Guaranteed Rate and Chicago White Sox Announce Guaranteed Impact Winners; Kids Positively Impacting Their Communities to Be Celebrated
Guaranteed Rate, the eighth largest retail mortgage lender in the nation, and the Chicago White Sox today announced the winners of the Guaranteed Impact program, which honors kids and teens making a positive difference in their communities or schools. Guaranteed Impact winners will be recognized at a home White Sox game at Guaranteed Rate Field during a special in-game feature on the videoboard. The winners will be provided a suite stocked with food and non-alcoholic beverages to enjoy the game at Guaranteed Rate Field with up to 15 friends and family members. There are 10 winners for the 2017 season, all to be celebrated at different home White Sox games.
"We have an impressive group of kids who have worked hard to improve their communities and schools; I’m thrilled we can shine light on their selfless efforts," says Guaranteed Rate Founder and Chief Executive Officer Victor Ciardelli. "Giving back has always been a huge part of Guaranteed Rate and we think it's important to share stories of young people working to improve the lives of those around them. I believe these examples will inspire others to give back and show you’re never too young to make the world a better place.”
Following is a list of the Guaranteed Impact winners, all of whom have contributed to the betterment of their community or school in a unique, meaningful way.
Kevin Bautista, 18, Lakeview High School. Formed the “Bully Busters” to raise awareness among middle school students about the harmful effects of bullying by hosting interactive workshops. The Bully Busters interviewed CPS officials about bullying issues at public school and researched statistics and facts about bullying to understand how to best educate fellow students about this issue. Kevin also participated in a STEM challenge with Microsoft to show how technology can be utilized to reduce bullying in school.
Ava Kitty Gresser, 8, Edgar Allen Poe Elementary. Serves as integral participant of the Honeycomb Project, whose mission is to inspire kids and their families to strengthen Chicago’s communities through public service. Ava puts in more volunteer hours than anyone her age, volunteering to clean up 63rd St. Beach, baking cookies for families at the Ronald McDonald House, decorating bookcases for a school in Brighton Park, helping with the Anti-Cruelty Society and restoring a nature preserve on Lake Calumet.
Giovanni Francisco Felix, 18, Richards Career Academy High School. Nominated by the U.N.I.O.N. Impact Center for his leadership in the Social Justice Leadership Institute. Activities have included leading a group to clean the garden across from the high school, organizing community events to commemorate fallen heroes and victims of 9/11 and volunteering to monitor hallways and parks to provide safety and security for children in the Back of the Yards neighborhood soccer program. Giovanni has been an outspoken advocate for peace in the community during tense times in his neighborhood.
Aubrey Hennig, 14, McHenry Middle School. Founding member of the “Lemonade Brigade,” which started as a small one-time lemonade stand fundraiser but soon blossomed into a movement that has so far raised $125,440 for kids facing difficulties such as losing a parent, enduring a tragedy or suffering from a serious illness. The Lemonade Brigade has helped over 77 children, families and organizations and has implemented a mentorship program to encourage more children to volunteer and help their peers in times of need.
Cormac Friedlander, 8, Francis W. Parker. Helped bring the first adaptive soccer program for special needs children to the city of Chicago. As a child with cerebral palsy, Cormac stopped trying to play soccer with kids at recess due to his condition, which affects coordination, agility and speed. He desperately wanted to play and sought to start his own team. While US Youth Soccer has an outreach program called TOPSoccer, there was not a team in the city. Cormac was determined to bring the first TOPSoccer team to Chicago and, thanks to his determination, on April 11 the Chicago Super Stars were born. This new team allows kids like Cormac to achieve their dream of playing soccer.
Iviana Jones, 14, Michele Clark Academic Prep. Led a group tackling “The Aspen Challenge,” which inspires young people to be change-makers and find solutions to critical issues of the day. Iviana’s group focused on building positive relationships between the Austin community and neighborhood police officers. They organized productive talks and events with the groups and were presented with the Greatest Impact award for their ideas.
Daniel Garcia, 16, Carl Shore High School. Nominated by a Build On program coordinator for his dedication to the organization, which strives to break the cycle of poverty, illiteracy and low expectations through service and education. Danny served 279 hours in his community in one school- year alone, preparing meals for the homeless, mentoring at the Magic After School Place and playing language games with peers who are learning English. He has become an ambassador for Build On, encouraging friends and classmates to dedicate their time as well.
Madison Petravich, 14, Robert Healy Elementary. Active participant in the Kindness Club at school, which created a Wall of Kindness to promote the acceptance and support of peers by documenting and celebrating acts of kindness with photos and notes. School officials note that the Kindness Club transformed the entire school’s culture and helped compassion and empathy become the new norm in student interactions.
Ethan Greenberg, 18, Jones College Prep. Founded Jones’ Chapter of Best Buddies, an organization dedicated to ending the social stigma of those with development disabilities, and served as an officer of the organization throughout high school. Ethan additionally created the Best Buddies website for his school’s chapter, raising thousands of dollars within weeks of its creation. He also raised nearly $2,500 over the past two years by shaving his head for St. Baldrick’s Day, a fundraising event for childhood cancer research.
Madison Troth, 10, Isaac Fox Elementary. Created the “Buddy Bench” with her Girl Scout Troop #63 for their school playground. Anyone feeling excluded, lonely or sad can sit on the Buddy Bench so others know they need a friend and would like to be asked to play or talk. The girls felt this would be a creative solution to ensure everyone felt included as well as a way to make new friends. The troop organized a community ribbon cutting ceremony with the theme of friendship and kindness to introduce the Buddy Bench.
"The White Sox share Guaranteed Rate's passion for supporting our communities and celebrating the next generation of philanthropic leaders in a special way," says Brooks Boyer, Chicago White Sox senior vice president of sales and marketing. "We're thrilled to team up with Guaranteed Rate to honor these incredible kids and their work by providing them with VIP treatment to enjoy a game at Guaranteed Rate Field."