Senior Military Officials and Members of Congress Join Trisha Yearwood and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. for Third Annual Challenge Champions Gala Event honored Senator Elizabeth Dole and Congressman Norm Dicks for

their strong support of Youth Challenge







    WASHINGTON, Feb. 27 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Guard Youth
 Foundation hosted its third annual Challenge Champions Dinner and Awards
 Ceremony on Feb. 26, 2008 at the J.W. Marriott Hotel to honor advocates of
 the National Guard Youth Challenge Program, a 17-month voluntary
 intervention program established to provide training and education for high
 school dropouts interested in pursuing higher education, attaining
 employment or joining the military. The Youth Challenge program operates 35
 programs in 29 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia and has
 graduated over 77,000 former high school dropouts since being founded in
 1993.
 
 
 
     The event, emceed by Kerri Turner of JAG, honored the advocacy efforts
 of Senator Elizabeth Dole and Congressman Norm Dicks on behalf of Youth
 Challenge. Three-time Grammy winner and country music superstar Trisha
 Yearwood performed at the event that also featured NASCAR fan favorite Dale
 Earnhardt Jr., the new driver of the #88 National Guard car. Other awardees
 included Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs, The Honorable
 Thomas Hall; the Adjutants General of West Virginia, Major General Allen
 Tackett and Curt Kolcun from Microsoft, who have contributed grants of over
 $7 million to the Youth Challenge program.
 
 
 
     "This event was an opportunity to gather and honor the exemplary
 efforts of those around the country who have championed the Youth Challenge
 program and pledged their unwavering support to ending the high school
 dropout crisis that has become a silent epidemic in this nation," said Greg
 Sharp, president of the National Guard Youth Foundation. "It was also an
 opportunity for supporters of the program to meet with young cadets and
 hear their transformational stories first-hand."
 
 
 
     The event was attended by over 1,000 guests, including Deputy Secretary
 of Defense Gordon England; the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff,
 Admiral Mike Mullen; Director National Guard Bureau, Lieutenant General H.
 Steven Blum; Secretary of Veterans Affairs James Peake; former Secretary of
 the Veterans Affairs Tony Principi; Secretary of the Air Force Michael
 Wynne; Director, Army National Guard, Lieutenant General Clyde Vaughn;
 Chairman of the Board of the National Guard Association of the United
 States and the Adjutant General of the state of Indiana, Major General
 Marty Umbarger; Senator Mary Landrieu (LA); Senator Ted Stevens (AK);
 Governor and Mrs. Brad Henry (OK); Governor Linda Lingle (HI) and Governor
 Jim Gibbons (NV), as well as other senior DOD officials and members of
 Congress. 100 Youth Challenge Cadets from across the country were also in
 attendance.
 
 
 
     About the National Guard Youth Challenge Program: The National Guard
 Youth ChalleNGe Program is a 17-month, co-ed program for 16- to 18-year-old
 high school dropouts that offers them the opportunity to enhance their life
 skills, earn their GED, pursue higher education, improve their employment
 potential and broaden their chances at success. Since being founded in
 1993, the Youth Challenge has grown to 35 programs in 29 states, Puerto
 Rico and the District of Columbia and has graduated over 77,000 former high
 school dropouts. For more information about the National Guard Youth
 ChalleNGe Program, go to http://www.ngycp.org.
 
 
 
     About the National Guard Youth Foundation: The National Guard Youth
 Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization formed to support the
 work of the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program through public
 awareness, scholarships, higher education assistance, mentoring and job
 development programs for graduates. The Foundation works to expand the
 number of states and sites per state to accommodate growing demand for the
 program. The Honorary Board of Directors is co-chaired by Former President
 George H. W. Bush and Senator Mary L. Landrieu (D-La). For more information
 about the National Guard Youth Foundation, please visit
 www.ngyouthfoundation.org.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

SOURCE National Guard Youth Foundation

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