NBA All Star Blake Griffin Tapped As Spokesperson For The 2011 Awards Program That Recognizes Young People Who Have Demonstrated Exceptional Leadership, Academic Excellence And Commitment To Community.
Twenty-three teenagers have been selected to receive the title of “2011 Nestlé Very Best In Youth” for their academic achievements and exceptional community service, ranging from humanitarian relief efforts to protecting endangered species. In its 14th year, the program recognizes young people who have demonstrated leadership and initiative to positively impact the world.
The Nestlé Very Best In Youth winners will be profiled in a book “Making a Difference Today for a Better Tomorrow,” which will be distributed to schools and community organizations in the U.S. Additionally, each teen will receive $1,000 to contribute to a charity or project of their choosing and flown to Los Angeles, California in July for the red-carpet award ceremony.
Nearly 3,500 entries consisting of essays and letters of recommendation were submitted to Nestlé USA for consideration in this year’s competition. In-depth coverage of this year’s finalists can be found at www.nestle-verybestinyouth.com/winners.
Nestlé is also proud to recognize two elementary school students from its national Adopt-A-School program as the recipients of the Nestlé Very Best In Youth/Adopt-A-School Essay Competition award. Isaac Taylor from East Elementary School in Pendleton, IN and Taite Pierson from Eagle Rock Elementary School, Los Angeles, CA were chosen for their strong academic records, good citizenship and leadership skills. Each 6th grader will receive $1,000 to donate to a charity of their choice, be profiled in the Nestlé Very Best In Youth book, and join in the Nestlé Very Best In Youth festivities.
Nestlé USA has selected NBA All-star Blake Griffin as this year’s Nestlé Very Best In Youth spokesperson. Blake, only 22 years old himself, is passionate about using his success to be a positive role model for kids. “It takes a strong work ethic to get people rallied behind a cause, and I am excited to join Nestlé in celebrating the inspiring accomplishments of these incredible kids.”
“Blake’s dedication to helping kids mirror Nestlé’s commitment to deliver Good Food, Good Life to the neighborhoods where we live and work through education and community programs,” said Kenneth Bentley, Vice President of Community Affairs & Workforce Diversity for Nestlé USA. “These teens are dedicated and motivated to improve the world around them through impactful community programs and accomplishments,” continued Bentley.
Accomplishments like those of Emily Zauzmer of Dresher, PA., who created a web-based charity to raise awareness and funds for food allergy research. Or Rujul Zaparde of Plainsboro, NJ, who has enlisted dozens of schools to provide easier access to drinking water in India though the purchase of water tube-wells.
About Blake Griffin
Selected first overall by the Los Angeles Clippers, rookie Blake Griffin is taking the NBA by storm and breaking records every step of the way. Known for his high-flying dunks and unwavering physicality, Griffin competed on the 2011 NBA All-Star Team, the first rookie All-Star voted to the game by coaches since Tim Duncan in 1998. He also took first prize in the Sprite Slam Dunk Contest and participated in the T-Mobile Rookie Challenge & Youth Jam. A highlight reel sensation equipped with the size, strength, quickness and skill to keep his household name buzz-worthy for many years to come, Griffin has transformed the Clippers into a must-watch franchise. A native of Oklahoma City, Okla., the 6’9” power forward attended the University of Oklahoma, where he was one of the highest rated and most decorated recruits in Sooners history. A media magnet, Griffin already has earned numerous accolades, including the Oscar Robertson Trophy, Adolph Rupp Trophy, John Wooden Award, Naismith Award, Sports Illustrated Player of the Year, multiple NBA Western Conference T-Mobile Rookie of the Month honors and many more. Follow Blake on Twitter @blakegriffin or go to www.blakegriffin.com to learn more.
The 2011 Nestlé Very Best In Youth Award Recipients are:
Carah Austin, Whiteland, IN - Age 17 - Carah, who suffers from spinal meningitis, is an avid reader and award winning writer. She is actively involved in several foundations including Find A Book A Home, which establishes libraries in local hospitals and other venues. Her History Makers Of The Future program sends needy children to a National Landmark District to study Indiana history.
Amy Chyao, Richardson, TX - Age 17 - This National AP Scholar and cellist was a guest of President Obama’s White House Science Fair. She is currently researching a cancer treatment while donating countless hours to her Spell Success community service study group for kids.
Matthew Ferguson, Hillsboro, OR – Age 16 - After suffering the loss of a childhood friend, and his mother’s diagnoses with invasive breast cancer, this Sophomore Class President, 4-H member and school football player established Matt’s Chemo Bags Foundation which provides amenity kits to women undergoing chemotherapy treatments.
Samantha Fernandez, Coral Gables, FL – Age 16 - Featured in a Lifetime Television program, A Balancing Act, about the lives of inspirational teens; Samantha founded Pick-a-Pick, a guitar pick jewelry line whose proceeds are donated to underprivileged ill children. A guitar player herself, she organized the Rock Steady Concert event to further benefit her cause.
Walid Halty, Revere, MA – Age 16 - Achieving academic excellence in science, Spanish language and mathematics, Walid, who suffers from Crohn’s disease, is the founder of Global Awareness: Global Action which supplies aid to the needy in third world nations.
Armani Hawes, Bloomfield Hills, MI – Age 18 - A special needs advocate at an early age, Armani’s compassion for children with autism and other disabilities led her to spearhead multiple fundraisers that raised over $10K for local organizations such as the Judson Center and the Salvation Army.
Hillary Hughes, Bedford, NH – Age 16 – Hillary is the Founder of Color My World: Kids Who Care, a charity that has provided thousands of humanitarian kits to families in Haiti and Chile. She has received numerous accolades for her environmental projects as well as her volunteer work.
