ORLANDO (May 24, 2008)-Pop Warner Little Scholars, Inc. (PWLS), the largest national youth football and cheerleading organization in the United States, will present the 2008 Pop Warner Inspiration to Youth Award to Wes Welker, wide receiver of the New England Patriots on Saturday night at the 48th Annual All-American Scholar Banquet in Disney's Coronado Springs Resort.
Welker is receiving the award in recognition of his record-breaking season with the New England Patriots and his commitment to working with youth through both the New England Patriots and his "83 Foundation" which he established to provide underprivileged children in his hometown of Oklahoma City the opportunity to play football. The Inspiration to Youth Award is presented to an individual who has inspired the youth of today to become great achievers of tomorrow.
Past recipients of the Inspiration to Youth Award include Larry Johnson (2007), LeCharles Bentley (2006), Kurt Warner (2005), Tim Brown (2004), Priest Holmes (2002), Drew Bledsoe (2001), Terrell Davis (1999), Derrick Thomas (1997), Emmitt Smith (1996) and Junior Seau (1994) to name a few.
The banquet honors the most academically advanced student-athletes from Pop Warner programs nationwide and recognizes several individuals and public figures for their commitment to academics, athletics, communities, and the betterment of youths across America. More than 2,500 people are expected to attend the event.
"We're honored to present Wes with the 2008 Pop Warner Inspiration to Youth Award. His commitment to the game of football and the way he plays the game is inspiring to all Pop Warner participants," said Jon Butler, Executive Director of Pop Warner Little Scholars. "What's more impressive is his commitment to youth off-the-field with his work with the New England Patriots and his 83 Foundation. The New England Patriots, the NFL, and Pop Warner are all fortunate to have athletes like Wes as role models for today's youth."
Other awards presented at the 48th Annual All-American Scholar Banquet on Saturday night will include:
- The War ner Award: Troy Vincent, former NFLPA President and Cornerback for the Miami Dolphins, Philadelphia Eagles, Buffalo Bills and Washington Redskins
- Humanitarian Award: Josh Cribbs, Wide Receiver, Cleveland Browns
- Female Achievement Award: Rita Benson LeBlanc, Owner New Orleans Saints, New Orleans VooDoo
- Pop Warner Gold Football Award: Rick Horrow, Horrow Sports Ventures
- Pop Warner NFL Team of the Year: Philadelphia Eagles
- Pop Warner AFL Team of the Year: Los Angeles Avengers
Pop Warner is the only youth sports organization that requires academic guidelines for its members to participate in its programs. Each year participants with high academic standings (96 GPA) are encouraged to apply for recognition at the event. Also factored into consideration are school-oriented extracurricular activities and community service commitments from the previous year.
This year's All-American Scholars comprise the top one percent of all Pop Warner participants nationwide. Over 7,500 scholar-athletes were named to the First Team, Second Team or Honorable Mention All-American Scholars, based on a score calculated from the student's grade point average and addendum activities.
First Team All-American Scholar is the highest achievement a Pop Warner student-athlete can achieve, with only 35 football participants and 25 cheerleaders and dancers selected per grade level. First Team All-American Scholars in eighth grade and higher are also eligible for one of many scholarships awarded at the banquet.
About Pop Warner:
Founded in 1929 and headquartered in Langhorne, P.A., Pop Warner Little Scholars is the largest national youth football and cheerleading organization in the United States and the only youth sports organization that emphasizes academics as a prerequisite for participation. Currently there are over 400,000 children in Pop Warner organizations in 43 states, Guam, Scotland, Germany, Russia, Japan and Mexico. The NFLPA estimates that 70% of all current NFL Players got their starts in Pop Warner programs. For more information on Pop Warner and its programs visit www.popwarner.com.