Spring Sing 2014 was memorably victorious for many groups for an abundance of reasons. For Knights social club, it was a glorious return to the stage after more than a dozen years of absence. For newly instated President Dr. Bruce McLarty, it was a successful first experience at the helm of the tradition. For the audience, 2014 was full of big and bold performances.
However, the true, uncontested winners of 2014’s Spring Sing are often swept under the rug by the bright lights and blaring choirs. The charities benefiting from the contesting clubs’ fight for fame received thousands of dollars from the university’s sweepstakes donations, and are still thriving in their areas of expertise.
Melody Sugg, the executive director of the Arkansas chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (CFF), did not forget the impact Spring Sing had on her organization. The CFF, which is a non-profit striving to expand research and ultimately find a cure for the disease, received the $2,000 John H. Ryan sweepstakes as a result of the Knights’ first place victory. Since the spring of 2014, the research foundation has improved drastically.
“The CFF has had several significant scientific breakthroughs since last year,” Brewer said. “There is now a drug before the FDA that will affect 50 percent of our patients.”
The beneficiary of TNT, Zeta Rho and friends’ second place effort was the local organization Jacob’s Place, which provides temporary housing for the homeless in the White County community. Executive director Jeffrey Sheets is a prime example of how far the non-profit has come since last spring.
“We were able to put a director in place, myself,” Sheets said. “We were also able to be a little bit choosier with our staff.”
Sheets mentioned a number of other areas in which Jacob’s Place has progressed, including more effective strategies to successfully get their clients and residents back on their feet.
Chi Sigma Alpha, Regina, OEGE, Sigma Phi Mu and friends combined for third place in an effort to bring funds to Searcy Children’s Homes. According to the organization’s website, Searcy Children’s Homes train foster parents, provide adoption services and keep its doors open for maternity consultations.
Kim Wilson, a case manager at Searcy Children’s Home, said that the charity’s impact on the community continues to expand as the numbers of those served multiply each year.
“When I started four years ago we had 10 (foster parents),” Wilson said. “Last year we cared for 67 children. This is March, and we already have 34 children that we’ve cared for or are in care of right now.”
On Saturday night, the performing clubs will not be the only ones precariously positioned on the edge of their seats come the awards announcements — the representatives of the local charities will be eagerly anticipating their own slice of infamy from this year’s “Famous for Fifteen” performers.