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

WINDSOR, Conn., Oct. 29, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Voya Financial, Inc. (NYSE: VOYA), formerly ING U.S., announced today that Meredith Mooney, a teacher at Dr. James "Red" Duke Elementary School in Manvel, Texas, has received the third-place prize in the company's national 2014 Voya Unsung Heroes awards competition.

Since the Voya Unsung Heroes program began in 1996, Voya has awarded nearly $5 million to more than 2,000 K-12 educators nationwide to honor their innovative teaching methods, creative educational projects and ability to positively influence the children they teach. 

As the third-place winner, selected from over 1,000 applications, Mooney will receive $5,000 to add to her initial $2,000 grant, bringing her total to $7,000 to help fund Opera Alive: Song, Story, Art, the award-winning program she is implementing at Dr. James "Red" Duke Elementary School. 

"We are extremely product of Mrs. Mooney for her commitment and dedication to each of the students at Duke Elementary," said Fulvia Shaw, principal at Dr. James "Red" Duke Elementary School. "She works daily to instill a love and passion of music in all of her students, and is truly deserving of this outstanding award and honor." 

Opera Alive: Song, Story, Art is designed to help the school's fifth grade students connect with true stories from American history by using the stories to compose original one-act operas.  Incorporating visual arts, each class writes a libretto, makes staging decisions and orchestrates the opera. Throughout the process, students conduct historical research by facilitating a virtual interview with local music professionals to find true stories they want to bring to life.      

The $7,000 grant will allow Mooney to purchase additional technology to enhance the program, including tablets, camcorders, instruments, lights and costumes.

"Voya Financial is honored to salute these outstanding teachers who have the vision to pioneer new methods and techniques in the classroom that inspire learning," said Carolyn Johnson, president of Tax-Exempt Markets for Retirement Solutions at Voya Financial. "Each day, we help individuals prepare for a secure financial future and we are proud to recognize these men and women who prepare students for their future. We understand teaching is one of the most important professions in the world and are pleased to help Meredith continue making a life-long, positive impact on the children she teaches."

To learn more about this year's winning projects, as well as those from previous years, visit the Voya Unsung Heroes website. Applications for the 2015 Voya Unsung Heroes awards are currently being accepted through the website until April 30, 2015.   

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

Media Contact:
Emily Dawe         
Voya Financial
Office: (860) 580-1750
Cell: (203) 589-7688 
[email protected]

About Voya Financial

Voya Financial, Inc. (NYSE: VOYA), formerly ING U.S., is composed of premier retirement, investment and insurance companies serving the financial needs of approximately 13 million individual and institutional customers in the United States. The company's vision is to be America's Retirement CompanyTM and its guiding principle is centered on solving the most daunting financial challenge facing Americans today — retirement readiness. Working directly with clients and through a broad group of financial intermediaries, independent producers, affiliated advisors and dedicated sales specialists, Voya provides a comprehensive portfolio of asset accumulation, asset protection and asset distribution products and services. With a dedicated workforce of approximately 7,000 employees, Voya is grounded in a clear mission to make a secure financial future possible — one person, one family, one institution at a time. For more information, visit or view our Voya Financial Interactive Company Profile. Follow Voya Financial on Facebook and Twitter @Voya.

SOURCE Voya Financial, Inc.