Voya Financial, Inc. is supporting Kennedy Krieger Institute with a $12,000 grant, allowing the Institute’s Fairmount school campus to implement its Fairmount News Station project. Campus Assistant Principal Deidre Rabuck received the second-place prize in Voya’s annual Unsung Heroes program, and the company is giving the grant as part of Rabuck’s award.
Every year, Voya—a leading provider of retirement plans for educators—selects 100 K-12 educators across the country to receive $2,000 each to support their innovative and creative teaching ideas. Voya also selects three top winners to receive additional funds. As the second-place winner, Rabuck received $10,000 in addition to the $2,000 grant, bringing her total award to $12,000. Rabuck will use the award to help bring the Fairmount News Station project to life.
The Fairmount News Station will give students with learning, behavioral or physical disabilities the opportunity to write, produce and star in their school’s morning announcement news series. With a goal of mirroring an authentic, local news broadcast, students will create content, prepare written scripts, design background scenes, record the broadcast and deliver the finished newscasts to the school’s classrooms.
To honor Rabuck and Kennedy Krieger, Voya representatives planned a surprise celebration at the Fairmount school campus on Tuesday, October 30, at which Rabuck learned of the additional $10,000 award in front of a crowded room of students and staff members. She was presented with an oversized check and was congratulated for her innovation and dedication to students.
“The Fairmount school campus is thankful for Voya’s support and recognition of Deidre Rabuck’s vision for a student-run broadcast studio,” says campus Principal Sandi Jenkins. “The studio will allow our students to work on writing, public speaking, executive functioning and many other important skills. With Voya’s support and Deidre’s drive, energy and expertise, our students will have the opportunity to actively participate in broadcasts throughout the school year.”
With the Voya grant, Rabuck plans to purchase the equipment needed to accommodate the various disabilities and diverse learning styles of the students. Each broadcast will involve varying levels of complexity and will provide students with opportunities to move outside their comfort zones, work cooperatively and master a variety of new skills, helping them gain confidence and life experience.