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NEW YORK, May 1st, 2018 - Today, The Christophers announced the winners of their 30th Annual Video Contest for College Students in which entrants were asked to create a film or video that communicates the belief that one person can make a difference.


     Andrea Bueno, a junior at Miami Dade College, won the top prize of $2,000 for her piece entitled “Full Circle.”  Against a backdrop of vivid photos and live video footage, this film centers on the incredible true story of Rachel Salinas-Bueno. The daughter of migrant farm workers in Homestead, Florida, Salinas-Bueno started working in the fields at 11-years-old. One of nine children, Rachel quickly became used to hand-me-downs and no summer vacations, and was often embarrassed when her friends would discover the grueling nature of her work.


     Almost thirty years later, Salinas-Bueno not only wears her hardworking past as a badge of honor, but also uses it to help children today who face a similar struggle. For the past twenty-six years, Rachel has been employed in the Title I Migrant Education Program in the Miami-Dade County of Florida. This organization works with approximately 1,500 students across the county, encompassing everything from advocacy tutoring to homework assistance.


     “I lived their life,” Rachel summarized thoughtfully at the end of her interview, referring to the children assisted through her organization. “I’ve gone through their hardships and…somehow, through the grace of God, I’ve been able to overcome and to be blessed by it, to be now proud and happy of where I am…I think that I’ve come full circle.”


     Our second prize winner of $1,000 was also awarded to a college junior, Diana Dau David. David attends the prestigious American University in Washington D.C. Diana’s video outlines her remarkable journey as a Peace Corps volunteer, which began in October of 2014, when she moved to Batey, Isabela, in the Dominican Republic.


     For the next few years, as explained in the brief but concise subtitles of David’s film, this batey, or rural community near sugar cane fields, was her home. Diana’s mission swiftly became to shift some of the stark gender roles in this part of the Dominican Republic, beginning with the simple task of teaching young girls in the community how to play both volleyball and basketball. It wasn’t easy, and it would be months before they garnered any “male support” in their athletic endeavor.


     But by September 2016, Diana saw her basketball team participate in their first regional tournament. By March of the following year, there were both male and female basketball and volleyball teams established in Isabela. It just goes to show that one person truly can make a difference, as David’s video title denotes in “Gender Equality: One Sport at a Time.”


     Finally, University of Florida student Alexa Lorenzo earned the $500 third prize for her film entitled “After ALS, Artist Finds New Painting Method.” This news-magazine segment features Sandra Murphy-Pak, an artist who was diagnosed with ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) almost four years ago. The onset of Pak’s illness, the symptoms of which included a loss of feeling in both hands and arms, prompted her to find a new method of painting. As seen in the footage narrated by Alexa, Sandra, with the help of her artist friend Sarah Hinds and a leg sling, uses her right foot as a paintbrush to create her unique masterpieces. The resulting canvases Pak produces utilizing this technique are as breathtaking as they are inspiring.


     “The disease robbed Sandra of the ability to use her arms and hands,” Lorenzo concluded in the final minutes of her WUFT newscast. “But her creative ability remains unscathed…. From the soles of her feet come the images of her soul…Sandra doesn’t worry about what the future holds. Instead she relishes in the present and her artistic accomplishments, remembering ‘anything is possible.’ “

1st Prize-Andrea Bueno- Miami Dade College- Miami, Florida

2nd Prize-Diana Dau David-American University in Washington D.C.

3rd Prize-Alexa Lorenzo-University of Florida-Gainesville, FL

Honorable mentions

Fred Brou-Denison University-Fountain City, IN

Title:  I'll Be There


Kirsten Hoang-Saddleback College-Mission Viejo, CA

Title: "Behind Closed Doors"

Christian Surtz-Northwestern University-Evanston, IL

Title: Above-Average Dreams: 12 College Students, Burnell Cotlon, and the Quest to Make a Difference

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