By Carroll Smith
Singer and philanthropist Bryan Adams once said, “I like the idea of helping people help people.” To expand that thought, one might say, “I like the idea of helping people help their communities.”
The Transform My Community Contest, inspired by Transform WG insecticide and sponsored by Dow AgroSciences and Cotton Farming magazine, is a way for cotton farmers and crop consultants to “transform” some aspect of their community with $20,000 prize money.
This year’s program kicks off Aug. 1 and runs through Sept. 30. Due to Section 18 label use restrictions, only cotton producers and consultants in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Tennessee and Texas are eligible to submit essays.
Field Of Dreams
In 2015 — the Transform My Community Contest’s inaugural year — Arkansas cotton farmer A.J. Hood wrote a heartfelt commentary about the Miracle League of Southeast Arkansas’ efforts to raise money to build a baseball field for kids and adults with disabilities. For Hood, it was personal. His brother had lived for more than 40 years with several disabilities before passing away last year.
“I would have loved for my brother to have had the opportunity to play baseball,” Hood says. “So when I found out that the Miracle League of Southeast Arkansas (SEARK) had set out on a mission to build a ‘Field of Dreams’ in Monticello for people with disabilities, I thought it was the perfect ‘community-transforming’ opportunity.”
The Arkansas farmer, who was the 2015 $10,000 grand prizewinner, says, “To think a short essay has done so much to transform Monticello and the lives of so many people with disabilities makes me very proud.”
After reading an article in Cotton Farming about Dow AgroSciences’ donation to SEARK Miracle League, a farm family in northeast Louisiana also sent the organization a personal check for $10,000 to support the effort.
Karen Connelley, SEARK Miracle League president, is excited that a contractor has now been hired and groundwork is underway for the baseball field, which will serve both children and adults. “Our goal is to complete the field by this fall so it will be ready for our first league,” she says. “In addition to receiving the wonderful $10,000 from Dow AgroSciences and the Louisiana farm family’s donation, we applied for and received a grant from the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism.
“We also are grateful for the city of Monticello and all of the individuals who made donations that allowed this dream to come true. What makes it all so special is that the community owns it.”
Hood encourages everyone who is eligible to enter the Transform My Community Contest. “Winning the grand prize money from DowAgroSciences served as a catalyst that encouraged more donations for our Miracle League field,” he says. “For the first time in some of these kids’ lives, they will step onto a baseball field and experience playing ball as well as belonging to a team. And I dare say that the volunteers who have helped so far and will help in the future will reap just as many rewards from this Miracle League field as the kids will.”
For The Children
Moved by the Transform My Community Contest’s success in connecting with long-term community development, Dow AgroSciences increased the grand prize money to $20,000 in 2016.
Tennessee crop consultant Larry Kimery submitted an entry with the hope of providing significant funding to the Carl Perkins Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse if he were chosen as the grand prizewinner. Three of the centers are in Gibson County and have provided services to children and families since 1989.
These non-profit entities work with child services, juvenile court and law enforcement. Today, the Carl Perkins Center offers a multitude of programs that require funding to sustain them. Among these are a 24-hour hot line, victim advocacy, community education, forensic interview, therapeutic visitation and a relative caregiver program.
After learning he had been chosen as the 2016 grand prizewinner, Kimery thanked Dow AgroSciences for the generous $20,000 donation that “will go a long way to help all the children in need of the center’s services.”
During the check presentation ceremony last October, Leah Blackburn, says, “It’s hard to put into words what receiving the $20,000 Dow AgroSciences TMC grand prize money means to the Gibson County Carl Perkins Center. It will allow the center to continue to provide quality services and advocate for more children and their families in Gibson County, just when they need it the most.”
In a recent update on how the $20,000 helped transform the communities served by the Carl Perkins Center, Blackburn says, “The money we received from Dow AgroSciences allowed us to hire a full-time family advocate who works directly with children, who have been victims of child abuse, and their families. This person provides victim advocacy, court support services and parent education, among other responsibilities.
“We are thrilled to have this position available to the children and families of Gibson County and owe a huge thank you to Mr. Larry Kimery, Dow AgroSciences and the Transform My Community Contest.”
Kimery says he would definitely encourage everyone who is eligible to enter the Transform My Community Contest.
“Every community has organizations that serve special needs. By turning a part-time advocate position into a full-time one with the $20,000 we won, the Carl Perkins Center was able to help more families become better citizens, which definitely transforms a community.
“I also continue to urge my customers to use Transform WG insecticide in our cotton so we can transform the way we control plant bugs.”
2017 Contest Opens Soon
“We are excited to kick off the third annual Transform My Community initiative,” says Lindsey LaBerge, U.S. product manager for Transform WG insecticide, Dow AgroSciences. “The program is a rewarding way for Dow AgroSciences to demonstrate its commitment to local cotton communities and the importance of preserving the rural way of life. The heartfelt entries from cotton farmers and consultants from previous years reflect their passion for supporting initiatives that will ultimately transform their communities for the betterment of all. The $20,000 grand prize for the winning entry will go a long way to help transform one lucky community again this year.”
To enter the contest, eligible cotton farmers and consultants are asked to submit a short essay — 500 words or less — about how Transform is protecting their cotton yield from plant bugs and how their favorite organization or charity (local FFA chapter, food bank, library, etc.) is working to help transform the community. Entrants also are encouraged to attach photos (if applicable).
Dow AgroSciences will donate $20,000 to the chosen organization or charity and present $1,000 cash to the cotton farmer or consultant who submits the winning entry.
Go to www.transformmycommunity.com on Aug. 1 to access the contest entry form. Entries are judged on compelling need, creativity and tie-in to the Transform insecticide theme.
®™DOW Diamond, Isoclast and Transform are trademarks of The Dow Chemical Company (“Dow”) or an affiliated company of Dow. Transform WG is not registered by U.S. EPA.Transform has Section 18 Specific Emergency Exemptions for use on cotton in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Tennessee and Texas. To learn more aboutTransform, to see which states or political subdivisions thereof have Section 18 Specific Emergency Exemptions, to see the limitations on the use of Transform under the Section 18Specific Emergency Exemption labels, and to find a list of retailers that may carry this product under a particular Section 18 exemption, call 800-258-3033 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Always read and follow label directions. ©2017 Dow AgroSciences LLC L11-396-007 (07/17) BR DAAGTFRM7054