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MEDIA ADVISORY: National Guard Youth Foundation to Host the 6th Annual ChalleNGe Champions Gala to Honor Supporters and Celebrate the 100,000 Graduates of the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program

WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwire - 02/23/11) -
WHAT:The National Guard Youth Foundation will honor supporters and celebrate the 100,000 graduates of the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program, a 17-month voluntary intervention program established to provide high school dropouts a second chance. With a success rate exceeding 90%, Youth ChalleNGe assists dropouts in completing a high school diploma or GED and allows them to continue on to higher education or gain productive employment.The dropout crisis has reached epidemic proportions in our country. Currently, across the country, one in three high school students drops out. The 1.3 million dropouts in 2010 will cost the nation more than $337 billion in lost wages over the course of their lifetimes. For every child recovered, our nation saves millions more in juvenile correction, welfare, and other public assistance programs.WHEN:Tuesday, March 1, 2011
Indy Car media ride-along/photos: 1:00 - 5:00 p.m.*
Press availability: 5:00 - 6:00 p.m. (one-on-one interviews with attending celebrities)*Please make arrangements early.WHERE:J.W. Marriott Hotel
1331 Pennsylvania Ave., NWWHO: U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu, Honorary Board Co-Chair, National Guard Youth Foundation
Tori Walston, A recent graduate representing the 100,000 graduates of the Youth ChalleNGe Program
General Craig R. McKinley, Chief, National Guard Bureau
Gail Dady, President of the National Guard Youth Foundation Board of DirectorsCelebrity Spokespeople (also available for pre-scheduled media calls):Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver, National Guard NASCAR® racing team
JR Hildebrand, driver, National Guard IndyCar®, Panther Racing
Gretchen Wilson, Grammy-winning country music star
Kris Allen, Season 8 winner of American Idol
Kofi Kingston, WWE superstar
Tyler Hilton, singer and actor
Kenny Bishop, Gospel music singer
Laura Bryna, singer and official voice and spokesperson for the Air National Guard and the National Guard Youth Foundation
Karri Turner, actress, member of National Guard Youth Foundation's Honorary Board
Kelly Perdew, Winner of NBC's The Apprentice II, member of National Guard Youth Foundation's Honorary BoardAbout the National Guard Youth Foundation
The National Guard Youth Foundation is a non-profit 501(c) (3) whose mission is to support the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program in its efforts to raise awareness of the growing high school dropout crisis in the nation and its impact on the economy and national security. The ChalleNGe Program is a 17-month voluntary program with a 5.5-month residential phase and 12-month mentoring phase. There are 33 program sites in 27 states and Puerto Rico. In 2009, 91 percent of graduates earned their high school diploma, general equivalency degree or returned to high school.The National Guard Youth Foundation provides the ChalleNGe Program with scholarships, training and workforce transition assistance to graduates, while also increasing the visibility of the program and advocating for program goals. In cooperation with the ChalleNGe Program, the National Guard Youth Foundation assists youths who drop out of secondary school to improve their life skills, education and employability, creating the next generation of skilled workforce in America. For more information about the National Guard Youth Foundation, please visit www.ngyf.org.