HOUSTON-WORLD's sixth annual Hope Award for Effective Compassion contest concluded Friday night with the announcement of the national winner at a ceremony in Houston. Some 8,000 readers and supporters had voted online during August and September for the Christian poverty-fighting charity they thought did the best job in providing help that's challenging, personal, and spiritual.
The national winner was (drum roll) Victory Trade School of Springfield, Mo. VTS director Victoria Queen accepted the award and a check for $25,000 on behalf of the ministry before a group of WORLD readers gathered at Houston Baptist University. All four regional winners received a check for $5,000. You can learn more about Northeast region winner Bowery Mission Women's Center, South winner Challenge House, West winner Hope Now for Youth, and national winner Victory Trade School (the Midwest champion) by reading profiles, watching videos, and viewing video slideshows about all four at WORLD's Hope Award page.
Program directors and volunteers from these organizations came to the Houston dinner and entered my roster of heroes and heroines. That's because all of us are messed up in various ways, but these Christians often work with the most difficult of the difficult-and they do so not just for a few days but for years, persevering with little pay or recognition.
The money (provided by a generous WORLD donor) is important to these small organizations, but the recognition also helps. Millions of Christians selflessly and almost anonymously volunteer their time to help others, knowing that God pays attention-but it's pleasant when some others do as well. Congratulations not only to Victory Trade School and the regional winners but to all the unsung who are winners in the eyes of the Audience of One that is truly important.
Listen to Marvin Olasky announce the winner of the 2011 Hope Award for Effective Compassion on the Oct. 15 edition of the radio program The World and Everything in It.