Released 14 March 2010
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LOCAL TEEN NAMED MARYLAND YOUTH OF THE YEAR BY BOYS & GIRLS
CLUBS OF AMERICA
Annapolis, Md., March 9, 2010 - Najee
Banks, a 10-year
member of Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club of Baltimore, was named the
Youth of the Year for the state of Maryland by Boys & Girls Clubs of
America (BGCA) today by Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley at the State Capitol.
In addition to winning this prestigious title, Banks also will receive a $1,500
scholarship from the Reader's
Digest Foundation. He was one of 14 Maryland
program finalists and is among hundreds of Youth of the Year winners across the
country recognized by BGCA for his sound character, leadership skills and
willingness to give back to the community.
Youth of the Year is the
highest honor a Boys & Girls Club member can receive. The title recognizes
outstanding contributions to a member's family, school, community and Boys
& Girls Club, as well as personal challenges and obstacles overcome.
"The Reader's Digest
Foundation has been the proud sponsor of the Youth of the Year program since
1947," said Susan Fraysse Russ, executive director, Reader's Digest
Foundation. "For over 60 years, we have
had the great honor of saluting amazing teens like Najee Banks for dedication
to their families, Club, community, and their academic and career goals."
and raised in West Baltimore, Najee, 16, faced
and overcame several challenges; however, he remains positive and optimistic
about his family circumstances and his future prospects. As a young child, his
grandmother taught him important lessons about service to others and community,
which continue to influence his decisions and actions.
is a fourth-generation member of the Franklin Square Unit of the Salvation Army
BGC of Baltimore. An active Club member, Banks regularly mentors younger
members and assists them with their homework when he is not organizing
performing arts activities with his peers. A gifted musician, Banks taught
himself to play piano, guitar, and drums.
honor roll student at Edmondson
School, Banks has selected media and communications
as his trade in high school. He also loves history and plans to pursue a career
in archeology and attend St. Mary's College.
Najee and all Youth of the Year nominees are
living proof that Boys & Girls Clubs across the country are fulfilling
their mission of inspiring and enabling young people," said Roxanne Spillett,
president, BGCA. "We are most appreciative to the Reader's Digest Foundation
for their long-time support of our Youth of the Year program and for helping
Club members attain their goals."
This summer, Banks
will compete against other youth from states located in BGCA's Northeast
Region. If named regional winner, he will be awarded a $10,000 college
scholarship and advance to the national competition in Washington, D.C.
The National Youth of the Year receives an additional $15,000 college
scholarship and will be installed by President Barack Obama during a ceremony
in the Oval Office.
As the founding sponsor of the Youth
of the Year program, the Reader's Digest Foundation has given nearly $8 million
towards BGCA and 62 teens have been selected as the National Youth of the Year.
For more information about the Youth of the Year program, visit www.bgca.org/yoy.