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Viterbo offers full scholarship for Boys and Girls Club award winner

Kaitlyn Riley

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Each year, the Boys and Girls Club of Greater La Crosse selects a Youth of the Year. Next fall, that honor will come with a big investment in education.

Viterbo University announced it will offer a full, four-year scholarship for the youth selected. Viterbo University President Glena Temple said it is a win-win for the community.

“We have a vibrant economy in La Crosse,” Temple said. “We have many jobs, and I’m really proud of the work Viterbo does to help train students to take those jobs and fill those needs, so having this partnership with the Boys and Girls Club helping strengthen our neighborhoods and community with this partnership and helping meet the workforce needs, this is a win for all involved.”

In 2005, Viterbo and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater La Crosse partnered to open the Amie L. Mathy Center for Recreation and Education, a joint facility on Viterbo’s campus that was the first of its kind in the nation.

In addition to much needed space, the shared building resulted in collaborative educational opportunities for both university students and club members.

If the Boys & Girls Club’s Youth of the Year chooses to attend a school other than Viterbo, the scholarship may be awarded to the runner up.

“The very successful and mutually beneficial partnership between Viterbo University and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater La Crosse is a great example of the power of community collaboration,” said Kent Handel, president and CEO of Trust Point, Inc., who serves on the Viterbo board of trustees and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater La Crosse board of directors. “The best part about this particular collaboration is that it’s area young people who benefit the most.”

In addition to the full-tuition scholarship, Viterbo will begin efforts to raise funds for additional scholarships and academic opportunities specifically for members at Mathy.

“We want to be instrumental in creating opportunities for members of the Boys & Girls Clubs interested in pursuing a college degree and staying in the La Crosse area after high school,” Temple said

Temple added Viterbo is working to raise funds, and partner with Western Technical College, to create more scholarships and pathways for members of the club. If Viterbo does not fit the need of youth, staff want to help develop support and structure to explore college options all across the region.

Although the value of the scholarship will vary from student to student, Temple estimated the minimum value at more than $50,000.

Kaitlyn Riley’s passion for communications started on her family’s dairy farm in Gays Mills, Wis. Wanting to share agriculture’s story, she studied strategic communications and broadcast journalism at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In college, she held officer positions with the Association of Women in Agriculture and Badger Dairy Club while volunteering as a news reporter for the college radio station. She also founded the university’s first agricultural radio talk show, AgChat. In her professional career, Kaitlyn has worked in radio, print and television news doing everything from covering local events to interviewing presidential candidates, and putting back on her barn boots to chat with farmers in the field. Today, Kaitlyn can be seen covering local stories that matter to you in the La Crosse area.