The Chicago Blackhawks and the Inner City Education (ICE) program had a brush with TV greatness this past week.
As part of an episode promoting the idea of "Pay It Forward,, Oprah Winfrey gave every member of her studio audience $1,000 and told them to do something charitable with it. She also instructed them to video tape their efforts and then document the "Pay It Forward" phenomenon as it unfolds.
The idea of "Pay it Forward" is to use a donation to inspire others to donate to the same cause.
Allison Satyr, happened to be in the audience and happened to know about ICE. She thought that the not-for-profit organization that provides academic scholarships for low income students excelling academically while participating in youth hockey might be the perfect charitable recipient of Oprah's gift.
Using the "Pay It Forward" concept, Allison approached CDW, who donated two computers, and then gave ICE another two computers for $1,000. That way all four boys that are currently in the ICE program could each have a laptop computer.
It was decided that the place to give the boys their computers and a moment that they might never forget would be with the Chicago Blackhawks and in the Hawks locker room. Blackhawks defensemen Brent Seabrook (left) and Jim Vandermeer had thrown their support behind ICE last year appearing at a skate for the kids and signing autographs, and had offered to host Allison and the boys as she told them the good news about the computers and the money raised for ICE.
The boys received a tour of the locker room, got autographs from a number of players and asked questions of some of their hockey heroes.
Upon hearing of Oprah's donation, the Blackhawks players decided to match Oprah's $1,000 and make a "Pay It Forward" donation of their own, which caused the equipment manager for the team to offer up sticks for the boys in true "Pay It Forward" spirit. Countless others who have heard about Allison's original donation have stepped up to donate to ICE as well.
Oprah has invited every member of the audience that received the $1,000 gift to come back for another taping and the show will then select some of the top videos and "Pay It Forward" stories to air on that episode. We'll keep our fingers crossed that Oprah recognizes her "Windy City" neighbor and uses the ICE/Blackhawks story on her show.