Idaho Teens Earn National Volunteer Award

News Release

For Immediate Release: Feb. 26, 2019
Information Contact: Renee Bade

Idaho teens Sarah Picker of Boise and Alexander Knoll of Post Falls were awarded the 2019 Prudential Spirit of Community Award. The award program, in its 24th year, honors young people in each state for outstanding acts of volunteerism.

Picker and Knoll will be awarded $1,000 each, an engraved medallion and an all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C., for four days of national recognition events along with the top two honorees for the other 49 states.

Picker, 17, a senior at Boise Senior High School, has raised and trained four puppies over the past seven years to be service dogs for the Boise chapter of Guide Dogs for the Blind. She became involved after her older sister read a book about a “puppy raiser” and decided to give it a try.

“When I first joined I thought it would be fun because it involved dogs, but it has ended up being so much more to me,” said Picker. “Through this organization I have discovered what I want to do with my life.”

Knoll, 14, a homeschooled eight-grader, is developing a free mobile application that can help people with disabilities around the world navigate public spaces, find safe and reliable services and identify employment opportunities. When he was 9 years old, Knoll witnessed a man in a wheelchair trying to get through heavy doors at a sporting goods store.

“I wondered if there was an app that could have told him, before he left his house, about other stores in the area that might have an automatic door,” he said.  He checked and there wasn’t, so he decided to create his own. His “Ability App” is in testing stage and is expected to launch globally in 2019.

Two other Idaho teens were recognized as distinguished finalists. Greencreek’s Alexi Currier, 17, traveled to Haiti on a mission trip last summer to care for people with HIV and AIDS, mental illnesses and severe disabilities, following two years of fundraising to pay for the trip. Jakayla Walker, 18, of Harrison, spent two months last summer bicycling more than 4,000 miles from Seattle to New York City to raise money to help feed refugees in Southeast Asia.

These Idaho teens contribute to Idaho’s status as number 10 in the nation in for volunteering according to the Corporation for National and Community Service. To join in the volunteering, find nearby opportunities at


Serve Idaho, a division of the Idaho Department of Labor, encourages voluntary public service and volunteerism throughout the state. The Serve Idaho Commission is funded in part by the Corporation for National and Community Service and the Idaho Department of Labor.