Charde Houston Receives Dawn Staley Community Leadership Award

Charde Houston received the Dawn Staley Community Leadership Award for her work in 2010
Barry Gossage/NBAE/Getty Images

NEW YORK, July 8, 2011 � All-Star forward Charde Houston of the Minnesota Lynx is the recipient of the Dawn Staley Community Leadership Award in recognition of her outstanding community work in Minnesota in 2010, the league announced today. The award recognizes the player who best exemplifies the characteristics of a leader in the community and reflects Staley�s leadership, spirit, charitable efforts, and love for the game.

�The WNBA prides itself on our amazing athletes who leave it all on the court and bring that same dedication to their fans by working in the community and giving back," said WNBA President Laurel Richie. "Charde Houston is a true champion and we applaud her tremendous efforts with her work with Project Y.O.U. and helping those in need."

In 2008, her rookie season in the WNBA, Houston founded Project Youth Opportunities Unlimited (Project Y.O.U), a non-profit organization. Project Y.O.U. educates, motivates and empowers youth to excel in school and in life. During the 2010 season, Houston partnered with Perspectives, Inc. to mentor a group of girls in Minnesota, to stress the importance of education, self-esteem and becoming leaders in the community.

"Charde's giving spirit exemplifies the term �community servant� and I applaud her for her commitment to success in the community as well as in competition,� said Staley. �She is an inspiration to others through her personal story and Project Y.O.U. foundation events which serve as catalysts for encouragement, hope and optimism to underprivileged young adults. The young adults whose lives she has touched realize that they can succeed in life regardless of the obstacles in their path."

For the second consecutive year, Charde through her foundation, has selected an underprivileged family in the United States and made their holiday wishes a dream come true. In December of 2010, Charde hosted a �Christmas with Y.O.U.� event in Atlantic City, NJ. Through social media, Charde raised over $3,000 to fulfill the children�s Christmas list. In addition to establishing her own foundation, Charde has also worked with the Ronald McDonald House, Perspectives, Inc. and Youth Advocate Program Inc.

"This is a team effort, so I would like to thank all of my Project Y.O.U. staff, Perspectives, Inc. and youth for their hard work," said Houston. "I am blessed to be able to mentor these wonderful ladies. My girls work hard everyday at improving their lives by learning about leadership, self-esteem and goal-setting. Youth deal with a lot and all it takes is a positive influence to encourage and help them believe that. This award is confirmation that what my staff and I are doing makes a difference in the community. We are all honored."

The Dawn Staley Community Leadership Award is presented annually. Each WNBA team nominated one player and a designated committee selected Houston as the winner. The WNBA will make a $10,000 donation to Charde�s Project Y.O.U. organization to benefit her work with Perspectives, Inc.