skills. … Girl Scouts teaches us how to become responsible, productive, caring and engaged citizens – all attributes that will help us become successful, well-adjusted adults.”

S-C High Assistant Principal Joe Doyle, who presented Hilario with her award, said: “The ambition to serve simply for the betterment of one's community is, unfortunately, something we see less of all the time. It's refreshing to a young person like Erika giving back to her community in such a positive manner. We are very proud of the time and energy she has spent working towards the improvement of the Sedalia Animal Shelter.”

The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, sponsored by Prudential Financial in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), recognizes middle level and high school students across America for outstanding volunteer service.

“Across the United States, young volunteers are doing remarkable things to contribute to the well-being of the people and communities around them,” said Prudential CEO Charles Lowrey. “Prudential is honored to celebrate the contributions of these students, and we hope their stories inspire others to volunteer, too.”

“Demonstrating civic responsibility through volunteerism is an important part of life,” said NASSP Executive Director JoAnn Bartoletti. “These honorees practice a lesson we hope all young people, as well as adults, will emulate.”

PIC: Smith-Cotton High School senior Erika Hilario, left, receives the President's Volunteer Service Award from S-C Assistant Principal Joe Doyle on Monday, Feb. 25, at the school. Hilario was recognized for her efforts with the Girl Scouts benefitting the Sedalia Animal Shelter.