Direct Federal Credit Union's "Young Women Leaders of Tomorrow" Program Expands to Award Nearly $100,000 in Scholarships; Nine New Schools and $27,000 Added to Continue Helping High School Female Athletes Succeed

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As a way to become involved with the community, Direct Federal Credit Union (Needham, MA) launched its own non-profit scholarship program -- "Young Women Leaders of Tomorrow" -- for female high school athletes, with support for the program coming from several successful female athletes including Rebecca Lobo and Cammi Granato. Entering its second year, the program is now expanding the number of schools involved and is increasing its total scholarships awarded to nearly $100,000.

Direct Federal Credit Union, a not-for-profit based in Needham, is adding nine Bay State high schools to the "Young Women Leaders of Tomorrow" program. The 2007/2008 program year will include 31 high schools and will award a total of $93,000 in scholarships, recognizing nearly one hundred female athletes, who participate in the sports of field hockey, basketball, ice hockey and/or softball, for their leadership on and off the field. "The Young Women Leaders of Tomorrow" advisory board reads like a who's who among female athletes including basketball's Rebecca Lobo and Sarah Behn, ice hockey's Cammi Granato, field hockey's Dina Rizzo and Megan Donnelly and baseball/softball's Mary Pratt and Danielle Henderson.

"These young female athletes deserve to be recognized for their athletic and academic accomplishments," says Rebecca Lobo. "I'm so proud to be a supporter of such a great program, as it makes a difference in young girls' lives. I wish a program like this had existed when I was starting out."

"We are excited to be able to expand our program and support and recognize the young leaders from the additional nine schools. Our aim is to encourage and reward the development of leadership skills among young women," says Jean Geiwitz, Direct Federal's Senior VP of Marketing.

Direct Federal's marketing department, headed by Geiwitz, developed this community service program in 2006.

"We wanted to create a program that would both address a need and have high participation throughout the community," adds Geiwitz. "The 'Young Women Leaders of Tomorrow' program requires a lot of work and commitment and we believe it is well worth the investment. It's not just another scholarship program. We're encouraging and rewarding academic and athletic excellence because we believe to achieve both requires discipline, commitment and teamwork, all of which are essential ingredients of leadership. Encouraging young women to become leaders will benefit both the participants and the community as a whole."

Throughout this past academic year, the "Young Women Leaders of Tomorrow" purchased uniforms for several of the female high school sports teams, sponsored all-star games and pre-season jamborees, hosted sports clinics and donated time and money to other area educational charities, including the local library foundation. With the addition of nine schools, Direct Federal is looking forward to even more involvement with the community.

For more information about the program or to find out how to get involved, please visit http://www.direct.com and click on the "Young Women Leaders of Tomorrow" link.

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JANET PRENSKY

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