Innovative Educational Program Takes Second Place in National Voya Unsung Heroes™ Awards Competition


WINDSOR, Conn., Oct. 12, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Voya Financial, Inc. (NYSE: VOYA), recently announced that Victoria Chatfield, a teacher at Williamsburg Collegiate Charter School in Brooklyn, New York, has received the second-place prize in the company's national 2015 Voya Unsung Heroes awards competition.

Voya Unsung Heroes 2nd place prize awarded to faculty and students at Williamsburg Collegiate Charter School in Brooklyn, New York.

Since the Voya Unsung Heroes program began in 1996, Voya has awarded over $4.5 million to more than 2,000 K-12 educators nationwide in support of their innovative teaching methods, creative educational projects and ability to positively influence the children they teach. 

As the second-place winner, selected from nearly 1,000 applications, Chatfield will receive $10,000 in addition to an initial $2,000 grant. This will bring her total financial award from Voya up to $12,000. The money will be used to help fund "Screen It," the award-winning program she is implementing at Williamsburg Collegiate Charter School. 

"Voya Financial is honored to salute Victoria Chatfield who has the vision to pioneer new methods and techniques in the classroom that inspire learning," said Carolyn Johnson, president of Annuities and Tax-Exempt Markets for Retirement at Voya Financial. "Each day, we help individuals plan, invest and protect their savings to prepare for their financial future, and we are proud to recognize these men and women who prepare students for their future. Teaching is one of the most important professions in the world, and we are privileged to help Victoria continue to make a positive, lifelong impact on the children she teaches."

Chatfield's innovative teaching idea, "Screen It," is focused on using performing arts to foster collaboration among students in all grade levels. This project will allow students at Williamsburg Collegiate Charter School to create a series of short films that will be presented at a festival held in the school's auditorium, which is open to the Brooklyn neighborhood. Eighth graders will direct, seventh graders will write, sixth graders will design, and all students will be eligible to perform in the short films. Through this project, students will engage and collaborate across all grade levels — enhancing the learning of younger students, while encouraging older students to become role models and leaders in the school's community.

Chatfield's idea was inspired by a seventh grade student who wrote a screenplay about a young man who fights against the gang culture of his neighborhood in an effort to go to college. After an in-class reading, classmates gave the student a standing ovation and wrote dozens of requests asking if the screenplay could be performed the following year. Chatfield hopes to capture this enthusiasm by using performing arts to help students learn, collaborate and grow together.

"Victoria's creative energy and passion for the arts has had such a tremendous impact on our school," said Alexandra Bronson, principal of Williamsburg Collegiate Charter School. "Crafting the theater program from scratch, Victoria's vision has enabled our students to step into the shoes of actors, playwrights, set designers and producers. In doing so, she has expanded their experiences and what they know about themselves. We are grateful Voya Financial selected Victoria as its second-place Unsung Heroes award winner, and the extra grant money will go a long way to making our theater program even better for our students."

The $12,000 grant will allow Chatfield to purchase additional equipment to enhance the program, including semi-pro cameras, editing equipment, lighting, costumes and set props for the short films.

To learn more about this year's winning projects, as well as those from previous years, visit the Voya Unsung Heroes website (unsungheroes.com). Applications for the 2016 Voya Unsung Heroes awards are currently being accepted through the website until April 30, 2016.   

As an industry leader and advocate for greater retirement readiness, Voya Financial is committed to delivering on its vision to be America's Retirement Company™ and its mission to make a secure financial future possible — one person, one family, one institution at a time. 

Media Contact:
Bill Sutton
Voya Financial
Office:  (860) 580-2626
Cell:  (315) 373-9685
[email protected]

About Voya Financial®
Voya Financial, Inc. (NYSE: VOYA), helps Americans plan, invest and protect their savings — to get ready to retire better. Serving the financial needs of approximately 13 million individual and institutional customers in the United States, Voya is a Fortune 500 company that had $11 billion in revenue in 2014. The company had $484 billion in total assets under management and administration as of June 30, 2015. With a clear mission to make a secure financial future possible — one person, one family, one institution at a time — Voya's vision is to be America's Retirement Company™.  The company is equally committed to conducting business in a way that is socially, environmentally, economically and ethically responsible — Voya has been recognized as one of the World's Most Ethical Companies, by the Ethisphere Institute, and as one of the Top Green Companies in the U.S., by Newsweek magazine. For more information, visit voya.com or view the company's 2014 annual report. Follow Voya Financial on Facebook and Twitter @Voya.

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