State Honoree

Jordan Phillips, 16, of Aberdeen

Jordan Phillips, 16, of Aberdeen, a junior at Aberdeen Central High School, has raised more than $110,000 to support women with breast cancer by sewing and selling fabric coffee-cup sleeves known as “cozys.” Jordan’s mother was diagnosed with breast cancer in May 2015. “I was terrified I was going to lose my mom,” she said. “I needed an escape from the chaos of having a loved one who is sick, and I wanted to support other people who were going through what my family was experiencing.” Since she had been sewing things since she was 5, Jordan started sewing cozys in her bedroom after school, and then offered them on Facebook to raise money for the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

As word about Jordan’s “Cozys for the Cure” project spread via news and social media, she had to recruit family members, friends and schoolmates to meet the growing demand. Her cross country team pitched in with an assembly line that produced 200 cozys in one hour. Things really took off when a large retail chain agreed to stock 250,000 of Jordan’s coffee-cup sleeves in more than a thousand stores across the country, which required Jordan to outsource production to an apparel company. In addition to supporting the Susan G. Komen Foundation’s breast cancer research, Jordan’s fundraising has paid for free mammograms in rural, underserved areas. Jordan was especially touched when someone gave out her cozys as a wedding favor to honor the legacy of a mother who died of breast cancer. It was then that “I realized the deep emotional impact of this project,” she said.

North Neff, 11 of Sioux Falls

North Neff, 11 of Sioux Falls, a home-schooled fifth-grader, has raised money and managed collection efforts that have provided more than $5,000 worth of food, vaccines and other essential items for shelter animals at a local Humane Society shelter, primarily by making and selling thousands of decorated dog bones. When he was 5 years old, North accompanied his family on a visit to the shelter. “I noticed that there were so many animals and I wanted to do something to help them,” he said. He also noticed hand-dipped dog bones on the counter for sale, and upon learning that they were made by volunteers to support the shelter, he decided that he could do that, too.

With his family’s support, North made and decorated his own hand-dipped dog bones for each dog in the shelter and delivered them in mid-February along with valentines. His treats were so well-received that he decided to make his dog bones every month and decorate them to reflect the season, in an effort to raise money for the Humane Society. He recruited family members, friends and fellow 4-Hers to help make the bones, and then to help collect items on the Humane Society’s wish list. The animal shelter now conducts an annual Valentine’s Day fundraiser as a result of North’s initial contribution. “It is always an amazing feeling to know that something I made is making the animals and the people who love them so happy,” said North.


  • Caden Fischer, Olivet
  • Matea Gordon, Whitewood

The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program, now in its 26th year, is conducted by Prudential Financial in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP).

Please go to the following link to read the stories of these remarkable young volunteers . If you’d like to interview either or both remarkable young people, please contact me at 914-415-1314 or

The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards website: