Scholastic Media and HandsOn Network announced the winners of the fourth annual Be BIG In Your Community Contest. The contest was part of Clifford The Big Red Dog BE Big! campaign. Participants of all ages were encouraged to submit an idea that demonstrates Clifford’s Big Ideas which include Share, Help Others, Be kind, Be responsible, Play Fair, Be a Good Friend, Believe in Yourself, Have Respect, Work Together, and Be Truthful. The contestants were judged on their ideas based on feasibility, creativity, sustainability and impact.

The grand-prize of $5,000 was awarded to Zachary Certner from Morristown, New Jersey. The 16-year-old came up with the idea to provide special needs children with athletic and social programming. The program, Special Needs Athletic Programs (SNAP), also provides sensitivity training to schools in New Jersey. It also features a sports clinic, programs in art, music, tae kwon do, yoga, golf, and swimming.

A $1,000 community grant was also awarded to five contestants as first-place prize winners:

  • Laura Kooyman will create a program for parents living on the military base in Maryland where she is a teacher. The program will feature a Culture Camp for kids where they can learn about art, music, and a variety of other subjects. Bowling, dinner, or a museum outing will allow parents to interact to build a local support network.
  • Luke S. and his team from California will publish a newspaper for elementary school students in five local lower-income school districts.
  • Dana Halle of Newport Beach, Calif., and her team will create a Teen Club for teens with Down syndrome. The Teen Club features and after-school education and social club in which kids with Down syndrome can receive tutoring, work on developing social skills, and socialize.
  • Kristen Young and her team from Lafayette Hill, Pa., will expand on a program called Upcycling. Upcycling involves collecting non-recyclable trash, sorting it, and sending it to Teracycle. In turn, Teracycle sends the team checks for the collected trash. The money is then donated to various charities. With the award, Young will expend the program to other schools in the district and to community organizations.
  • Victoria B. of Texas will create Clothes Closet. This program will help underprivileged children with clothes donations.

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