Young Volunteers Celebrated with Point of Light Awards in Wales During NATO Summit at Event with UK Defence Secretary Michael Fallon

Michaela Coplen, Grace Franklin honored for work helping military families.

ATLANTA, Sept. 5, 2014 – Amid the high-level talks at the NATO Summit in Wales, two young volunteers from both sides of the Atlantic were celebrated yesterday for receiving Point of Light Awards in recognition of their volunteer efforts to benefit military families. Michaela Coplen, age 18, from Carlisle, Pennsylvania, and Grace Franklin, 8, from Billingham, County Durham in Britain, were received aboard the HMS Duncan, where UK Defence Secretary Michael Fallon and other British leaders congratulated them on their accomplishments.

The Daily Point of Light Award, created by President George H. W. Bush in the United States in 1989, celebrates the power of individuals to spark change and improve the world. Prime Minister David Cameron started the daily award in the UK earlier this year to recognize outstanding individuals who are voluntarily making change in their communities and inspiring others.

Michaela Coplen is the 5,297th Daily Point of Light Award winner in the U.S. Growing up the daughter of two Army officers, Michaela discovered that writing poetry was an effective outlet for expressing the stresses of being apart during her parents’ deployments. “I knew that I wanted to help alleviate these feelings in other military kids,” she notes, so she created and conducts workshops around the country to teach children how to use poetry to release some of the complicated emotions they feel.

Grace Franklin marks the 100th Point of Light Award honoree for the UK. While her father was deployed, Grace found it difficult to end their phone calls, so they developed an effective routine of ending calls with a joke. Grace, determined to help others, collected jokes that she tested on friends and schoolmates, and when she reached her target of 100, she created the “Little Book of Jokes.” More than 600 copies have sold to date, and she donates the proceeds to charities.

Grace and Michaela received their award this week and are the first cross-Atlantic Points of Light “pair” who will work together to develop their own volunteering and encourage others to volunteer.

“By honoring these two young women, we are looking to our future, our youth – to those who are working to define their place in the world as they help others,” says Tracy Hoover, President, Points of Light (U.S.). “Their individual stories and service journeys provide powerful examples of how everyone, at any age, has the capacity to change lives and make a mark on the world through volunteer service.”

Points of Light continues to recognize those who effect powerful change in their communities. Go to the Daily Point of Light site and click “nominate” to help identify more stories of people who deserve recognition for their volunteer service.

# # #

About Points of Light Points of Light, the largest organization in the world dedicated to volunteer service, mobilizes millions of people to take action that is changing the world. Through affiliates in 250 cities and partnerships with thousands of nonprofits and corporations, Points of Light engages more than 4 million volunteers in 30 million hours of service each year. We put people at the center of change. For more information, go to