WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) today announced that Stacey Walker, a five-year member of the Boys & Girls Club of Cedar Rapids, has been named 2006-07 National Youth of the Year.In addition to the title, Walker, who was honored at a Congressional Breakfast held Wednesday in the Dirksen Senate Office Building, will receive a $15,000 scholarship from the Reader's Digest Foundation and the opportunity to meet the President of the United States. The breakfast was attended by Major League Baseball President and COO Bob DuPuy and Washington Nationals and Baseball Hall of Famer Frank Robinson. Both greeted and congratulated Walker before and after his selection. The Youth of the Year program has, since 1947, recognized outstanding contributions to family, school, community and the Boys & Girls Club; academic excellence; and personal challenges and obstacles overcome. "I'm very proud of the accomplishments of Stacey and all the nominees," said Roxanne Spillett, president, BGCA. In order to compete for this prestigious national honor Walker, as well as the four finalists, garnered the Youth of the Year title at their respective local, state and regional levels. The other finalists were Kelly Barefield (Seattle, Wash.), Alyse Eady (Fort Smith, Ark.), Montorie Lee (Camilla, Ga.) and David Shelly (Pittsburgh). Walker's loss of his mother at the age of 4 was a tragedy, but the wisdom and strength of his grandmother carried him through, shaping him into a stellar young man. The Boys & Girls Club of Cedar Rapids also provided a means for Walker to excel. He started out as a member, but quickly transitioned into a mentor, role model and staff member. Through Passport to Manhood, a program that teaches young boys how to become responsible young men, he helped others escape their dim surroundings in hopes of pursuing a brighter future. In addition to being an avid football player at his alma mater, Washington High School, Walker excelled in academics and was very active in student government and the debate team. He was presented with the Martin Luther King, Jr. Award and selected as a member of the National Council on Youth Leadership. Moreover, Walker used his athletic talents to help those in his community by coaching and starting the Student Athlete Mentoring program, in which he and other athletes mentored at-risk youth in the areas of sportsmanship, academics and everyday life. Walker is a freshman at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, where he is studying business law and communications. Walker and his fellow finalists were treated to a Washington Nationals game where they were all recognized in pre-game ceremonies. Walker then joined television personality Dr. Phil McGraw as ceremonial first pitch honorees.
About Boys & Girls Clubs of America: Boys & Girls Clubs of America (www.bgca.org) comprises a national network of more than 3,900 neighborhood-based facilities annually serving some 4.6 million young people, primarily from disadvantaged circumstances. Known as "The Positive Place for Kids," the Clubs provide guidance-oriented character development programs on a daily basis for children 6-18 years old, conducted by a full-time professional staff. Key Boys & Girls Club programs emphasize character and leadership development, education and career development, health and life skills, the arts, sports, fitness and recreation.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.