By SIERRA DAVIS | Pali Life Editor
California YMCA Youth & Government, along with past state governors Pete Wilson and Gray Davis, held a special tribute dinner and gala honoring former Governor George Deukmejian at the Jonathan Club on the evening of May 16. Deukmejian was recognized for his longstanding and significant support for the organization.
“With Governor Deukmejian’s vision and support, California YMCA Youth & Government is able to celebrate its 67th year and ensure the continuation of its programs for future generations,” said Debbie Gabelich, the organization’s president and CEO.
Incoming president of the Palisades-Malibu YMCA branch of Youth & Government Erika Saio was invited to the event as one of four members of the Youth Board of Directors.
“It was an amazing experience to be in the presence of so many amazing people – from councilmembers to governors and more. Our program would not be where it is without the support of these incredible government officials,” Saio said. “I’m so thankful they have chosen to support a program that has changed so much for me – from making me more outspoken and pushing me to step out of my comfort zone.”
Governor Deukmejian has supported California YMCA Youth & Government for more than 40 years. He developed a high-level advisory board for the program and chaired it for nine years until he became Governor. He also established the George Deukmejian Endowment Fund that will award delegates of the organization’s programs over $130,000 in scholarships this year alone.
The mission of California YMCA Youth & Government is to build values-based leadership and civic engagement in California’s youth to strengthen the country’s democracy. Since 1948, it has provided outstanding educational and social experiences for more than 70,000 middle and high school youth. Programs include Model Legislature & Court (grades 9-12) and Model United Nations (grades 6-8) as well as a Conference on National Affairs, National Judicial Program and Spring Conference for high school teens.
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