WASHINGTON, D.C. — Laurianne Murphy, a 13-year-old eighth-grader at Lewiston Middle School, was recently named one of Maine’s two top youth volunteers at a ceremony held at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. While at the ceremony, Murphy and her parents, David and Mary Murphy, also received congratulations from U.S. Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe for being recognized as a 2010 top volunteer by the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program.

Murphy has volunteered during her free time at the Auburn-Lewiston YMCA, helping to take care of infants and toddlers at the child care center. She said that she first became involved with the YMCA through her mother, who works there, and spent a lot of time there growing up. She has become a certified baby-sitter and hopes to pursue her interest in child care by becoming a kindergarten teacher someday.

“Laurianne exemplifies the true spirit of community service,” said Collins. “I commend her for being a positive role model to young children in the Lewiston-Auburn community. She is an inspiring example to all of us and is among our brightest hopes for a better tomorrow.”

Each year, two young people from each state are selected to receive the honor. This year, nearly 21,000 young people applied for Prudential Spirit of Community Awards. The winners were presented with their awards during a gala ceremony, where they received $1,000 awards in recognition of their outstanding volunteer work.

In addition to their cash awards, they received engraved silver medallions and an all-expense-paid trip with their parents to Washington, D.C., for the recognition events.

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