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.