As a result of the President’s Summit in Philadelphia, the Prudential Insurance Company in partnership with Youth Service America, the National Secondary School Principals Association, and the Center launched The Prudential Spirit of Community Initiative in 1995 for Creative Leadership. The primary objective of the initiative is to rekindle America’s community spirit by encouraging, training, and recognizing youth for their positive contributions through service to the community. There are three components to the Prudential Spirit of Community Service: The Spirit of Community Award, The Prudential Youth Leadership Institute (YLI), and the Catch the Spirit student guide. During the past two yeas, Robert has been a full-time volunteer dedicated to bringing America’s Promise and the Prudential YLI to Alaska.
Robert “Beau” Bassett encourages the growth of leadership in youth by engaging them in service learning opportunities and leadership. He is a top national trainer, and has dedicated many hours of service to YLI. The YLI is a 30-hour long training in creative service leadership that prepares youth to design and implement high quality service projects. He offered the first Prudential YLI to 48 students in Alaska in August of 1988. Since that time, 10 additional institutes have been offered to more than 200 youth. The young people involved commit to contributing additional service to the community following the training and before graduating from YLI.
He has also done a variety of projects with YLO. He has organized service projects on national service days such as Make a Difference Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and National Youth Service Day. In addition, he has organized the distribution of more than 40,000 Scholastic books to disadvantaged children. He later organized a “Spirit of Community Awards Dinner,” and in April of 1999 recognized 250 youth in Anchorage for positive service and honored eight President’s Student Service Award winners.
Robert was the lead adult mentor for a youth committee that organized the First Annual Harry Chapin Youth Art Serv-a-thon where more than 175 youth planned and participated in nine-hour performing arts marathons to raise funds for local nonprofit organizations. He has also formed partnerships with the majority of the youth organizations, the Municipality of Anchorage, local businesses, and schools to support all of his youth development projects. He also secured support from a broad spectrum of professionals, parents, educators, and other dedicated partners and has engaged them in furthering his vision.
Beau has consistently worked to get funding to keep his program going. He is happy that the Volunteers of America received a generous donation from the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust, and now he can continue his work and expand his youth leadership services in Alaska.