The Huntington Y was recently awarded a $1,000 grant from the 2018-2019 Gatorade West Virginia Girls Soccer Player of the Year, and St. Joseph High School graduate, McKenzie Moran. Gatorade Play It Forward empowers Gatorade Player of the Year recipients across the country to award local or national sports organizations with grants so they can continue helping young athletes enjoy the benefits.
“We are honored McKenzie chose the Huntington YMCA for this grant,” said Brian Byrd, executive operations officer of the Huntington Y. “This grant will help our mission of strengthening our community and its families and creating a positive environment for our kids to grow and learn.”
The Gatorade Player of the Year is an athletic award program that annually recognizes student-athletes for outstanding athletic excellence, high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character. In existence for more than 30 years, the prestigious award has honored several sports icons including Peyton Manning, Abby Wambach, Karl-Anthony Towns and Derek Jeter.
“The Gatorade Player of the Year award highlights student-athletes who set an example both on and off the field,” said Amanda Turak, assistant marketing manager for Gatorade Player of the Year. “The grant gives these athletes a chance to donate to organizations like the Huntington YMCA that positively impact the youth in their own communities.”
Sports have seen a double-digit decline over the past decade, largely due to tighter budgets in communities, but young people that participate in sports are found to be happier, healthier and better students. Through the Gatorade Play It Forward program, all 607 Gatorade Player of the Year award winners select a youth sports organization that will receive a $1,000 grant to help the next generation of athletes benefit from sports.
About the Y
The Y is one of the nation’s leading nonprofits strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. Across the U.S., 2,700 Ys engage 21 million men, women and children – regardless of age, income or background – to nurture the potential of children and teens, improve the nation’s health and well-being, and provide opportunities to give back and support neighbors. Anchored in more than 10,000 communities, the Y has the long-standing relationships and physical presence not just to promise, but to deliver, lasting personal and social change.