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A Barron Prize Young Hero Writes about the Value of Winning the Prize
We’re continually inspired by our Barron Prize young heroes and the good work they’re doing in the world. We’re also often inspired by the words they write. This is the case with Ray, one of our 2017 winners who blogs regularly on his website. Ray founded Ray United FC (RUFC), a non-profit that has raised more than $130,000 to fund soccer training and health education camps in Uganda, reaching over 3,000 youth.
Ray has given us permission to share the following excerpt from his blog – a post he wrote in October 2017, shortly after winning the Barron Prize. We share his heartfelt words with the hope they might inspire you or other young heroes to apply for the prize. We’d love to hear about the good you’re doing and to consider you for one of our $10,000 awards!
A couple days ago I had the honor of receiving the Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes, along with 20 other incredible young people from throughout the U.S. and Canada. While the award is in my name, it is really a recognition of all the work that RUFC has accomplished in the past three years. Achieving this recognition for our work is incredibly important to all of us at RUFC. It gives us the opportunity to raise awareness about what we do, increases our credibility, and it gives us some much-needed momentum moving into the next fundraising season.
It’s also personally nice to get acknowledged because most of the time being the face of, and running, a non-profit is difficult, time-consuming work. I’ve already written on this blog about some of the struggles. People question my credibility and my motives. They challenge me on the work I do and oftentimes refuse to give up their hard-earned dollars. Sometimes I even wonder whether the hard work I put in is really making a difference in the world.
But then I got a beautiful plaque in the mail: “In recognition of extraordinary service to people and our planet.” Is there anything cooler than to be recognized for that?! I don’t think so! I couldn’t help but smile because I know there are people who believe in me and the work I am trying to accomplish. And I’m not alone in my struggle to better our world and to spread happiness among its people. People of all ages around the world are dedicated to these things. But reading through the list of this year’s Gloria Barron Prize winners I felt a special kinship and respect for my fellow young ‘heroes’. While we are working on diverse issues in very different communities, I know they have faced many similar challenges as me.
To my fellow ‘heroes’ I want to congratulate you. Like me, you may go through periods where you get discouraged. You may be seen by your peers as unrealistic for wanting to promote change and a lot of the time it may feel like the work you do will make very little actual difference in the world. But you are not alone and together we are making a difference.Ray
The Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes celebrates inspiring, public-spirited young people from diverse backgrounds all across North America. Each year, the Barron Prize honors 25 outstanding young leaders ages 8 to 18 who have made a significant positive difference to people and the environment.