20th Annual 'Salute to Youth' Dinner & Benefit Auction Featuring Retired NASA Astronaut, Story Musgrave To Benefit Boys & Girls Clubs of Oakland BGCO Youth of the Year 2009 Erica Murray to be Honored

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Boys & Girls Clubs of Oakland will host its 20th Annual "Salute to Youth" Dinner & Benefit Auction, presented by The Whalen Family Foundation and Athens Administraters, on Saturday, May 2, 2009, from 6:00 - 9:00 p.m. at the scenic Greek Orthodox Cathedral, located at 4700 Lincoln Avenue in Oakland. The event will feature retired NASA Astronaut, Story Musgrave, as well as the honoring of the Club's 2009 Youth of the Year, Erica Murray. All proceeds will benefit the young people served by Boys & Girls Clubs of Oakland.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Oakland will host its 20th Annual "Salute to Youth" Dinner & Benefit Auction, presented by The Whalen Family Foundation and Athens Administraters, on Saturday, May 2, 2009, from 6:00 - 9:00 p.m. at the scenic Greek Orthodox Cathedral, located at 4700 Lincoln Avenue in Oakland. The event will feature retired NASA Astronaut, Story Musgrave, as well as the honoring of the Club's 2009 Youth of the Year, Erica Murray. All proceeds will benefit the young people served by Boys & Girls Clubs of Oakland.

The festivities will include live and silent auction items featuring a number of unique items and elegant cuisine. The event is also supported by top-level sponsors including The Men's Wearhouse, Bank of the West, Ted Buttner, Buty & Curliano LLP, The Clorox Company, Bank of America, Performance Contracting Group Inc, Ed & Ann Bartlett, Buttner Properties Inc., Sid Ewing, Veronica Fauntleroy, Gill's Electric Co, Larry & Ellen Keeshan, Merrill Lynch and Orinda Rotary. Sponsorships ranging from $1,500 to $15,000 are still available and individual tickets are $150 each.

The featured speaker of the event is Story Musgrave, one of NASA's most experienced astronauts. Story Musgrave is one of NASA's most experienced astronauts. With a 30 year career spanning the Apollo era of the 1960s right through to the Space Shuttle program of the 1990s, he is the only astronaut to have flown on all five Space Shuttles.

Story retired from NASA in 1997. Today he shares his many unique experiences through performances across the USA and internationally. His recreational interests include flying, photography, scuba diving, parachuting, gardening and running.

The Youth of the Year program, which is administered by Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) and has been nationally sponsored by the Reader's Digest Foundation since 1947, recognizes outstanding contributions to a member's family, school, community and Boys & Girls Club, as well as personal challenges and obstacles overcome. Each fall Boys & Girls Clubs of America's National Youths of the Year are installed by the U.S. President during a ceremony in the Oval Office.

2009's Youth of the Year is Erica Murray -- a 13-year member of Boys & Girls Clubs of Oakland's Ossian E. Carr Branch who earned Youth of the Year standing for her Clubhouse, then went on to win the overall 2009 Youth of the Year honor for BGCO, and was selected one of 3 Northern California finalists who vied for the prestigious California State Youth of the Year title in Sacramento on March 11, 2009.

With roots in the Elmhurst District of East Oakland, Erica is a senior at Hayward's Tennyson High School. She is also a member of BGCO's Junior Staff and considers the Staff and her fellow Club members "my second family". Her road to becoming the 2009 BGCO Youth of the Year included outstanding contributions to her family, school, community, and her Boys & Girls Club with equal consideration for her academic excellence and the personal challenges and obstacles she has overcome. According to Ms. Diana Vazquez, Erica's Counselor "Erica has done great and is on the principal's honor roll (GPA 4.0)."

For Erica, "family is the most important thing in life. One of the major things that I can contribute to my family is attending a university, sticking with my goal, and completing all four years. I want to show my family that I have value, that I plan to educate myself, and that I would do whatever it takes to fulfill my dream in education." Erica, a June, 2009 high school graduate, has been accepted to California State University - East Bay. With additional school options pending, she plans to make her final college selection by early spring.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Oakland's mission is to develop our community's youth into positive contributors to society. Now in its 70th year, the Club continues to provide safe places to learn and grow, opportunities for ongoing relationships with caring adult professionals, life-enhancing programs, and other character development experiences each year for over 2,500 boys and girls, ages 6 to 17. The organization supplements the endeavors of our families and our schools, and plans to serve a minimum of 5,000 Oakland youth in the near future. Please visit our website to learn more about our mission and programs http://www.bgcoakland.org.

For those interested in sponsorship or ticket information, please contact Vicki Cosgrove at 510-444-8211 x 13.

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BRIAN TOPLEY

Vicki Cosgrove
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