Charles H. Flowers High School special education teacher LeAnn Holden-Martin won first-place in the national Voya Unsung Heroes program which awards grants to K-12 educators across the country to support innovative teaching ideas! As the first-place winner, Holden-Martin received the $25,000 award and an additional $2,000 for placing as a top 50 national finalist.
Funds will support her brainchild, the school's Sonny House Job Skills Program, which helps high school students with severe cognitive disabilities develop real-world job skills. Through the program, students will receive specialized training for a broad range of jobs including housekeeping, laundry care, grocery bagging/shelving, mail sorting, car detailing, gardening and office work (e.g., shredding and basic computer skills). The skills students learn will promote positive self-esteem for a population that has historically been marginalized.
For two decades and with nearly $5 million in awarded grants, the Voya Unsung Heroes program has helped over 2,000 K-12 educators and their schools fund innovative classroom projects through awards totaling more than $5 million.