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Washington, D.C.- U.S. Senators Mike Crapo and Jim Risch congratulated two Idaho students for being named the state's top youth volunteers for 2009 by The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program. The students are Hosanna Kabakoro of Twin Falls and Darrien Gish of Nampa. They were joined in Washington, D.C. this week by top volunteers from other states for an award ceremony at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History, where they received $1,000 awards in recognition of their outstanding volunteer work.

Kabakoro was honored for a program she developed to help teens safely and responsibly use technologies like the internet, webcams and digital recorders. She presented the program to several schools and youth groups across the Magic Valley and is now adapting it for elementary school audiences.

Gish is raising and training a companion dog for a disabled person. The seventh-grader learned about the program online and works with a dog named Delphia every day to teach her new skills. After 14 months she will be able to perform helpful tasks like opening doors, turning on lights, and picking things up off the floor for her new owner.

"Darrien and Hosanna are very deserving of this award for the initiative they showed in seeing a need in their community and working to fulfill it," Risch said. "Their service is an example of the difference individuals can make."

"This event really has two celebrations-first, we can note the achievements of young Idahoans themselves and their spirit of giving; it is also noteworthy that their actions are being brought to light and credit is given in this very public way." Crapo said. "I thank both Hosanna and Darrien for their volunteer efforts, and also Prudential Financial for bringing these achievements to the attention of Congress."

The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards represents the nation's largest youth recognition program based exclusively on volunteer community service. Conducted in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), the program was created 14 years ago by Prudential Financial, Inc. to encourage youth volunteerism and to identify and reward young role models. Since then, the program has honored nearly 90,000 young volunteers at the local, state and national level.