First Caribbean looking for a few good heroes
Since the pilot of the Unsung Heroes Program in 2003, CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank has been seeking out and recognizing persons who selflessly give to their communities. It’s that time of year again when the bank invites the public to submit nominations. The programme’s local coordinator, Rosanna Villanueva, says that unsung heroes are all over the country and come from all walks of life. But it’s up to their communities to bring their work to light and help them to win funds to keep their causes alive. To encourage more nominations, the FirstCaribbean has also made the submission process easier this year, by making additional forms available through supermarkets and newspapers. Villanueva explains the criteria for nominees.
Rosanna Villanueva, Local Coordinator, Unsung Heroes Program
“To be an Unsung Hero, there are a few criteria that we look for; the main being that the individual should be a person who is dedicated beyond the ordinary to social improvement. That’s the banner for an unsung hero. The person should also be from the Caribbean and have either low or no media profile, meaning that they are not well known yet outside their community. The person should have a cause that could benefit from the exposure that will come with the program and of course, we would want somebody who would be willing to take part in the bank’s PR program. During the nomination period, which runs from today until the thirtieth of June, we’ll have nomination forms going out in the public. We’ll have them going out in the public. We’ll have them going out in newspapers, we’ll have them available at our branches, we have some participating supermarkets that have partnered with us this year and so the forms will be out there available. We also have them on our website where you can actually complete it and submit it electronically if you don’t want to write. So the forms are available, they’re easy to come by.”
“So what’s the main objective of this program?”
“The main objective of the Unsung Heroes Program is to seek out those persons who are doing exceptional work in their communities; that’s the main idea. The bank really holds these persons up as examples for the work that they are doing and the hope is that through the program they will get some much deserved recognition for the work that they are doing, they will get some attention toward their cause and hopefully some much needed funds as well.”
“And they also have the opportunity to win regionally right?”
“Right, exactly. We have the local competition where we pick either one or two finalists for Belize and those persons each receive Six thousand US dollars toward their cause. They then go on to compete in the regional competition where, if they are chosen as the regional Unsung Hero, they will get an additional seven thousand, five hundred US dollars toward their cause. If they’re chosen as one of the regional runners up, they get an additional five thousand US towards their cause as well. Of course this is amongst the seventeen territories in which CIBC FirstCaribbean operates.”
According to Villanueva, they received a record number of nominations in 2011 and they are hoping to top that this year. The participating supermarkets are Brodies on the Northern Highway and Belmopan, Save-U Supermarket and K-Park in Belize City, Tony’s Superstore in Independence Village and the People’s Store in Orange Walk.