Santa made an early visit to UWM on Dec. 9 to deliver a $1,000 check to Cody P. Szhor, a sophomore majoring in exceptional education. Szhor was granted the Kevin John Fitzgerald 2013 Random Acts of Kindness Award for his advocacy in the UWM chapter of the Best Buddies program.
Best Buddies is a global volunteer movement dedicated to establishing one-to-one friendships, integrated employment and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Cody and his best buddy have come to many UWM classes to promote social activities and recruit volunteers for the UWM chapter.
The award was established in 2004 by MaryAnn and Drew Fitzgerald and family in memory and honor of their son, Kevin, a 20-year-old UWM student, who died in 2003 after suffering from depression. The award was set up to recognize the kindness Kevin exemplified in his life.
MaryAnn Fitzgerald has been an ad hoc instructor in the Department of Exceptional Education since 1987, and arranged for the visit from Santa to present the check. Szohr, who was in Fitzgerald’s class last year, can donate the money to the nonprofit of his choice. He said he plans to contribute to the Best Buddies program as well as other organizations that are important to him.