Today Pittsburgh Gives is raising money for a number of wonderful charities. The Challenge Program, Inc. is one of them.
The Challenge Program, Inc. is a non-profit organization that awards 10th, 11th and 12th grade students in five categories: Attendance, Academic Improvement, Academic Excellence, STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and Community Service.
When I was in high school, I received three Community Service awards (cha-ching!). But The Challenge Program, Inc. gave me more than three checks for $250; they gave me something much more valuable: a first class ticket to the beginning of my career as writer. Without TCP, I wouldn't be where I am today. It was through this wonderful organization that my career as a writer traveled skyward . . . and I am forever grateful.
Also, as soon as I graduated from high school, I was given an internship at TCP. This turned out to be a wonderful work experience for me, and, again, I had the opportunity to meet new people and make additional connections. How wonderful it was to know that so many people believed in me; I was only 18.
I also feel compelled to mention that at the beginning of this year, I had the opportunity to travel to Seattle to read my work at an event hosted in conjunction with this year's AWP Writer's Conference. The executive director of this organization opened up her own personal checkbook and gave me a small donation, writing in an email, "You are still one of the family," and "You are one of my best investments!" Case in point: the people running this organization are INVESTING in these students BEYOND high school. They believe in them. They want to change their lives.
I know this because The Challenge Program changed mine.
Please, if you can, show your support by making a donation today (you have until midnight to do so). Here's how it works: any contribution TCP receives ranging from $25 to $1,000 will be partially matched by The Pittsburgh Foundation, meaning all
contributions will ultimately count for more!
To donate to TCP or other organizations hoping to raise funds for all the good work they do throughout the year, click here. And to learn more about TCP, click here.
Fiction, poetry, and all that good stuff . . .