National Youth Guard Foundation to Host Inaugural California ChalleNGe Champions Gala: September 29th Event at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles

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The National Youth Guard Foundation (http://www.ngyf.org), a non-profit 501(c)(3) that supports the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program, announces its inaugural California ChalleNGe Champions Gala. The red carpet event, to be held at 5:30 PM on Saturday, September 29, 2012, will take place at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. This annual gathering pays tribute to the California National Guard’s efforts to curb high school dropout rates throughout the state, backed by the Youth ChalleNGe Program.

The National Youth Guard Foundation (http://www.ngyf.org), a non-profit 501(c)(3) that supports the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program, announces its inaugural California ChalleNGe Champions Gala. The red carpet event, to be held at 5:30 PM on Saturday, September 29, 2012, will take place at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. This annual gathering pays tribute to the California National Guard’s efforts to curb high school dropout rates throughout the state, backed by the Youth ChalleNGe Program.

The National Youth Guard Foundation (http://www.ngyf.org), a non-profit 501(c)(3) that supports the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program, announces its inaugural California ChalleNGe Champions Gala. The red carpet event, to be held at 5:30 PM on Saturday, September 29, 2012, will take place at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. This annual gathering pays tribute to the California National Guard’s efforts to curb high school dropout rates throughout the state, backed by the Youth ChalleNGe Program.

The evening will include a reception and silent auction, followed by a dinner program with live entertainment and a live auction. Attendees include senior National Guard leaders, federal, state and local elected officials, corporate and community leaders, and National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program staff and cadets.

“The National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program gives young people – particularly at-risk teens – the chance to empower themselves through education. Our emphasis on stopping the high school dropout crisis is part of a broader campaign to allow adolescents to reach their full potential, backed by the resources we provide and a shared appreciation for lifelong learning. I salute the attendees who will join me for our September 29th event at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel, where we will honor the brave men and women who make our programs so effective and inspiring,” says Jim Tinkham, Executive Director of the National Guard Youth Foundation.

The National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program is a voluntary 17-month intervention program – including a residential phase and mentor phase – that offers adolescents between the ages of 16 and 18 who have dropped out of school the opportunity to obtain a high school diploma or GED while learning life coping skills, job skills and leadership skills. California’s two academies serve the entire state, helping more than 600 young individuals each year.

“It is critical that we give our children every chance to succeed,” says U.S. Representative Grace Napolitano (D-CA), Co-chair of the Congressional Youth ChalleNGe Caucus. “To date, Youth ChalleNGe has graduated over 110,000 cadets. These are students who might otherwise have dropped out of school but instead were supported as they charted a newer, brighter path through life. The graduates of the Youth ChalleNGe program are committed, disciplined, and conduct their work with pride and focus. We should support this program and others like it to give more young people a path to higher education.”

About the California Youth ChalleNGe Academies
The Sunburst Youth Academy, located outside of Los Angeles in Los Alamitos, is a Community High School, run by the California National Guard in partnership with the Orange County Department of Education. The academy is structured to promote an academic environment in which participants develop leadership, cooperation, and academic skills, while improving self-esteem and confidence. Sunburst draws most of its participants from the Los Angeles area.

The Grizzly Youth Academy in San Luis Obispo is a Western Association of Schools and Colleges accredited charter school, administered by the San Luis Obispo County Office of Education, which provides a highly structured residential environment for young men and women who previously struggled in school due to academic, behavioral, attendance or personal reasons. Working as individuals and in groups, students develop skills and characteristics to overcome the obstacles that held them back from being successful.

The National Guard Bureau currently operates 34 programs in 27 states and Puerto Rico. Independent studies by MDRC and the RAND Corporation have found the program significantly improves academic achievement, employability and income earning potential for youth who have previously dropped out of school. The RAND cost-benefit analysis found every dollar expended on the program yields $2.66 in benefits, a 166 percent return on investment. More than 100,000 students have graduated from the 34 Youth ChalleNGe Programs.

About the National Guard Youth Foundation
The mission of the National Guard Youth Foundation, a non-profit 501(c)(3), is to advocate for and support the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program. The Foundation provides scholarships, facilitates internship and job opportunities for graduates of the ChalleNGe Program, and fosters program awareness to promote the success of the ChalleNGe Program. The Foundation also works to raise awareness of the growing dropout crisis and its impact on our society, economy and national security. For more information about the National Guard Youth Foundation, please visit http://www.ngyf.org.

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