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Source: National 4-H Council

New York, New York -- On March 31st, the National 4-H Council hosted the second annual 4-H Legacy Awards Gala to honor extraordinary individuals and corporations that have made a lasting impact through their efforts to cultivate America's 4-H youth development program. 4-H enriches the lives of more than six million young people around the country each year.

The Gala was held at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City, and featured CNN's Bottom Line host and 4-H alumna, Christine Romans as the Master of Ceremonies. Awards were presented to several distinguished 4-H individuals and partners, including:

The Coca-Cola Company received the prestigious 2011 4-H Corporate Leadership Award. This award is presented annually to a corporation or partner that has demonstrated its dedication to 4-H through continued support and engagement. For nearly 42 years,The Coca-Cola Company has provided leadership to the 4-H movement through senior executive participation on National 4-H Council's Board of Trustees and has supported the development and implementation of innovative 4-H recycling, water quality and conservation, and balanced living programs in all 50 states. Mr. J. Alexander M. Douglas Jr., president of Coca-Cola North America, was in attendance to accept the 4-H Corporate Leadership Award.

Each day, the young people in 4-H make it their mission to lead in their communities and make a difference in their world. Morgan Billingslea-Walker, a 16-year-old 4-H'er from Buckner, Kentucky, has embodied the spirit of the 4-H movement by ardently overcoming her own health obstacles and leading an effort to make her community a stronger, healthier place. As a result of her great work to bring health and nutrition programs to her community, Morgan was honored with the 4-H Youth Action Award.

As a testament to the fact that 4-H builds the leaders of our nation, the 2011 Distinguished Alumni Medallion was presented to 4-H alumna Nancy Grace. An outspoken, tireless advocate for victims' rights and one of television's most recognized legal analysts, Grace is the powerful force behind both CNN Headline News' top-rated program Nancy Grace and the syndicated daytime hit Swift Justice with Nancy Grace.

"By providing innovative and engaging programming in science, healthy living and citizenship, 4-H continues to prepare today's youth to tackle the world's biggest challenges," said Donald T. Floyd Jr., president and CEO of National 4‑H Council. "Today, we are thrilled to host our second annual 4-H Legacy Awards Gala to honor the amazing individuals and corporate partners that help us deliver on such an important mission. Their commitment and contributions exemplify the 4-H philosophy of 'making the best better'."

For more than 100 years, 4-H has made a significant and positive difference in the lives of youth. And now, research confirms the life-changing advantages young people acquire through participation in 4-H. Youth development scholar Dr. Richard Lerner, working with researchers at the Institute for Applied Research in Youth Development at Tufts University, conducted The 4-H Study of Positive Youth Development. The longitudinal study has found that, when compared to other youth, young people involved in 4-H are:

•Nearly two times more likely to get better grades in school;
•Nearly two times more likely to plan to go to college;
•Nearly three times more likely to participate in science, engineering, or computer technology programs;
•Three times more likely to make positive contributions to their families and communities; and,
•56% more likely to spend more hours exercising or being physically active.

About 4-H:

4-H is a community of six million young people across America learning leadership, citizenship, and life skills. National 4-H Council is the private sector, non-profit partner of 4-H National Headquarters located at the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) within USDA. 4-H programs are implemented by the 109 land-grant universities and the Cooperative Extension System through their 3,100 local Extension offices across the country. Learn more about 4-H at www.4-h.org or follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/4-H.