Please join us on Monday, November 14 from 11:30am to 1:00pm at the Skirvin Hilton Hotel in downtown Oklahoma City to honor the recipients of the 2016 Reflections of Hope Award and the inaugural Oklahoma Standard Award.

peaceplayersReflections of Hope Award

Brendan and Sean Tuohey, two brothers from Washington, DC, spent time coaching youth basketball in North Ireland, in a region where nearly everything was segregated by religion. They saw Protestant and Catholic young people coming together to play basketball, able to share the game in a way they shared almost nothing else due to its perceived American heritage. With $7,000 raised from family and friends, the brothers launched Playing for Peace, which in 2007 became PeacePlayers International. Using the sport of basketball, PeacePlayers International, a 501(c)3, creates a safe and neutral space where youth people can begin to form deep personal bonds and lasting friendships.

This year, we are honored to present the Reflections of Hope Award to PeacePlayers International, an organization committed to united communities in conflict through playing sports and changing perceptions.

052416katieprior2Oklahoma Standard Award

This year also marks the inaugural Oklahoma Standard Award. This award will be presented to Katie Prior, a 16 year old Oklahoman who founded Youth Trumpet & Taps Corps, a service organization for high school trumpet players who sound Taps at military funerals. Katie exemplifies the Oklahoma Standard through her Acts of Service, Honor, and Kindness.

Katie has accomplished so many incredible things, perhaps the most inspirational though, is the work she completed on her Girl Scouts Gold Award Project. A girl with very strong moral and ethical values, this young woman saw injustice in how our country treats veterans during their funerals. After investigating this issue at length, Katie discovered that there were not enough people available to play live Taps at their funerals. Her goal was to train a group of volunteers to fill the gap and has ensured that veterans receive the recognition and respect they deserve. Perhaps what’s even more impressive is that despite meeting all of the criteria for the Gold Award, Katie has not stopped her dedication to the program. In fact, she started her own nonprofit organization, Youth Trumpet & Taps Corps and continues to train volunteers in several states across the country. Katie embodies the Oklahoma Standard by willingly giving her time to not only play live taps at Veterans’ funerals, but she also trains others to do the same.