National Youth Sports Program to Present First Ressler-Ahrens Award for Youth Development at 21st Anniversary Celebration Friday

The first Ressler-Ahrens Award for Youth Development will be given to Frank Quilici and Rep. Carlos Mariani Friday night at the 21st anniversary of the St. Thomas National Youth Sports Program (NYSP).

Quilici, former Twins player and manager, is cited for his work in sports, recreation, parks, and particularly for the development of youth baseball programs. Mariani is recognized for his work advocating for communities of color as executive director of the Minnesota Minority Education Partnership and his legislative work focusing on issues that greatly impact urban and minority communities.

The award is named in honor of Dr. Tom Ressler and Mark Ahrens, who have directed many outreach and development programs, particularly for low income and diverse populations. Ressler created the Believe and Achieve program for school kids and the Bridge to Success for nontraditional students with college potential, and he served as the academic director of the original NYSP at St. Thomas in 1991. Ahrens partnered with Ressler on outreach programs, directed the NYSP program for 15 years, and created the Cultural Academic and Athletic Program, which provides an NYSP-like program for city and suburban kids in an integration program.

The NYSP celebration will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 28, in the Binz Refectory. Admission is $25, which covers a buffet, music and a program that will include talks by Mariani and Quilici. The event also will include a silent auction.