WASHINGTON – Boys & Girls Clubs of America announced Congresswoman Jackie Walorski (R-IN) as one of the recipients of their 2019 Champions of Youth Award. The honor was presented at the organization’s fifth annual National Days of Advocacy in Washington D.C. where nearly 200 Boys & Girls Club leaders, volunteers and youth from across the nation meet with members of Congress to advocate on behalf of America’s youth.
“Congresswoman Walorski is a prime example of a leader who goes above and beyond, demonstrating an outstanding commitment to our nation’s youth,” said Jim Clark, president and CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of America. “A familiar face at the Boys & Girls Clubs in her district, she is an instrumental supporter of the work Clubs do each day to make sure every child realizes their true potential. On behalf of the more than 131,000 kids Clubs serve in Indiana, we are proud to recognize her distinguished leadership and exceptional service in representing the interests of kids and teens.”
Created in 2016, the Congressional Champion of Youth Award recognizes distinguished leadership and extraordinary commitment to the shared goal of encouraging the nation's young people to reach their full potential. Her ongoing support of Clubs’ efforts to serve military-connected youth living on-and off-base has been invaluable. Congresswoman Walorski was the leading House champion for Boys & Girls Clubs work through the Military Public-Private Partnership – Better Together – to serve 250,000 military-connected youth living off-installation.
“Boys and Girls Clubs in northern Indiana and across the country offer incredible opportunities to help young people build a brighter future for themselves and their communities,” Congresswoman Walorski said. “When our nation’s young people have positive role models and the support they need to grow and thrive, entire communities experience an empowering change. I’ve seen firsthand the meaningful impact Boys and Girls Clubs of Elkhart County have on so many young Hoosiers through a commitment to service that is integral to their mission. I’m honored to receive the Boys and Girls Clubs of America Champion of Youth award, and I look forward to continuing our work together to advance opportunity and strengthen our communities.”
Serving more than 4 million youth at 4,300 sites, Clubs are located in cities, towns, public housing and on Native lands throughout the country, and serve military families in Boys & Girls Clubs of America-affiliated Youth Centers on U.S. military installations worldwide. Supporting America’s youth has never been more urgent in the nation's history. Currently, one in five young people lives in poverty and one in six is unlikely to graduate high school on time. Over 11 million young people are unsupervised after school, when juvenile crime escalates. Clubs are open every day after school and, as data indicates, provide programming that closes this opportunity gap so that all young people have the opportunity succeed.
“Congresswoman Walorski has been a valuable partner and steadfast supporter for Boys & Girls Clubs of Elkhart County,” said Vince Turner, board chair for Boys & Girls Clubs of Elkhart County. “She has consistently shown her unwavering dedication and reliable leadership on the issues and challenges affecting our kids and teens. We are proud to call her a Champion of Youth.”
According to Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s annual National Youth Outcomes Report, 97 percent of Club teens reported that they expect to graduate from high school, with 73 percent of low-income members ages 12 to 17 saying they earn mostly A's and B's, compared with 69 percent of their peers nationally. Additionally, Club teens are more likely to abstain from alcohol and marijuana than their national peers. Boys & Girls Clubs understand the problems facing America’s youth and offer proven solutions that support the success of millions of kids.