A full lineup of champions was honored at the 76th Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) Clubof Champions Tribute and Dinner on Wednesday, June 6, at The Waldorf=Astoria. 750 guests attended the gala event, which raised a record-breaking $700,000 to support children and youth in CYO programs throughout the Archdiocese of New York. (View event photos on Facebook)
The Gold Medal Award, presented annually to an individual who has provided inspiration and leadership for the youth of New York City, was presented to Alfred F. Kelly, Jr., President and CEO of the 2014 New York/New Jersey Super Bowl Host Committee. Mr. Kelly has been a longtime supporter of CYO, both as a benefactor and as a coach.
“When I do the math,” said Kelly, “with all the coaching, playing myself, and yes, scorekeeping, I’ve calculated that 42 percent of my life has been associated with CYO.”
Kelly also praised the work of CYO in the lives of youth today, saying:
“In a world where young people communicate in a modern-day form of Morse code, text messaging with numerous shortcuts, CYO provides an alternative,” said Mr. Kelly. “CYO, through its art shows, its summer camps, its ministry programs, cheerleading and sports programs, promotes verbal communication—imagine!—wellness, teamwork, friendship, sportsmanship and values. It is these qualities that form the bedrock of becoming a good person. It is these core elements of life, under the umbrella of our Catholic faith, that helps young people get ready for the migration to college, and ultimately adulthood.” Listen to Alfred F. Kelly’s full speech from the CYO Club of Champions Dinner.
Justin Tuck, All-Pro Defensive End of the New York Giants, received the John V. Mara Sportsman of the Year Award, given to individuals who have exhibited exceptional sportsmanship throughout their careers. Tuck, who with his wife, Lauran Williamson Tuck, have donated reading materials to support schools in the New York City and central Alabama communities, had this to say about giving back: “I hope that my legacy is about more than getting after Tom Brady a couple of times — but about affecting a change, helping young people take advantage of the education that is afforded to them. I hope I can look back and say that I gave these kids had the opportunities that I’ve been afforded in life.”
Alec J. McAuley, Director of CYO of the Archdiocese of New York, and Joseph E. Panepinto, Director of Staten Island Catholic Charities, received the Terence Cardinal Cooke Humanitarian Award for their outstanding commitment to youth.
Honorary Co-Chairs of the event included His Eminence, Timothy Michael Cardinal Dolan, NFL Commissioner Roger S. Goodell, Mrs. Margaret F. Grace and Mrs. Wellington T. Mara.
The Dinner Co-Chairs were: Mr. and Mrs. William P. Harrington, Mr. and Mrs. Daniel T. Henry, Mr. and Mrs. John K. Mara and Mr. Roger Staubach. All proceeds from the event will supported CYO programs that serve thousands of children and young people — non-Catholic and Catholic alike– throughout the Archdiocese of New York.
Monsignor Peter Finn, pastor of Blessed Sacrament Parish in Staten Island, delivered the invocation for the evening. Edward Cardinal Egan delivered closing remarks, thanking the honorees for their presence and their support. “I can think of nothing more beautiful than seeing to it that the next generation is well-formed and well instructed, close to the Lord and close to all that is good. And that’s what CYO is about.”
CYO, a division of Catholic Charities, reaches out to more than 28,000 children and youth in the Archdiocese of New York through hundreds of local sports programs, cultural activities, summer camps, community centers, Youth Ministry Programs and retreat centers. Through this broad array of recreational and spiritual growth and development opportunities, CYO promotes lives of promise, accomplishment and hope for young New Yorkers.