The Genius Blog
Real Life Saint Nick Contest Winners
Posted by: Kate White on 01/14/2014 12:00 AM EDT
We here at SignUpGenius held our Real Life St. Nick Contest in December. We asked you to nominate individuals who make an impact on others with their kindness and generosity. Once again, we were tasked with making a tough decision! Among the many entries, these three were selected by our judging panel as our 2013 Real Life Saint Nick WINNERS.
1st Place Winner: Van Menuey
Van Menuey of Prescott, WI, was nominated by Tricia Jorke. Jorke wrote, “My friend, Van, is a real St. Nick. He works in an inner city homeless shelter. Many of the people there have untreated mental health issues and often they medicate themselves with drugs and alcohol. Many have criminal pasts. Some become violent. I have seen him put himself between a cop's gun and a homeless person. I've seen him calm the angry, bandage the bloody, feed the hungry and clothe the near naked with his own resources. He treats them with dignity and respect, regardless of how they look, smell, sound or may have done.”
Jorke’s nomination secured first place with her clarity, creativity and impact. Menuey's work at the Dorothy Day shelter in St. Paul, MN, helps the center serve about 400 individuals each night during cold months. Van’s generous and giving spirit is inspiring, and we are so happy to recognize him for all he does. Menuey will receive a $300 Visa gift card.
2nd Place Winner: Shauna Yusko
Shauna Yusko was nominated by Jen Mayo. Mayo wrote, “My friend Shauna is a real life St. Nick every day. Several years ago she started a program that sends sacks of food home with hungry school children over the weekends. The program has grown to serve 350+ students every week. Last fall Shauna was diagnosed with stage 3 aggressive breast cancer. Despite ongoing grueling treatments (chemo, radiation, surgeries) & exhaustion, Shauna continues to coordinate food deliveries every week.”
Yusko’s devotion to the Pantry Packs program has helped thousands of families in the Lake Washington School District. “This effort is supported by many volunteers, but without Shauna's direction and efforts it would not happen.” In December, Shauna also received a very special gift. Mayo shares, “for the first time since she was diagnosed over a year ago: all her test results came back cancer free! She is still recovering from the effects of chemo, radiation and surgery, but is overjoyed at this great news.” We are so thankful to hear the good news! Yusko will receive a $150 Visa gift card.
3rd Place Winner: Becca Avella
Teacher Kelly Gardner shared with us about student Becca Avella. “My real life St. Nick is my student, Becca. Becca gives so much of her time to help people in need. She is actively involved in our Interact and Thirsting to Serve clubs. She raises money every year to provide clean water for people in the La Romana, Dominican Republic and she travels there every year to meet the people and install bios and water filters. She pays for all of this on her own, even though she is only 17 years old. She inspires me to be a better teacher every day,” shares Gardner.
Currently, Avella is helping to organize The Sweetheart Splash, an event where people jump into the Rogue River to raise money for a cause near to their heart. Gardner says, “[Becca’s] tireless work is what is going to make this event successful. Becca is an amazing force for positive change in our school and community.” Avella’s work has not gone unnoticed. She will receive a $50 Visa gift card from SignUpGenius.
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