“You don’t have to write rules about how to make communities better, you just have to understand.” - Joe Crookham, founder UCU
Understanding Community Understanding Winners 2018
First Place – Gabrielle Henderson Kindness and charitable awareness community project. Community program to collect yarn and knit hats for babies and distribute them to hospitals and cancer centers.
I started this project because of my little sister going through pre-cancer testing. It was really hard on my family to see her going through that and it felt really good to give something to children and families that I knew felt the same or worse pain every single day. I have worked with dozens of schools, clubs, churches and even a local music festival to donate a little under 400 hats so far! I’m really excited to continue this project and to register it as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit sometime this summer or early fall. Every single hat has gone to either a NICU or a pediatric cancer treatment center for children in need.
Second Place – Christine Nguyen State cancer initiative. Legislation and supplies in support for cancer patients.
My uncle fought stage four cancer for several years and passed away last February. In his memory, I started Oklahoma’s first high school Students Against Cancer chapter. Our mission was to provide support to Oklahoma patients and caregivers. We collaborated with the American Cancer Society and Oklahomans for Step Therapy Reform to advocate for the passage of Senate Bill 509 (which reformed step therapy to help Oklahoma patients get quicker access to medications prescribed by their doctors) and led the first youth cohort at the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Action Network Day at the Capitol. In addition, we created care packages with Tenaciously Teal, knit hats and scarves for the Stephenson Cancer Center, created blankets and pillowcases for several organizations and attended various events to support larger nonprofits.
Third Place – Nikolas McNeal Bleeding control student education program supplying mass trauma training and trauma kits for schools.
My project consisted of designing, implementing and sustaining an improved security/safety system for Clay High School in Oregon, Ohio. Notable achievements of my work include obtaining first aid trauma kits in every school classroom, having faculty undergo professional training on blood loss mitigation and partnering with my school’s student council program to release a school-wide survey that led to greater insight on students’ perspectives of our school safety measures. In the future, my school district’s board of education anticipates providing funding to continue this project at the district level. My work, partnered with the assistance of Mercy Health, S&D Capital and our board of education led to national recognition with ABC News. It is not the recognition, however, that made my work worth it. Instead, it was my realization that the greatest form of leadership is impacting local lives in the community, one by one.
Four Star Leadership General Tommy Franks Leadership Institute and Museum