Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA), one of the nation’s largest youth development organizations, today (Wednesday, July 29) announced a national partnership with Marquette University, Milwaukee, Wis., to extend educational opportunities for outstanding young people.
Marquette will provide up to three full-tuition scholarships annually to winners of BGCA’s Youth of the Year program, which recognizes exceptional Boys & Girls Club members. Each scholarship, renewable for four years, is valued at more than $110,000. The first scholarships will be awarded for students who enroll as freshmen in the fall 2010 semester.
This national initiative has its roots in a local partnership. When Marquette University created an Urban Scholarship program several years ago, two of the 10 annual, full-tuition scholarships were designated for members of Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee. The national partnership will make Youth of the Year winners from all 50 states, Puerto Rico and U.S. military bases abroad eligible for the new scholarships.
“We hope this exciting partnership with Marquette will become a model for other institutions of higher education nationwide, increasing the opportunity for qualified students to access a college education,” said Roxanne Spillett, president and CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of America. “We are thrilled that Marquette reached out to us and are excited about the futures of the selected Club teens. Education is one of our highest priorities at Boys & Girls Clubs, and is critical to our mission of enabling young people to realize their full potential.”
Being named Youth of the Year is the highest honor bestowed on a Boys & Girls Club member. The title recognizes outstanding contributions to a young person’s family, school, community and Boys & Girls Club, as well as personal challenges and obstacles overcome. Applicants for the Marquette scholarships must also meet the university’s admission criteria.
“Boys & Girls Clubs serve youth in our communities by helping them develop academic and leadership skills, and instilling in them the importance of service,” said Robert A. Wild, S.J., president of Marquette University. “Those characteristics fit well with the pillars of a Marquette education – excellence, faith, leadership and service. And while we are starting with up to three national scholarships, in addition to the two local ones, we hope that this partnership will grow to involve more students here in Milwaukee and across the country, supporting Marquette’s long tradition of educational access.”
Currently, nearly 25 percent of Marquette’s undergraduate population are first-generation college students.
About Boys & Girls Clubs of America
For more than 100 years, Boys & Girls Clubs of America (www.bgca.org) has helped kids "Be Great," providing hope and opportunity for those who need it most. Today, more than 4,300 Clubs serve some 4.5 million young people through Club membership and community outreach. Known as The Positive Place for Kids, Boys & Girls Clubs can be found throughout the country and on U.S. military bases worldwide, providing young people 6-18 years old with guidance-oriented character development programs conducted by trained, professional staff. Clubs positively impact lives and help young people reach their full potential as productive, caring citizens. Key programs emphasize leadership development; education and career exploration; community service; technology training; financial literacy; health and life skills; the arts; sports, fitness and recreation; and family outreach. In a recent Harris Survey of Club alumni, 57 percent said the Club saved their lives. National headquarters are located in Atlanta.
About Marquette University
Marquette University is a Catholic, Jesuit university located in Milwaukee. More than 11,000 students are enrolled in nationally recognized undergraduate, graduate and professional programs. In 2009, U.S. News and World Report ranked Marquette 77th among the nation’s top universities. Washington Monthly calls Marquette a top fifty school for “contributions to the public interest.”
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