Event: What’s Right With The Region

Last night at the Sheldon Concert Hall, twenty individuals, groups and organizations were honored for the work they have done to improve the St. Louis region.

The 13th Annual ‘What’s Right With the Region‘ event, run by FOCUS St. Louis honors movers and shakers in five different categories. They are:

  • Creating Quality Educational Opportunities
  • Demonstrating Innovative Solutions
  • Fostering Regional Cooperation
  • Improving Racial Equality and Social Justice
  • Promoting Stronger Communities

For a complete list of the winners, visit the WRWR on FOCUS’s website.

Vickie Newton of KMOV – Newschannel 4 emceed the event with representatives from Wells Fargo, Edward Jones, Mercy East Medical Center and Monsanto presenting awards.

Of particular interest (to me anyway) was the celebration of the St. Louis Public Library in the ‘Communities’ category. Monsanto representative and FOCUS Board President Deb Patterson spoke passionately about the quality of our library system – a system that regularly ranks among the top five in the country – and its part in making St. Louis the country’s second most literate city.

Other honorees varied in their work. There are, of course, many programs that support and assist the poor, homeless and under-served and the more proactive honorees who are breaking the cycle of poverty by creating educational and professional growth opportunities for children and teens.

was honored in the ‘Innovative Solutions’ category, for the vision and determination they showed while securing land for pedestrian/bike trails and promoting active living. The St. Louis Area Chapter of American Red Cross was honored (in the ‘Cooperation’ category) for the creation of the Ready Rating program – a system that helps businesses, schools and communities be better prepared for emergencies. Washington University Medical Center Redevelopment Corporation was honored for its revitalization of the Central West End and Forest Park Southeast. WUMCRC, recognizing the need for strong urban neighborhoods, has improved security in the area, invested in real estate and redevelopment, and enhanced community service programs.

What’s Right With The Region concluded with the 2010 Leadership Award, given to John Vatterott for his work in both affordable quality education and helping the underserved or homeless. John, the founder of Vatterott College, accepted the award and expanded on the NativityMiguel model his schools use.

The event began with a cocktail reception at 5:30, followed by the awards ceremony at 7:00. The Sheldon saw a capacity crowd (minus balcony).

The ‘What’s Right With the Region’ ceremony certainly proved that there are members of our community actively working to improve the region in a variety of ways. While, personally, I would have liked to have seen a few less ‘help-the-underprivileged’ and a few more innovative, region-affecting programs, it is important to realize that all of these people are connected in their goal of a better St. Louis region. Without rehabilitation and support for those in need, the city and its surrounding areas see further blight and more stagnation. So when others help them, it opens the door for the change we want to see – namely more business, development and residency and a renewed energy, spirit, passion and pride for St. Louis.

Immediately after the event, FOCUS St. Louis begins accepting applications for next year’s honorees, so if there are any programs, initiatives or individuals you think fit into the listed categories, call, email or write FOCUS St. Louis to let them know.

Oh yeah – this was my first time in the Sheldon Concert Hall. It’s pretty great and I want to go back immediately.


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