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Youth First’s Passport to Adventure Auction, presented by Edward Jones, was held at the DoubleTree by Hilton in Evansville on Thursday, April 11, 2019. Guests enjoyed a live and silent auction, program and awards reception. The awards reception was sponsored by Deaconess Health System.

Young people and supporters who have benefitted from or advocated for Youth First’s programs and services were honored.

The Don Mattingly Youth First Award was launched in 2012 to salute young people who share his strengths. Don, an Evansville native, New York Yankees legend, and current Miami Marlins Manager, embodies many winning characteristics, including:

  • A Winning Attitude
  • A Commitment to Self-Improvement
  • A Strong Work Ethic
  • Overcoming Adversity in Life
  • A Commitment to Help Others Succeed

Each year, Youth First Social Workers and staff nominate young people who exhibit these qualities, and a committee of community leaders carefully reviews the applications. This year, the Don Mattingly Youth First Award was presented to middle school student Ian Simmons of St. Joe Catholic School and high school student Brittney Willis of Pike Central High School.

The Carol Lynch Award Honoring Advocates is named for Founding Board Member and past Board Chair Carol Lynch, who has championed the organization since 1998. Joely Yaser, a junior at New Tech Institute, was named this year’s winner. She has been a frequent and impactful spokesperson for Youth First ever since she benefitted from the support of her Youth First Social Worker at Thompkins Middle School.

The Steve Fritz Award Honoring Educators celebrates Youth First Champion and past Youth First Board Chair Steve Fritz, a long-time teacher, coach, administrator, and mentor in the EVSC. This award honors outstanding educators who value and champion Youth First programs and services. Dr. Shane Browder, principal of Plaza Park International Prep Academy, was named the first-ever recipient of this award.

Proceeds from the evening will be used to fund Youth First’s school social work services and prevention programs available to students and their families at no charge across 10 Indiana counties.

Youth First, Inc. honored former Evansville-Vanderburgh School Corporation educator and administrator Steve Fritz at its 11th Annual Breakfast of Champions event on Tuesday, October 23rd at St. Vincent Manor in Evansville.

Fritz received the Dr. William Wooten Champion of Youth First Award at the event, sponsored by German American.  With over 300 attendees, the organization celebrated its hundreds of donors, supporters and volunteers in addition to recognizing Fritz.

Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke proclaimed October 23rd, 2018, as “Steve Fritz, Champion of Youth First Day.”

Through his 35-year career with the EVSC and tireless passion for helping young people thrive, Steve has impacted thousands of lives. The students he taught, the players he coached, and the teachers he mentored all credit him with contributing to their success.  As a founding Youth First Board Member, Steve has championed the continued growth and success of the organization for the past 20 years.

Proud to have been born and raised in Evansville, Steve is a graduate of North High School, the University of Evansville and Indiana State University. In addition to his involvement with Youth First, Steve was also profoundly impacted by his involvement with YMCA’s Camp Carson, where he served as a camp counselor and continues today as a Board member.

Breakfast of Champions attendees enjoyed remarks from EVSC Superintendent Dr. David Smith, YMCA of Southwestern Indiana CEO Derrick Stewart, Youth First President & CEO Parri O. Black and Founder Dr. William Wooten, as well as friends and family of Fritz.