By Jenny Callison
EVANSTON - On Tuesday, astronaut Mae Jemison will help launch young people into lives of promise and purpose.
Jemison, who in 1987 became the first African-American woman in space, is the keynote speaker for the annual Achievement Luncheon of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Cincinnati. The event celebrates the organization's 65 years of service and the accomplishments of five remarkable young people whose lives have been enhanced through participation in its programs. The five, one from each club, were nominees for the clubs' Youth of the Year award.
Jemison will present the award to Jerritt Hayes of the U.S. Bank Boys & Girls Club in Avondale, who also placed second at the recent state competition. Hayes, 18, is a senior at Purcell Marian High School.
"Jerritt has served as an outstanding role model within the clubs and has been a member of the Keystone Club, which is our leadership development program," said Lawra Baumann, the local club president. "In addition to his many activities at the club, he is very active in the community and in church work."
Baumann said that Hayes has sought ways to curb teen violence in the community, and has addressed fellow young people on the issue of teen pregnancy and the importance of abstinence from drugs and alcohol.
"The Boys & Girls Club is part of my family," Hayes said. "I grew up there, and they became like my parents, looking out for me."
The teenager's leadership and academic promise led to a scholarship to Purcell Marian from Richard Grote, a local businessman and philanthropist. Hayes plans to continue his education in Cincinnati State Technical & Community College's culinary arts program.
"Becoming Youth of the Year is a great honor; it's the best thing that ever happened to me," he said.
Proceeds from the Achievement Luncheon support the club's Youth of the Year scholarship. The event also raises awareness of the organization, its goals and its programs.
Other Youth of the Year finalists were Jeremy Head, Espy Club in Lower Price Hill; Devon Boxx, Buenger Club in Newport; Nicole Stallkamp, Marge Schott-Unnewehr Club in Covington; and Jasmaine Larry, LeBlond Club in Over-the-Rhine.
If you go
What: Annual Achievement Luncheon, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Cincinnati
When: Noon to 1 p.m. Tuesday Where: Cintas Center, Xavier University
Cost: Individual tickets begin at $50; table sponsorships available.
Information: 421-8909 ext. 15.
About the clubs
Through after-school and summer programs at its five locations in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky, the Boys & Girls Clubs provide academic support and development in leadership, athletics, the arts, health and fitness.
Some funding comes from United Way and from the national Boys & Girls Clubs organization, but the local club must raise about two-thirds of its annual $2.98 million budget.
Through a partnership with the states of Ohio and Kentucky, the organization serves meals to children who participate in its programs. Last year it served 75,000 meals.
Information: www.bgcgc.org or 421-8909, ext. 15.
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