Kimber Dickson has not only worked at the food pantry at Metropolitan AME Church, but she also created a financial literacy program for kids, which earned her a competitive award. (Family photo)

Update: Scroll down for a list of national winners, announced April 30.

Kimber Dickson admits that she likes to spend money. But the D.C. 12-year-old said her parents taught her early on to think before buying.

“If you buy something in the moment, you can’t put that in a savings account for college,” Kimber said.

So when the Girl Scout wanted to earn her Bronze Award in fifth grade, she and her friends decided to teach other elementary school students about financial literacy, or money matters. They took a few classes at a D.C. public library, learning about bank accounts, interest (that’s money a bank account or investment earns) and even the stock market (that’s where people own pieces of companies). They also figured out how to make the topic entertaining.

“We did a skit, and we let them be involved in the skit,” Kimber said of the 15 or so kids who attended the after-school program the girls set up.

The effort paid off, you might say, for Kimber. It was the main volunteer activity that caused her to be one of two D.C. students chosen in February as state winners in the 2018 Prudential Spirit of Community Awards. Kimber, Samantha O’Sullivan — a 17-year-old who attends Washington’s School Without Walls — and 100 other students will receive $1,000 for noticing problems in their communities and the world, and then working to resolve those problems. More than 29,000 middle-schoolers and high-schoolers entered the competition this year, according to Prudential spokesman Harold Banks.


Kimber, right, and fellow Scout Eve Ellis pack bags of food for families in need at Metropolitan AME Church in Washington. (Family photo)

Those state winners gathered in Washington over the weekend to share their stories of community cleanups and charity bake sales. They are also hoping to be chosen as national winners, 10 students who will go home with $5,000 for themselves and $5,000 for their favorite cause. Those names will be announced Monday.

Kimber, who’s now in seventh grade at St. Augustine Catholic School, has moved on to other projects with a new Scout group. The troop has worked at a food pantry, visited retired veterans and produced a video to urge voter registration. But she’s still interested in sharing what she has learned about spending and saving. “I just want other kids to know that they can have a better future.”

For a list of 2018 middle school and high school state winners, go to spirit.prudential.com/honor­
ees/state.

National winners

Tabitha Bell, 18, of Sandy, Utah

Grayson Phillips, 18 of Gardendale, Alabama

Michelle Qin, 17, of Santa Barbara, California

Brandon Warren, 18, of Indianapolis, Indiana

Helena Zimmerman, 16, of Purchase, New York

Rosie Colucci, 13, of Palantine, Illinois

Paloma Rambana, 12, of Tallahassee, Florida

Hailey Richman, 10, of Long Island City, New York

Madison Strempek, 13, of Crofton, Maryland

William Winslow, 12, of Raleigh, North Carolina