When you work with an organization from the outside, you see a lot of results but never know how those results happen. You walk into a grocery store and there are all kinds of product on the shelf, fresh produce and deli meat, but how did it get there? You go to your local community event and there are prizes, food, and decorations, but how long did that take to plan? If you work for any type of business or organization, you know there are things that have to happen behind the scenes to make the results seem almost magical.
Working for The Challenge Program, Inc. (TCP) has truly opened my eyes to what “behind the scenes” really means. Getting to attend an event or assembly with TCP is totally different than being the people who make it happen. This time of year (Fall) happens to be the busiest, craziest, most exhausting, but most rewarding time for all of us here. Our 3 Program Development Managers go to over 100 schools from September to November to hold an assembly and give out awards to students at each school. This year with our “Real Game of Life” theme, students and business partners get to share their opinions on how the choices we make now affect us later in life and how positive choices can turn into cash awards from TCP or a job in their community.
At our headquarters in Johnstown there are people coordinating all of this before and after each assembly. More than 100 schools need contacted to plan a time for each assembly and then that time must be matched to a business partner’s schedule. More than 100 educators and business partners need contacted to review the assembly. More than 200 banners get printed and rolled for schools to remind students of our awards throughout the year. More than 1,000 personalized checks get printed and stuffed into award packets for some outstanding students and more than 100 press releases get sent to the local papers.
Come December, what TCP team members are left with is a little bit of exhaustion but a whole lot of hope that what we just achieved changed lives. You can see the results in pictures of proud students and businesses like these.
You can see the results in realizing over 30 students got placed into jobs through TCP this year and you can see results in quotes like this: “It was wonderful to have my hard work recognized, especially by TCP. I always liked going to the assemblies for TCP because our students were being recognized for their hard work. Sometimes it is easy for students to think no one recognizes all of the work that they put into school. TCP is a great way to showcase students’ abilities and this opportunity is very much appreciated by myself as well as my fellow classmates.”-Sarah L. (Freeport HS)
What we are left with is that feeling of magic I always mention when talking about the Program in how everything always comes together to fulfill our mission. Just because everyone may not get to physically see the emotions stirred up in who we reach or the efforts behind the scenes, doesn’t make it any less real.