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Philanthropy Friday: All-star Students Honored at Ballpark

 Margaret Robinson, The Columbus Foundation Philanthropy Friday: All-star Students Honored at Ballpark
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A beautiful evening with hot dogs, popcorn and soda at one of America’s best ballparks set the scene for a great celebration with some of Columbus’ most impressive students. The Columbus Youth Foundation (CYF), a supporting foundation of The Columbus Foundation, honored 100 Columbus City Schools students on May 17 in the Best All-Around Student Awards during an on-field ceremony held at Huntington Park.

Award-winning students enjoy food and photo-ops with former OSU linebacker Ryan Miller and Columbus Clippers’ Eric Berger.

The 2012 Best All-Around Student Awards recipients were selected by their middle and high schools based on their citizenship, academic achievements or progress, perseverance, athletic accomplishments, or for their ability to overcome adversity. Since the awards were first presented in 1984, more than 2,800 students have been honored.

The students are announced one-by-one to the crowd before the start of the game.

The event was for many students their first chance to watch the Columbus Clippers at Huntington Park. The awards, free food, and hardball action were clearly appreciated by the students. “I was chosen to come here for being a good leader on and off the field. It’s a nice experience and good recognition. It’s nice to be able to say I accomplished this,” said Troy Robinson Jr., a senior at Mifflin High School. Troy, like all of the award winners, had just had his picture taken with pitcher Eric Berger of the Columbus Clippers.

Ryan Miller, a former standout linebacker for Ohio State, was also on hand to offer support and welcoming remarks to the students. Miller had the role of drawing a student’s name to throw out the first pitch of the game. The big chance went to an excited student from Beechcroft High School. “I keep challenging myself. Working hard to get good grades. I’m learning to get into college. This will inspire those doing well to keep going and others will strive for it,” said senior Arthur Thomas before his trip to the mound.

Beechcroft High School senior Arthur Thomas throws out the first pitch with Columbus Foundation President and CEO Doug Kridler looking on. (Photo by Greg Sailor)

CYF has a long history of helping central Ohio youth. In addition to sponsoring the Best All-Around Student Awards, CYF supports community organizations offering sports or recreational opportunities to the youth of Columbus, particularly to young people in urban or inner-city neighborhoods. This year, CYF awarded more than $100,000 in grants to help young people in Franklinton and other urban neighborhoods attend summer camp and participate in recreational activities. CYF grant recipients have included the Boys and Girls Clubs of Columbus, Inc., Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Ohio, Camp Fire USA Central Ohio Council, Gladden Community House, and YMCA of Columbus.

CYF’s link to sports and disadvantaged youth in urban Columbus began upon its creation in 1955. A group of distinguished local businessmen created the foundation that year to hold title both to the Columbus Jets, a professional minor-league baseball team, and the team’s Franklinton stadium. The foundation returned all profits to the community through grants to organizations that served the sick, underprivileged, and disabled youth of Columbus. After the Columbus Jets dissolved and the stadium was sold, the foundation’s trustees decided that instead of closing the foundation, its service to the youth of Columbus should continue.

Current members of the CYF Board of Trustees are (l-r) Catherine T. Willis, chairman; George W. “Buddy” Byers, Jr.; Archie M. Griffin, vice chairman; Robert Lazarus, Jr.; and Catherine M. Lyttle.

The Foundation welcomes contributions from donors interested in supporting healthy, positive opportunities for fun through youth recreational activities. For more information or to make a contribution, please visit http://columbusfoundation.org/giving/foundations/columbus-youth/.

The annual event will continue to reward the many hard working students of Columbus who enjoy pushing themselves to success. “I’m always respectful to everyone and help when people need it, plus I enjoy it,” said Christian Morales, a student at Dominion Middle School.

Information about local nonprofits is available 24/7 through the Foundation’s online resource, PowerPhilanthropy, which is available to everyone who wants to be more informed about the nonprofits they care about. PowerPhilanthropy makes it easy to donate to the causes you care about at columbusfoundation.org/p2/.

Follow us on Twitter at @colsfoundation and like The Columbus Foundation on Facebook.

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