Prince earned the recognition for his notable commitment to volunteering in his community, specifically during the pandemic when he led a successful fundraising initiative to honor the night shifts of frontline workers at area hospitals. In that campaign, John and two friends from other schools not only showed their appreciation to the hospital workers who were addressing the worst public health crisis in a century but, at the same time, helped support financially hard-pressed local restaurants, which provided the food that the teens personally delivered.
The Auxiliary Board of St. Vincent’s Hospital Westchester initiated the Youth Awards in 1993 to recognize high school students whose volunteer service exemplifies the hospital’s core values of respect, integrity, compassion, and excellence.
Applicants for the annual award are required to submit essays about their community work. In his essay, Prince related how he and his friends last spring raised $10,000 via a GoFundMe page they established. Initially, the trio ordered and delivered over 1,500 meals and messages of appreciation to the night staffs at White Plains Hospital, Westchester Medical Center, and Cabrini Nursing Home.
Because of a resurgence of Covid-19 in the fall, Prince and his friends re-started Friends4Frontlines. The effort caught the attention of local and national media, including ABC’s “Good Morning America” which aired a segment. “During the broadcast, we were given a $5,000 donation from Cottonelle!” Prince reported. To date, they have raised more than $23,000 to help local restaurants provide more than 2,500 meals to the hospitals’ frontline night workers. The campaign will continue until the funds are used up.
“This experience has taught me a lot about volunteerism,” wrote Prince, adding, “My great-grandfather was a member of the St. Vincent de Paul Society. He dedicated his adult life to helping others. I am proud to carry on his dedication to helping people regardless of who they are because they see the face of Christ in all they serve.”