Judges for the 26th annual 2021 Prudential Spirit of Community Awards have conferred the President’s Volunteer Service Award and a Certificate of Excellence Award on St. Mary’s Dominican High School sophomore Cadence Jackson. She is the daughter of Chris and Julie Beechler Jackson of Mandeville.
The President’s Volunteer Service Award recognizes Americans of all ages who have volunteered significant amounts of their time to serve their communities and country. The Certificate of Excellence Award recipients are among the top 10 percent of all applicants from their state in this year’s program.
Jackson’s volunteer work was inspired when she learned from a local veterinarian about the need for medical supplies at prisons that have programs teaching inmates about care of animals. In Louisiana, the state’s Department of Public Safety and Corrections participates in several programs with a dual purpose of rehabilitating people in prison and animals. These programs teach responsibility, compassion, and discipline and give both person and animal second chances in life.
Jackson contacted local veterinarian hospitals for supplies that were nearing expiration dates but could be still used in a teaching program. A year after she began collecting supplies, Jackson received a letter from an inmate who ran a prison vet program thanking her for the supplies and how they brought joy and hope to everyone involved. She has expanded her volunteer work to other parts of her community.