Clare Szalkowski of Dubuque, Iowa, has been recognized for her outstanding achievements in community service. The 10-year-old was selected as one of ten National Honorees from across the United States. Clare, a member of Girl Scouts, began her own organization, Clare Cares, more than two years ago to make her community a better place. The fifth grader’s first project was to provide a buddy bench at her school after her sister was made fun of for having an epileptic seizure. Clare wanted to create a space for kids to go to when they felt that they needed a friend. Her buddy bench program has become so successful that they are in every school in Dubuque, Iowa, and the surrounding community. Beyond the buddy bench program, Clare’s organization has assisted 25 non-profits through numerous community service projects.
Clare’s honor was announced at a recognition ceremony in Washington, D.C., after being named a State Honoree. Each Prudential Spirit of Community Award National Honoree will receive $6,000 in scholarships and $5,000 to support a non-profit of their choice. Clare has decided to distribute her earnings to several non-profits in the Dubuque, Iowa, community, including Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois.