NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. – Albert Leonard Middle School student Jake Gallin has been awarded the Prudential Spirit of Community award for his work benefitting veterans and their families in New Rochelle.
Gallin is one of just 10 youth volunteers in the nation to earn an award from Prudential. Since starting his “Stars for Cars initiative” as an 8-year-old, Gallin has raised nearly $15,000 for the USO.
The seventh-grader was chosen as a National Honoree from a field of nearly 35,000 youth volunteers throughout the country. He was awarded $5,000, an engraved gold medallion, a trophy that was awarded to the New Rochelle School District, and an additional $5,000 grant for a non-profit organization of his choice.
This week, Gallin received his award at an assembly celebrating volunteer work as part of the Alfred Leonard Middle School Pay it Forward program.
Each year, the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards celebrates students throughout the country who go above and beyond in the community. Jake, 12, took a trip to Washington, D.C. earlier this year, where he was named as one of the top youth volunteers in the nation.
As an 8-year-old, Jake first started his website, “Stars for Cars,” which sells decals that read “We Support Blue and Gold Military Families” when he saw First Lady Michelle Obama and Jill Biden discussing the sacrifices that military families make each day.
Last year, Jake intensified his efforts, writing more than 7,000 letters to schools officials, government officials and other talking heads, urging them to celebrate military members and their families on Memorial Day, Sept. 11 and Veteran’s Day.
This isn’t the first time Gallin has been celebrated for his work with “Stars for Cars.” In 2011, the Board of Legislation honored him Nov. 29, dubbing it “Jake Gallin Day” throughout the county. Last year, state Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins offered him a certificate of recognition after reading s statement prepared by the student over his school’s loudspeaker in honor of Veteran’s Day.
“Jake Gallin’s efforts to recognize the sacrifices made by military families, whether they have a loved one serving in the military currently, or have lost a family member who made the ultimate sacrifice, is exemplary,” she. “He continues to volunteer his time, to raise money and awareness with his ‘Stars for Cars’ initiative, and as a result, he has received well-deserved national, and now state recognition.”
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