Congratulations to Monica Alicea, the third place winner in Voya’s 2017 Unsung Heroes program. She was presented with her award on October 12th, and now she can put the $7,000 grant to work in the classroom. First and second place announcements coming soon, so stayed tuned!
Alicea’s innovative teaching idea, “Serving 4 Cause, Farm 2 Table,” focuses on hosting a dinner to benefit the Must Ministries “Save it Forward” program. The school’s staff is invited to eat a meal prepared by their students at the Kitchen Kids Café. Diners pay for dinner with a bottle of laundry detergent, which is donated to Must Ministries. Through this experience, students not only learn how to cook, but they also gain knowledge about hunger and homelessness in Georgia. With the Voya grant, Alicea plans to expand her project by purchasing more gardening equipment, including a tower garden, raised garden beds, and soil and plants for the gardens that will enable her students to grow produce for families in need. Her goal is to have one raised bed for each grade level and to eventually have a greenhouse to grow even more fruits and vegetables.
For two decades, and with nearly $5 million in awarded grants, Voya Unsung Heroes has proven to be an A+ program with educators. The program’s “alumni” have inspired success in the classroom and impacted countless numbers of students.
In looking back at the winning projects from the program’s 20-year history, Voya Financial was able to track some popular trends and compelling concepts that have shaped our country’s education system. Click on the image below to learn more about what types of programs made the grade.
Voya Unsung Heroes handed out its first awards in 1996 as a way for Voya Financial to demonstrate its commitment to the education community. Grants are given to K-12 educators utilizing new teaching methods and techniques that improve learning.
Each year, educators submit applications for a Voya Unsung Heroes grant by describing projects they have initiated or would like to pursue. Each project is judged on its:
- Innovative method
- Ability to positively influence the students
Each year, 100 finalists are selected to receive a $2,000 grant, payable to both the winning teacher and his or her school. At least one grant is awarded in each of the 50 states, provided at least one qualified application was received from each state. Winners are selected by Scholarship America, a national non-profit educational support and student aid service organization.
Of the 100 finalists, three are selected for additional financial awards: $25,000 for first place; $10,000 for second place; and $5,000 for third place. The top winners are selected by the Educators Advisory Board, consisting of six distinguished educators from across the U.S.
If you or someone you know has an idea for an outstanding educational project, we encourage you to apply for the Voya Unsung Heroes program. Complete the online application today!
Contact Scholarship America via email or by phone at (800) 537-4180. Or ask your local representative for more information. The deadline for applications is April 30. Winners are announced in the fall.