Last week we went to Eldon, Missouri, to present the first place prize for the UCT Gives Back contest to Eldon High School. Their program is very impressive, and the community worked to get out the vote to win the contest. The assembly where we presented the check was a great event, and I know the prize money will be put to good use by Ms. Clingman’s class.
As I write this, I am preparing to travel to Sudbury, Ontario, Canada, to present the second place prize to St. Raphael’s school. I am sure that it will also be a memorable event.
When we were in Eldon, it was clear that spring had arrived with the usual Midwestern spring storms, including thunder storms and tornado warnings. On the other hand, I’ve been receiving a series of emailed pictures from one of our board members assuring me that it is still very much winter in northern Ontario. There is clearly still a significant amount of snow on the ground.
As happened in Eldon, the Sudbury community worked to get out the vote for the contest. We received an email from the teacher who submitted the video for St. Raphael’s school, and it included the following comments:
“This contest quickly became something where ‘community and compassion united’ in a real, authentic way. I can’t say it enough how proud I am of the City of Sudbury and the support we received in the past six weeks.
Yes, I had my eyes set on first place, but in the end I have come to realize that it is not about the money, it is about the message. I can’t thank you and UCT enough for providing such a great place to bring awareness and get people talking about our programs and the people of Sudbury, young and old, who live with physical or mental disabilities.”
We have received similar comments from several participants in this contest. We are pleased to provide prize money to the winners, but it seems that the process of being in the contest has helped to unite communities and increase awareness of great programs within those communities. It is nice to be the catalyst for something like that.