Dan Wheldon news 2009-04-16

Panther's Dan Wheldon Named National Guard Youth Foundation National Spokesperson Indy 500 Winner Assists Youth ChalleNGe Program in Tackling High School Dropout Epidemic Long Beach, California (April 16, 2009) -- Panther Racing's Dan...

Panther's Dan Wheldon Named National Guard Youth Foundation National Spokesperson

Indy 500 Winner Assists Youth ChalleNGe Program in Tackling High School Dropout Epidemic

Long Beach, California (April 16, 2009) -- Panther Racing's Dan Wheldon is teaming up with the National Guard Youth Foundation to serve as a national spokesperson to bring more awareness to the high school dropout epidemic and the National Guard Youth Challenge Program. The Indy 500 Champion will be the first to tell you that his success on the race track today is due in large part to the love and support of his family growing up.

Not everyone is so lucky.

Wheldon announced the partnership at the Grand Prix of Long Beach. Cadets from the California Sunburst Youth Academy at Los Alamitos joined Wheldon at the racetrack for the announcement.

"Serving as a national spokesperson for the National Guard Youth Foundation is an opportunity that I am very honored to receive, but one that I take very seriously," said Dan Wheldon. "I have been personally inspired by the Cadets themselves, and the stories they have shared in the time I've been familiar with this program. The Youth Challenge program is making a profound difference in the lives of thousands of young men and women, and the direction in which some of these lives are headed is unbelievable. There are some remarkable people associated with the National Guard Youth Foundation, and the Youth Challenge program, and I am happy to do whatever I can to bring needed attention to the positive difference they are making in the lives of young people."

"We could not be more pleased to have Dan Wheldon as a National Spokesperson for the Foundation and Youth Challenge," said Gail Dady, National Guard Youth Foundation Board member. "Over 1.2 million young people dropout of school every year in this country. Youth Challenge provides them a second chance to become a productive citizen. Dan will be an articulate and effective spokesperson for an issue that has become a national crisis. He also knows the dedication and hard work that it takes to be a success and will be a tremendous role model for the young men and women in the program. We are very grateful to Dan and the entire Panther Racing team for their support and for opening a door that not only brings attention to the dropout issue but will allow our cadets to explore career opportunities and experience IndyCar racing firsthand."

As a National Spokesperson, Wheldon will speak on behalf of the Foundation and the Youth Challenge Program via personal appearances, Public Service Announcements and media availabilities.

Dan Wheldon and Panther Racing plan to involve Youth Challenge cadets in future races by having them attend races across the country and get a first-hand look inside the racing business. Panther Racing will also establish an internship for Youth Challenge cadets that will allow Program graduates an opportunity to work inside the business and explore various jobs within the industry.

About the National Guard Youth Challenge Program

The National Guard Youth Challenge Program is a 17-month voluntary intervention program established to provide training and education for high school dropouts interested in pursuing higher education, attaining employment or joining the military. The Youth Challenge program operates 33 programs in 27 states and Puerto Rico. Youth Challenge has graduated over 85,000 former high school dropouts since being founded in 1993.

About the National Guard Youth Foundation

The National Guard Youth Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization formed to support the work of the National Guard Youth Challenge Program through public awareness, scholarships, higher education assistance, mentoring and job development programs for graduates. The Foundation works to expand the number of states and sites

per state to accommodate growing demand for the program. The Honorary Board of Directors is co-chaired by Former President George H. W. Bush and Senator Mary L. Landrieu (D-La). For more information about the National Guard Youth Foundation, please visit www.ngyouthfoundation.org.

-credit: pr

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Dan Wheldon
Teams Panther Racing