Florida youth recognized in first-ever Prudential Emerging Visionaries program

NEWARK, New Jersey, February 15, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Jonas Basi, 17, of Fort Lauderdale; Sayers Grooms, 16, from Gainesville; and Jonathan Tamen17 years old miami beachwere each named Prudential Emerging Visionary 2022 today for bringing powerful vision and meaningful change to their communities.

As three of 25 young people from across the country selected in this year’s inaugural class, Jonah, Sayers and Jonathan will each receive $5,000 in funding as well as an invitation to participate in an award ceremony April 23-26, 2022. The summit will feature a lively program filled with skill-building workshops, coaching sessions, networking opportunities and special recognition events. Selected winners will also have the opportunity to participate in a pitch-off where one grand prize winner will receive an extra $10,000 in financing. Additionally, Prudential employees will vote to nominate an Employee Choice Award winner, who will receive an additional award. $5,000.

Prudential Emerging Visionaries recognizes young people between the ages of 14 and 18 whose fresh perspectives and innovative solutions address pressing financial and societal challenges in their communities. It’s a collaboration between Prudential Financial and Ashoka, a leading social impact organization, with advisory support from the Financial Health Network, an authority on financial health and a long-time partner of the Prudential Foundation. The program is an evolution of the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, the nation’s largest youth recognition program, which for 26 years has honored more than 150,000 outstanding young volunteers.

“Emerging Visionaries is another way for Prudential to demonstrate its commitment to our purpose: to improve lives by solving the financial challenges of our changing world,” said the Chairman and CEO. Charles Lowry. “The students we honor have a sense of possibility that pushes them to look beyond themselves. Their vision and dedication are essential to creating fully inclusive communities, and we are touched and inspired by their work.

This work includes responding to the needs created by the COVID-19 pandemic, addressing economic inequality, championing inclusion and bridging the digital divide. This inaugural group of young leaders was selected on four main criteria: their solution is innovative; it can create a significant impact in the future and can spread to a wider community; it demonstrates a deep understanding of the problem; and it inspires the visionary to lead or act and motivates others to do the same.

here is florida Prudential Emerging Visionaries for 2022:

Jonas Basi17 years old Fort Lauderdale, Floridafounded”MangroLife” restore from south florida waterways by planting hundreds of mangrove trees, which provide natural filtration and habitat. He also organizes community efforts to eliminate waste and create a cleaner environment.

The waterways, which were teeming with life from bottlenose dolphins to blue crabs, have become filled with polluted water, plastic and invasive species. Trouble grew close to home for Jonah when his family moved into their new home and the waterways became his backyard. Because October 2020Jonah has organized 90 different community events, ranging from small group litter cleanups to park restoration projects that removed 1,800 pounds of trash from local ecosystems, while planting hundreds of mangrove trees across South Florida.

Sayers grooms16 years old Gainesville, Floridaestablished “watch me run“, a non-profit organization that allows people living with balance disorders to access Frame Running, an innovative sport that allows people with disabilities to run freely.

Sayers noticed that people with disabilities are often overlooked when it comes to accessing health and fitness equipment tailored to their needs. “Being able to run on a running frame has changed my life,” she shared, explaining how Frame Running has transformed her mobility. “I felt so free and couldn’t wait to share the experience with others.” Sayers wanted to spread this life-changing sport and founded “Watch Me Run” to give other kids the chance to access Frame Runners. So far, the initiative has garnered more than $80,000 to raise awareness and help remove financial barriers to participation in sport.

Jonathan Tamen17 years old Miami Beach, Floridastarted “MB Helping Hands” providing 3D printed prostheses for children Haiti. The organization’s goal is to reduce the stigma associated with disabilities and give children greater mobility.

Jonathan started the project after he and his brother used their 3D printing equipment to make face shields for doctors and nurses at the start of the pandemic. Realizing the power of this technology to have a positive impact, Jonathan decided to teach these printing techniques to his peers so they could develop prosthetics for children. So far, two children have been fitted with their prostheses and nearly 400 participating students have signed up to build these devices. Jonathan hopes to have 10 more prostheses printed soon.

To read the names and stories of all of this year’s Emerging Prudential Visionaries, visit prudential.com/emergingvisionaries.

About Prudential Financial
Prudential Financial, Inc. (NYSE: PRU), a leading financial wellness leader and active global investment manager, operates in United States, Asia, Europe and Latin America. Prudential’s diverse and talented employees help improve lives by creating financial opportunity for more people. Prudential’s iconic Rock symbol has stood for strength, stability, expertise and innovation for over a century. For more information, please visit news.prudential.com.

About Ashoka
Ashoka is the world’s largest network of leading social entrepreneurs – individuals with new ideas to systematically tackle the world’s biggest challenges and the entrepreneurial skills to turn those ideas into national, regional and global social impact. In 40 years, Ashoka has supported over 3,600 social entrepreneurs in 90 countries with solutions that address society’s most pressing issues. Ashoka’s vision is a world in which everyone is an agent of change – a society that responds quickly and effectively to challenges, and where every individual has the freedom, trust and societal support to solve any social problem. For more information, visit ashoka.org.

SOURCE Prudential Financial, Inc.

Ryan H. Bowman