Six weeks of hard work and determination for a group of college students has paid off. Concordia University Wisconsin’s Team VISTA has won this year’s Kapco Charitable Challenge; beating out teams from Marquette University and Wisconsin Lutheran College.

Team VISTA, from CUW’s Admission Department, supported the Leavitt family from West Bend. Both parents, Tom and Lisa, died within a few months of each other, leaving behind six daughters. Three of the daughters are under the age of 10, so Team VISTA focused on these children.

The team of 10 students was also assigned to help a “Make-A-Wish” child and family. The nine year-old has leukemia and the students helped by spending time with the child and helping out the family where needed.

“The presentations from the young people on each of the teams, Wisconsin Lutheran, Marquette University, as well as Concordia, were outstanding,” noted Concordia President Dr. Patrick T. Ferry.  “In a single month, participants in the Kapco Challenge touched thousands and thousands of lives.”  Of course, we are proud that our Concordia kids were chosen as champions.  However, this is truly one of those experiences where everybody involved walks away a winner,” said Ferry.

“I’m really proud of the effort that was put forth from the students to help these families,” said Amy Tavidian, staff advisor for Team VISTA. “These future leaders are setting an example that the entire University and community should be proud of,” Tavidian added.

The top honor was handed down Thursday night at Discovery World in downtown Milwaukee following a special presentation in which each of the teams described their efforts and the impact they have created. A celebrity panel of five judges picked the grand champion. Team VISTA has already raised over $100,000 for the community through its initiative, as well as touching the lives of thousands of individuals.  Several students indicated they’re already excited about getting involved again next year.  All told, the 30 students from the three finalists raised in excess of $250,000.

The Kapco Charitable Challenge was inaugurated in March, 2008, when Kapco Metal Stampings President Jim Kacmarcik gave six Concordia University Wisconsin student groups $1,000 with the idea to help others less fortunate.  This year’s challenge was expanded to include five teams from each of the three schools.  Kapco is headquartered in Grafton, Wisconsin.

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