ATLANTA (CBS46) -- One metro Atlanta eighth-grader beat out 30,000 students for a prestigious award and he’s getting national recognition for outstanding acts of volunteerism.
Seth De La Pena, 13, won the Prudential Spirit of Community Award in Georgia for starting a service group that provides clothing and school supplies to elementary school students in the Philippines impacted by a volcanic eruption last year.
“We gave clothes and other supplies to other people in the Philippines, who were displaced from the Mayon volcano national disaster,” said De La Pena, Georgia’s Top Youth Volunteer.
For De La Pena, starting the group wasn’t about winning an award.
“The Philippines is the home country of my parents and our ancestors, and due to the issue that was prevalent, I was aware of it, I decided this would be the best place to start giving these sorts of materials to people,” De La Pena added.
The Fulton Science Academy student enlisted the help of his fellow classmates to start an information and fundraising campaign in support of these students.
“Being able to make the lives of these people just a little bit easier, especially if it’s going to be a few times in a year, it does warm my heart, and it does give me the choice to continue working for this program,” De La Pena said.
Seth’s dad, Chris, said they collected around one-thousand dollars and many boxes of clothing, and then delivered school supplies and clothing to students at the elementary school.
“You can see their faces, some of them are actually crying,” said Chris.
Chris said he couldn’t be prouder of his son.
“It’s heartwarming, doing this as a young child, and for a good cause, it’s really heartwarming,” Chris said, “There’s a lot of people, kids, from a lot of different places, remote places, that need those school supplies, clothes, food.”
“It allows me to realize they are going to be having a better life,” added De La Pena.
This is the 24th year of the awards program. Nearly 4,500 local honorees are reviewed by state-level judges and two from each state are selected as state honorees. Seth said he will continue his work for years to come.