Samantha Malis, Merrick, NY – Age 17 - Recipient of President Obama’s Volunteer Service Award and member of the National Honor Society, this varsity athlete founded the charity One is Greater than None (1>0) to provide funds for the rescue and care of enslaved children in Ghana.
Abigail Mariam, Apple Valley, CA – Age 17 - An AP Scholar with Distinction and Jr. Statesman of American Director of Debate, Abigail received a scholarship from the Holocaust Remembrance Project. She is a familiar face at St. Mary Medical Center where she volunteers her time to comfort patients and their families.
Mary McGlynn, Belleville, IL – Age 17 - Recognized as a finalist for the World of Children Youth Award, Mary Claire has logged over 5,000 hours of community service, including serving as the founder of NETWork Against Malaria, providing bed nets to combat this disease.
Clay McMullen, Chesterland, OH – Age 16 - Winner of multiple awards for environmental conservation projects, Clay was named Ohio’s Youth Conservationist of the Year. An academic all-star and athlete, he participates in fencing, football and golf for his school teams.
Kylan Nieh, Fremont, CA – Age 18 - Valedictorian, Student Body President, and 6-Varsity Letter athlete, this UC Berkeley freshman co-founded the non-profit organization Internetting Family to teach senior citizens basic computer skills, enabling them to communicate with loved ones.
Carissa Ortega, Littleton, CO – Age 17 - An athlete, singer and A student, Carissa’s mission to Sierra Leone, West Africa provided materials and moral support to their school for the blind. Her fund-raising efforts benefit the Kabala School for the Blind.
Stevie Peacock, Venice, FL – Age 17 - An Olympic Torchbearer and Ambassador Girl Scout, this multi-Congressional award winner helped fund a school in Cambodia and also created Project KINDNESS, which provides school supplies to victims of disasters like Hurricane Katrina.
Parth Singh, Jenks, OK – Age 16 - Key Club Lieutenant Governor and debate team leader, Parth co-founded the Youth United Program for Tulsa’s Habitat for Humanity. Additionally, his Soles for Souls foundation aims to provide those in need with 10,000 pairs of shoes.
Kylie Tumiatti, West Melbourne, FL – Age 15 - A Duke TIP (Talent Identification Program) Scholar and accomplished writer, Kylie has received the President’s Academic and Service Awards. Kylie’s spirit and drive have led her to participate in numerous community service projects including Operation Hope, benefiting the children of migrant workers.
Alec Urbach, Roslyn Heights, NY – Age 15 - A columnist, film maker and cellist, Alec founded Giving From The Ground Up which creates educational videos for children worldwide. He is currently working on a documentary about a boy’s struggle to survive in a poverty-wracked village in Ghana.
Max Wallack, Natick, MA – Age 14 - An award winning inventor of several aid-giving devices like the Home Dome, a disaster-relief shelter, Max is also the founder of Puzzles To Remember, an organization that distributes puzzles to Alzheimer’s patients at Veterans’ facilities and nursing homes.
Carson Wigley, Salisbury, MD – Age 17 - A Congressional Award winner, Carson is an honor student, Varsity athlete and accomplished writer. Her foundation Shine Now conducts reading fairs and provides books to neighborhoods statewide.
Warren Wilson, Destin, FL – Age 17 - As an Eagle Scout, Warren’s community service project started with refurbishing a Battered Women’s Shelter and soon expanded to involve work at orphanages in Haiti. Scoring a perfect 36 on the ACT, he is also a member of the FL Academics Tournament and National Forensics League.
Christopher Yao, Jericho, NY – Age 14 - The founder of Kids Change America, Christopher inspires and directs kids to start their own initiatives and non-profit organizations. Through his own website development and design talents, Christopher has raised thousands of dollars, some of which benefit Smile Train, a group that provides cleft palate surgery to children worldwide.
Rujul Zaparde, Plainsboro, NJ – Age 16 - A scholar of Latin and Classic literature, Rujul, along with a classmate founded Drinking Water For India to build tube-wells in villages where the nearest potable water was miles away. His group has enlisted dozens of U.S. schools to raise funds for over 30 of the tube-wells which cost nearly $1,000 each.
Emily Zauzmer, Dresher, PA – Age 14 - Suffering from severe food allergies, Emily started EZ Greetings, a web-based charity that raises awareness and funds for food allergy research. She not only lends her voice to the program, but has performed at pro ball games and similar large venues.
About Nestlé USA
Named one of “The World’s Most Admired Food Companies” in Fortune magazine for fourteen consecutive years, Nestlé provides quality brands and products that bring flavor to life every day. From nutritious meals with Lean Cuisine® to baking traditions with Nestlé® Toll House®, Nestlé USA makes delicious, convenient, and nutritious food and beverage products that make good living possible. That’s what “Nestlé. Good Food, Good Life” is all about. Well-known Nestlé USA brands include: Nestlé® Toll House®, Nestlé® Nesquik®, Nestlé® Coffee-mate®, Stouffer’s®, Lean Cuisine®, HOT POCKETS® and LEAN POCKETS® brand sandwiches, Nescafé®, NESTLÉ® Juicy Juice®, Buitoni®, DREYER’S/EDY’S®, Nestlé® Crunch®, Nestlé® Butterfinger®, Wonka®, DIGIORNO®, TOMBSTONE® and CALIFORNIA PIZZA KITCHEN® frozen pizza. Nestlé USA, with 2010 sales of $10.4 billion, is part of Nestlé S.A. in Vevey, Switzerland — the world’s largest food company with a commitment to Nutrition, Health & Wellness — with 2010 sales of $105 billion.Request permission from Nestlé USA.