Decatur High senior Morgan Brannon was named one of two top Alabama youth volunteers of 2021 by The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards.

Brannon, 17, raised more than $2,500 by making and selling body scrubs, bath salts and candles and sent dozens of backpacks, 350 pairs of socks and underwear and colored pencils to the Malaika School, a free primary and secondary school for 350 girls in the Republic of the Congo.

“The importance of education was instilled in me from a young age,” said Brannon, who learned about the challenges of accessing educational opportunities in the Congo, particularly among women and girls. “The thought of people in other parts of the world not having the same access to education as I did, especially because of their gender, did not sit well with me.”

Brannon will receive a $2,500 scholarship and an invitation to the program’s virtual national recognition celebration in April, and 10 of the 102 state honorees will be named America’s top youth volunteers of the year. The national honorees will receive an additional $5,000 scholarship and a $5,000 grant for a nonprofit charitable organization of their choice.

Brannon was nominated by Girl Scouts of North-Central Alabama.

During two summers, Morgan spent one day a week making her products and sold them at a local produce farm while displaying posters about her project. She attached tags to the products with information about barriers to education in the Congo. She also arranged for other Girl Scouts to send pen-pal letters to the girls at Malaika.

The awards program, conducted annually by Prudential Financial in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals, recognizes students in grades 5-12 for volunteer service.

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