DAVID – Voya Financial, Inc. (NYSE: VOYA), a leading provider of retirement plans for educators, has announced that Anna Spittler, Jann Knappage, James Crace, Jerry Griffith and Diantha Daniels, a group of teachers at The David School in David, have received a $2,000 grant as part of the company’s 2015 Unsung Heroes awards competition.
Through the Voya Unsung Heroes program, Voya Financial awards grants to K-12 educators nationwide to honor their innovative teaching methods, creative educational projects, and their ability to positively influence the children they teach.
“At Voya Financial, we’re passionate about supporting new and exciting ideas that have a positive impact in our local communities — especially those that support the education of young people,” said Carolyn Johnson, president of Annuities and Tax-Exempt Markets at Voya Financial. “That’s why we’re proud to recognize these deserving teachers, who have found ways to inspire their students and who raise the bar in their profession each and every day. As we help Americans build a secure financial future, we’re honored to help this group of teachers go above and beyond to prepare their students for their own successful future.”
The team’s innovative teaching idea, “Inch by Inch,” is focused on integrating lessons from the garden into each core academic class to foster a hands-on learning environment for at-risk youth in the Appalachian region of eastern Kentucky. One goal will be to create a student entrepreneurial opportunity by teaching them to grow ingredients for two signature hot sauces to sell at the county farmer’s market along with other crops grown at the school. Students also will build an innovative, closed system chicken coop in wood shop classes, enhancing engineering and woodworking skills. The closed system chicken coop will allow for the collection of chicken manure for a new compost system. As the students maintain the garden, chicken coop and compost system, they will learn about biodynamic agriculture and push “Inch by Inch” even further in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education.
Selected from a group of nearly 1,000 applicants, the group is among only 100 winners across the country who will receive this award to help fund and bring their program to life. In addition they will now compete with other finalists for one of the top three prizes — an additional $5,000, $10,000 or $25,000 from Voya Financial.
To learn more about this year’s winning projects, as well as those from previous years, visit the Unsung Heroes website (unsungheroes.com). Applications for the 2016 Voya Unsung Heroes awards are currently being accepted through the website until April 30, 2016.