Christopher Lam, a senior at Jericho High School, was named one of two state honorees this month in the 2010 Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, a national program to honor young volunteers.
Lam, who received a $1,000 college scholarship, was selected for cofounding the China AIDS International Pen Pal Program, which supports children in China's Henan Province stricken with AIDS or orphaned because parents died of AIDS after tainted blood transfusions.
"There's no way we can change mistakes of the past," said Lam, 17. He wants to "give these children a chance at a brighter future."
Lam matched 22 area students with pen pals in Henan and recruited undergraduates at Beijing University to translate the letters before delivery.
He's also collected $40,000 so far to help educate and care for the Chinese students.
Prudential's distinguished finalists from Long Island were Rebecca Allen of Roslyn High School, Aliza Neuman Hassine of North Shore Hebrew Academy in Great Neck, Kate Herzlin of South Side High School in Rockville Centre, Samantha Malis of John F. Kennedy High School in Bellmore and Chris Yao of Jericho Middle School.