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National Psoriasis Foundation volunteer named Florida's top youth volunteer

Lauren Henschel, 17, was named one of Florida's top two youth volunteers for 2010 by The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, a nationwide program honoring young people for outstanding acts of volunteerism.

The Aventura, Fla. teen was honored for her work with the National Psoriasis Foundation Walk to Cure Psoriasis in Miami, an event she and her family spearheaded to raise money for research and to dispel common misconceptions about psoriasis. With Lauren's determination, the local walk—one of the first psoriasis walks in the country—has become the largest of the Foundation walks, generating more than $750,000 in the past four years.

Despite being recently diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis, Lauren galvanizes her peers through a youth committee she formed. The teens speak to local schools about psoriasis, educating students that the disease isn't contagious. Lauren created social networking sites for other young people with psoriasis to connect with one another and distributes a how-to manual to encourage youth involvement at other psoriasis walks around the country.

Lauren will travel to Washington, D.C., this May with the other state honorees to attend an awards gala, where 10 youth will be named National Honorees.

February 9, 2010