April is National Volunteer Month. The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, the nation’s largest youth volunteer awards program, is honoring those who go above and beyond to make the world a better place.

Connecticut’s Top Two State Honorees for 2019 are Nicholas Wesoloskie of Coventry of and Anishka Perera of Torrington.

Wesoloskie is a freshman at Coventry High School. He turned a school “pajama day” fundraiser into a statewide movement that in seven years has raised more than $375,000 to promote research into childhood cancer and assist young patients and their families. When Nicholas was a toddler, his newborn sister was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive cancer. “From a young age I witnessed her and so many other kids enduring grueling treatments,” Nicholas said. “I resolved to help brave kids like her.”

Perera is an an eighth-grader at Talcott Mountain Academy of Science, Mathematics & Technology. He collected supplies to make 150 entertainment packages to brighten the days of children undergoing treatment for cancer in a Sri Lankan hospital. During a 2016 visit to Sri Lanka, where his parents were born, Anishka visited a government-run hospital that provides free care for the country’s poor. In the children’s ward, he noticed that there weren’t many things to keep young patients entertained during long hospital stays. “I was saddened to see children waiting around for their treatment without much to occupy them,” said Anishka.

For more information on the honorees, click here.