Wierenga’s efforts have earned her national recognition with the Prudential Spirit of Community Award.
The award, sponsored by Prudential Financial in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals, honors young people for exemplary acts of volunteerism. It was presented to Wierenga during Monday’s Grand Haven Area Public Schools Board meeting.
“I’m just very thankful,” she said of the award. “I was so excited and honored to be chosen.”
Wierenga was one of two students in the state to receive the award. The other Michigan recipient was awarded to a high school student in Ann Arbor.
The 102 recipients will receive $1,000 and an engraved silver medallion. Recipients will also be honored in Washington, D.C., in May.
“I can’t express how proud I am of her,” said Shayna’s mom, Tina Wierenga. “It means so much to her. It makes me proud. It means so much to me to have a child with such a large heart.”
Shayna became acquainted with Sanctuary at the Shore on Beacon Boulevard when her great-grandmother started living there nearly five years ago. Besides visiting her great-grandmother at the nursing home, Shayna would spend time with the other residents — help them get around in their wheelchairs, paint their nails and perform other tasks they can’t do themselves.
“She really enjoys being there and being able to help them out,” Tina said. “She was floored by how attached she became, and amazed at how many people didn’t get visitors and how much it means to them to have a visitor.”
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